ANIMATION SPIN
January 5, 2016 posted by

Total TeleVision Cartoons – on Records

Tooter the Turtle, Mr. Wizard, The Hunter and Odie Colognie join King Leonardo and Twinkles for a 1961 Golden Records 45 RPM extended play parade.

TTVGoldenEPFront-600

TWINKLES, KING LEONARDO AND THEIR FRIENDS
Golden Records 3-On-1 Series EP-667 (7” 45 RPM EP / Mono)

Released in 1961. Executive Producer: Arthur Shimkin. Writer: Paul Parnes. Running Time: 10 minutes.
“King Leonardo” Theme Song Voices: Jackson Beck (Leonardo); Kenny Delmar (The Hunter); Allen Swift (Odie Colognie, Tooter the Turtle); Ben Stone (The Fox); Sandy Becker (Mr. Wizard).
Golden Record Voices: Frank Milano (Odie Colognie, The Hunter, Tooter the Turtle, Mr. Wizard, The Fox, Itchy Brother); George S. Irving (“Twinkles” Story Teller).
Songs: “King Leonardo Theme” by Buck Biggers, Chet Stover, Treadwell Covington. “Odie Colognie,” “The Hunter,” “Tooter the Turtle,” “Mr. Wizard the Lizard,” “The Fox,” “Itchy Brother” by Paul Parnes.

TTVRecordAdOne of the reasons the cartoons of Jay Ward and Total TeleVision were so frequently run on network and syndicated TV is that General Mills provided influential and financial support. They ran their commercials during the programs long into the 1970’s, even though the days of the show’s characters appearing on the General Mills cereal products and commercials were long past (Tim Hollis’ joyous book, Part of a Complete Breakfast provides the full-balanced, vitamin enriched, nutritious story).

General Mills’ Twinkles cereal box had an extra panel that opened up as a storybook about the friendly elephant and his animal friends. The stories were also presented on TV in very limited animation by Total TeleVision (more about that in Mark Arnold’s superb TTV book.

Golden put the single record versions of two of the Twinkles stories, “King Leonardo Theme” and the “Odie Colognie” song into general release on 78 and 45 RPM records in retail stores, but the songs about the other TTV characters are exclusive to this mail-order EP disc. It was the only means by which fans could enjoy the third Twinkles story, “The Musical Band.”

The musical style of Golden Records and of TTV cartoons always seemed to be complementary—to the point of some background music sounding as if it was produced through the Golden facilities, especially the Tooter the Turtle music. On this record, the music bed that would be heard behind some of the Tooter cartoons backs up Frank Milano singing for Tooter. If only the same mail order campaign could have been repeated, there might have been some Tennessee Tuxedo, Chumley, Mr. Whoopie, Klondike Kat and other TTV character songs, but it was not to be. There was an Underdog soundtrack 45 with the Thanksgiving episode, thankfully.

Frank Milano, a capable New York stage and radio actor, handles the character voices well, but of course it would have been nice to have the original cast on this record (who only appear in the theme song). He does a particularly good Mr. Wizard the Lizard, and according to imdb.com, he did voice him in an episode or two. Milano also specialized in animal sounds, doing off camera sounds for such TV series as Mister Peepers

GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
“Twinkles, King Leonardo and Their Friends”
The first half of this extended play record squishes seven songs on one side (much as the H.R. Pufnstuf/Kellogg’s EP did almost a decade later). Some of the songs are less than a minute—or even 30 seconds! The second half contains the three “Twinkles” stories, narrated by one of TTV’s signature voices, George S. Irving.


Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera’s
SONGS OF YOGI BEAR
Golden Records LP-70 (12” 33 1/3 RPM LP / Mono)

YogiGoldenLP

Released in 1961. Executive Producer: Arthur Shimkin. Writer: Paul Parnes, Sylvia Parnes, Bill Hanna, Joe Barbera. Running Time: 36 minutes.
Voices: Frank Milano (Yogi Bear, Boo-Boo, Ranger Smith, Snagglepuss, Major Minor, Super Snooper, Blabber Mouse, Yakky Doodle, Chopper, Fibber Fox, Kid Who Sounds Like Kukla); Cecil Roy (Cindy Bear).
Songs: “Yogi Bear Theme” by Hoyt Curtin, Bill Hanna, Joe Barbera; “Before Yogi,” “Yogi Bear, Casanova of the Cave Set,” “Cindy Bear, Cutie of the Cave Set,” “Snagglepuss March,” “Major Minor,” “Exit Stage Right,” “Snooper and Blabber,” “Little Feller,” “Like a Duck Takes to Water,” “Fibber Fox,” “Alfy Gator the Alligator,” “Yogi Bear Presents Cindy Bear,” “Introducing Loopy De Loop,” Loopy De Loop Meets Red Riding Hood” by Paul and Sylvia Parnes.

