Animation History
April 4, 2023 posted by Jerry Beck

More from the Herb Klynn-Format Films USC Archive

Last year, I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Dino Everett, the archivist of the USC Hugh M. Hefner Moving Image Archive. During a tour of the film archive I, of course, asked if their were any animated films within – and Dino then led me a large cache of film elements donated to the school years ago from Herb Klynn – which seemed to be odds and ends from Herb’s studio, Format Films.

I told Dino I’ve love to see some this material scanned one of these days… and somewhat regularly, Dino has been doing just that. And he’s happy to share with it with the Cartoon Research community. Today we present a bunch of his recent scans – for your enjoyment.

Mike Kazaleh is one of Klynn’s biggest fans, and the only historian with solid knowledge and insight into what exactly is on some of the reels found here. I asked him to provide some commentary on this batch – first up, this Pink Panther Show sales reel. Clearly made in the wake of the success of the first theatrical shorts and their Oscar win. Probably commissioned by UA to be seen by executives at the big three TV networks…

From Mike Kazaleh: “Herb Klynn and Friz Freleng were good friends, and Friz would sometimes have Herb do work for DFE.

“About this film, not that Don Messick is doping the narration. The visuals: new title graphics are from Format. Pink Panther clips from the shorts Pink Pajamas, We Give Pink Stamps, and Dial P for Pink. They also use Pink Panther animation created by DFE for the original movie trailer – and the Shot in the Dark opening title (Conceived and designed by DFE with the animation jobbed out to TVC in London.)

“Fascinating use of “Inspector” development drawings – and a short piece of new animation of the Matzoriley Bros.

“No Inspector cartoons had been completed at this time, and his design had not been finalized yet. This would probably date the film as being from late 1964 or early 1965.

“This also shows that UA/DFE/Mirisch had one eye on TV pretty early on. There were ultimately 34 Inspector cartoons (other DFE/UA shorts had 17 in each series, or one TV season’s worth.) The trailer says to look for 26 mysteries, the traditional number of shows for one season before that number was cut back to 17.

The Pink Panther Show ultimately aired on NBC, premiering in the fall of 1969. In that first season there were two Panther cartoons and one Inspector cartoon.

“Michael O’Connor, a writer at DFE in the mid-sixties, once told me that Friz actually wanted The Pink Panther to have a decent theatrical run before appearing on television. Michael further said that NBC approached the studio about airing the cartoons about a year after this sales film was made. When Friz told them he wasn’t ready to air the films TV yet, NBC offered to buy a TV show to maintain a relationship with DFE until that time. The Super 6 was the first TV show to come from this deal. The Super 6 also featured segments with a modified version of the Matzoriley Bros, as seen in The Shot in the Dark opening, The first Inspector cartoon, and this show promo. Michael O’Connor also said the three headed character first seen in The Shot in the Dark opening was originally supposed to be… the Mirisch brothers!

“The development drawings for P. Hornsby the Rhino cartoons were drawn by Tom Yakutis. The Rhino idea went nowhere, but the time-traveling aspect may have provided inspiration for the Captain Whammo/Zammo segments on The Super 6 show (One episode used the General Custer motif as seen briefly in this film)”.

This next piece is a follow up to Kamden Spies excellent post on Chuck Jones’ Curiosity Shop. It’s a pencil test of Monsieur Cou Cou – Mike Kazaleh says: “I can see animators George Nicholas and Ben Washam here. One scene looks like Hal Ambro. There are others I could not ID at this time.”

These next test films are – unfortunately – silent.

Mike Kazaleh: “Jiminy. The following two pictures seem to be, and I’m speculating here, experiments testing the economical feasibility of doing television cartoons. Bearing in mind that the biggest expense of making cel animation is ink and paint. Both of these new pictures employ very limited animation, minimizing the number of cels. The tiger picture seems to be using cut paper instead of paint. The western is using china markers directly on the cels without opaquing, similar to the way that Gene Deitch would later use a heavy brush line with no paint on Tom Terrififc.

“The western picture seems like it was a jumping off point for the Bobe Cannon’s Columbia UPA short Willie the Kid. The Tiger picture has great graphics, but being a cat person, I didn’t like seeing the tiger getting beat up.”

One more thing from the USC Archive, just for fun (though not from the Herb Klynn Format Films collection): a complete print (scanned from 16mm) of the first Matty’s Funday Funnies episode – complete with all the ABC bumpers and commercials (and a cool Ernest Pintoff “All Star Golf” spot at the very very end). Enjoy.


  • These films are fantastic! I especially enjoyed MATTY MATTEL’S FUNDAY FUNNIES, With the famous studios/Harvey tunes characters. So many great memories here.

  • When are we going to get more info regarding the Looney Tunes Collector’s Choice?

    • When are we just gonna be patient for one of these things? It’s not worth sweating over any disc’s contents

    • When its available for pre-order on Amazon, I’ll probably do a post about it.

      • Sounds good.

        • Now that it’s on pre-order on Amazon, I’ll consider doing a post here for next Monday. 🤔

          • Thanks! Looking forward to it!

  • I’ve heard of “Matty’s Funday Funnies” in connection with Beany and Cecil, but I had never seen an episode of it before. The Indian boy in the Mattel Buffalo Hunter Set commercial is Alan Roberts Costello, who had a brief career as a child actor specialising in Hispanic and Native American roles. He played a Mexican boy named Chuey in an episode of “Leave It To Beaver”, in which Eddie Haskell taught Beaver to tell him “Usted tiene una cara como puerco.” That was the first complete sentence in Spanish I ever learned to say.

    • I think the girl in the Chatty Cathy commercial is Ann Jillian…

      • No, the girl in the commercial is darker than Ann Jillian (who also appeared on “Leave It to Beaver” around this time), but every bit as adorable.

  • Herb Klynn and Friz Freleng were good friends, and Friz would sometimes have Herb do work for DFE.

    Like those hee-larious Rudy Larriva Road Runner cartoons. Thanks, Friz.

  • Thank you, Jerry.
    You’ve given me something new to watch today.

  • Very interesting set of films. I don’t recall any of the mentioned villains on the Inspector cartoons, save for the Matzoriley Bros. As for the unmade P. Hornsby cartoons, I suspect he was too similar to Merlin the Magic Mouse over at Warners, both being W.C. Fields caricatures.

  • For the record, the Matty’s Funday Funnies here is actually the rebroadcast from c. 1960 – because of the Flintstones promo.

  • Looney Tunes Collectors Choice Volume 1 is available for preorder on I’m debating whether to preorder it on there, or wait for it to become available on Amazon

    • You won’t have to wait long, it just became available on Amazon!

  • Looney Tunes Collectors Choice is now available on Amazon for preorder, and I have ordered it.

  • To help steer the convo back to the content, my sincere thanks to both you and Mike for doing some great research to a studio that I’m slowly starting to appreicate more as more material get unearthered. For decades I wondered why Format Films did those Road Runner shorts, and this post pretty much told me everything I needed to know how that happened.

    The research is pretty much confirmation that the studio, with its’ strong appreciation for art direction and understanding of TV economics, was just not a good fit for WB humor. Not a people problem, pretty much wrong place, wrong time (and the money not being there). They were great for something like The Alvin Show, and the various pilots shared for sure showed potential–I actually think they did a better job invoking UPA’s ideals more than UPA itself by this point.

    For sure I hope more videos from the archives are coming. This is the real good shit.

  • Thank you. That was fun. I do remember watching the show on Sunday afternoons.

  • Thank you!

    Richard Kroll
    (Herb Klynn’s son)

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