Yogi Casanova RecordIf you listened to Frank Milano voicing “Itchy Brother” on the recording above, it’s the cousin of his Yogi Bear impersonation. Golden must have seen him as an East Coast Daws Butler, and though that is an effrontery to suggest, Milano sure handles a lot of difficult imitations admirably, considering what had to have been a very short lead time. The high register of his voice makes characterizations like Fibber Box a good fit, but he struggles lower-pitch voices like Chopper, as well as the tricky voice of Yakky. With this in mind, it is difficult to imagine that Loopy DeLoop’s voice is that of Milano, rather than another actor who is not credited on the album.

His Yogi is a bit inconsistent, too, but that might be due to the fact that the album is a bit of a pastiche of Hanna-Barbera character songs designed to be released as Little Golden Records, meaning that he may have been voicing Yogi in different sessions. Most interesting is how several of the songs are introductory. When Yogi Bear got his own show and Huckleberry Hound’s show added Pixie and Dixie and Yakky Doodle, there was a Little Golden Record with Huck on the front cover, “Presenting” them—a bridging strategy not unlike Walt Disney’s use of Mickey Mouse’s name on the early Silly Symphony cartoons.

Yogi Presents Cindy RecordThe odd thing about these “introductory” tracks is that the album mixes them up strangely. Cindy Bear sings about Yogi on Side One, yet he introduces her, as if for the first time, on Side Two. By the end of the album, the listener has heard Milano contort his vocal chords so much that it’s not immediately obvious that he is again playing Yogi, as he introduces Loopy DeLoop.

Golden made some use of their music library in songs such as “Snooper and Blabber,” which adds Milano’s voice to a Gilbert and Sullivan piece from an earlier Mitch Miller and the Sandpipers LP; and the Loopy DeLoop story, which uses “A Bicycle Built for Two” from Golden’s “Let’s Sing Together” album.

Cecil Roy, often the voice of Casper and other New York cartoon voices, is given a little groove time as Cindy, and does a creditable job, giving the character a different, much more extreme interpretation than that of Julie Bennett.

Golden got a lot of mileage out of these songs, not only on single records, but also for the 1964 compilation released to tie in with Hanna-Barbera’s first theatrical feature, Hey There It’s Yogi Bear.

GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN

While lacking the punch, pizzazz and full orchestration of the soundtrack version of Yogi’s Theme (which was not available on records when this was released), Jim Timmens’ light jazz version is among the better covers of an H-B theme.

“Yogi Bear Theme”

“Casanova of the Cave Set”

“Cutie of the Cave Set”

9 Comments

  • I remember how much I used to love “The King and Odie” on TV, couldn’t get enough of them. I can still hear Jackson Beck’s “confound it!” resonating in my “audio memory.” And Twinkles the Elephant was a frequent visitor at our breakfast table, via the delightful stories that were included on the backs of cereal boxes.

    On the Yogi Bear album, the song “Before Yogi” suggests that Yogi is NOT indigenous to Jellystone Park! There is a comic book story in Gold Key’s “Jellystone Album” that confirms this. It describes Yogi’s birth and early years as being outside of Jellystone before he and Boo-Boo team up and arrive via scooter at the park that will become their home. And the Ranger on this album is certainly more affectionate and appreciative than on the TV show.

    Interesting how the records built up the character of Cindy Bear. She was in a number of children’s books and often appeared as a promotional toy, as well. But she only appeared in about 3 of the original Yogi Bear cartoons! One comment I read online years ago reported that this version of Cindy Bear sounds like Olive Oyl with a southern accent. Though it’s not Julie Bennett, this actress does a decent job of voicing Cindy.

    I agree that the interpretation of Yogi’s theme is well done on this album. It’s actually amazing to hear any of the genuine TV themes at all on records–most of the H-B character albums did not include the original theme music at all.

    The greatest strength of the Yogi album to me is the two tracks devoted to Loopy de Loop, who was definitely under-represented in Hanna-Barbera merchandising of the time. Note that Yogi’s introduction is themed to the later title music, where Loopy’s own version of the song is the theme that was used only in the first three cartoons and then abandoned. I consider the earlier, more complicated theme to be superior to the one that was used later. Note the clever lyrics that accompany Loopy’s original theme. And I love the re-telling of “Little Red Riding Hood,” a motif that was used at least 3 times in the original cartoons–but in the on-screen versions, every time Loopy ends up getting the worst of it at the end–he either gets beaten up, chased, or taken to jail. I like the peaceful, amicable ending to the Red Riding Hood tale on this album. Instead of an old lady grandma, we have a younger lady still in her prime, and instead of a chase we get a friendly picnic.

    • Cindy Bear played a bigger role in Yogi’s theatrical feature “Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear” and the record sleeve artwork looks like it is influenced by that feature.

  • What’s weird about Cindy Bear is that how she appeared in that weird blueish color in her early appearance in the Yogi Bear cartoons and on the record covers on Yogi Bear presents Cindy Bear & Casanova Yogi Bear & Cutie (?) Cindy Bear they had Cindy in a more “natural” brownish color. It wasn’t until H-B finally gave Cindy Bear a well deserved makeover for Hey There Its Yogi Bear by making her a tad smaller than Yogi (but a little taller than Boo Boo) they 86’ed the hat and gave her a new hair style with a flower in her hair (or is it fur?) As well as the choker collar, and finally got rid of the hideous blue hue for a tan/light brown color and of course made her cuter than how she originally was. And Julie Bennet reprised her role of Cindy Bear for “HTIYB”.

  • If I’m not mistaken, Cecil Roy was the voice of Little Lulu, and I could imagine her as Cindy Bear. Loved the jazzy version of the YOGI theme, and I’ve always felt that, in a good way, the cartoons of TOTAL TELEVISION were like animated radio, meaning that they would translate into audio recording very, very easily. If a video company were able to tap into the TOTAL TELEVISION vaults and really do a thorough job even beyond what Mark Arnold had so admirably done on the box sets, I’ll bet that there are some nice extras for a KING LEONARDO set, like some of the wrap-arounds between cartoons which so many folks have probably forgotten.

  • I had completely forgotten about Cindy Bear, if I had ever known about her in the first place. Ann-Margret has a plush Cindy Bear doll in her bedroom in BYE-BYE BIRDIE, but when I saw it, I just assumed it was a weird-looking Yogi.

    • There was also a Colpix Yogi Bear soundtrack album in the background of a shot in “The Telephone Hour” sequence. Bye Bye Birdie director George Sidney was a partner in Hanna-Barbera at the time and Columbia distributed their shows through Screen Gems. H-B probably did the bits of animation in the movie, too. Synergy!

  • I have to correct you, Greg, because Huckleberry Hound is my favorite character of all time. You state in your info on the YOGI BEAR record, “When Yogi Bear got his own show and Huckleberry Hound’s show added Pixie and Dixie and Yakky Doodle, there was a Little Golden Record with Huck on the front cover, “Presenting” them—a bridging strategy not unlike Walt Disney’s use of Mickey Mouse’s name on the early Silly Symphony cartoons.”

    Here’s my correction: Pixie and Dixie were on THE HUCKLEBERRY HOUND SHOW from the first episode and with Huck all the way to the end; they were not added when Yogi Bear got a show of his own. Hokey Wolf replaced Yogi Bear on Huck’s show. Yakky Doodle was a part of THE YOGI BEAR SHOW along with Snagglepuss; Yakky was not a part of THE HUCKLEBERRY HOUND SHOW at all.

    Aside from that, I enjoyed these Golden Record releases. I still have QUICK DRAW McGRAW AND HUCKLEBERRY HOUND and I have put some of those tunes on my iPhone to listen in the car from time to time. Great stuff.

    • You are correct, sir! Thanks for clarifying.

  • Interesting tidbits about Frank Milano: He did some sounds for Mr.Peepers, with future fellow Leonardo TTV voice Underdog, Wally Cox, starring, and also, NOW we know how the “Frank Milano as Mr.Wizard: canard got started….(though I may have seen and wrote this here comment before!)
    Steve C.,
    T
    T
    V
    (like that? :D)

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