Monday, January 17, 2011

considering hanna-barbera

opening digression: happy dr. mlk jr. day!!! let's talk about 50-year-old cartoon characters... parenthetically speaking, did you notice the dearth of black representation at the golden globes last night? we only remember seeing halle berry (half black) and blair underwood (half an actor). and, if that wasn't enough of a slap in the face to our friends of colour on mlk eve, the gays decidedly ruled the event (winners: "the kids are alright," jim parsons, "glee," jane lynch and chris colfer) thus solidifying the growing trend of 'mos becoming the new bros. yes, the black community can be VERY homophobic...

we've blogged about cartoons before; be it about the similarities betwixt old disney cartoons and "seinfeld" or the uncanny parallels between "tale-spin" and "cheers." those were just unsubstantiated theories on our part but today we will be blogging a bit about well-documented cartoon FACT that most of you people may not be entirely aware of. to some of you, the hanna-barbera era of cartoon dominance during the 1960s-80s was one of mass-produced, low quality and heavily recycled flimflam that paled in comparison to that of which disney and warner bros once offered. while the statement prior holds much truth, we here at ba dum BLOG!!! LOVED that era and are endlessly fascinated by hanna-barbera's penchant for basing their characters on famous celebrities and sitcoms of the time. while some of these doppelgangers are more transparent and obvious than others, we are steadfast in our belief that the following will provide the same joy and entertainment that these beloved classic cartoon characters and mostly dead entertainers did some 40-50 years ago - relevant and timely ;0)

huckleberry hound and andy griffith (alive!)

lthough the voice of huckleberry hound, daws butler, denies it, the blue dog's southern drawl, slow moving gait and reasoned, backwoodsy approach to logic bears a more than striking similarity to that of north carolinian comedian/actor andy griffith.

yogi bear and art carney as ed norton (dead)

s you will see, hanna-barbera also had a wont for using famous sitcom characters as inspiration. here, we have yogi bear's hat, voice mannerisms and cadence supplied by that of ed norton's classic portrayal of art carney of
honeymooners fame. next, we will see a whole entire show that was plucked from this famous sitcom.

the flintstones
and the entire cast of the honeymooners (all dead except for joyce randolph/trixie norton)

up, here we have hb using a whole sitcom and its entire cast of characters as its influence. some call it plagiarism, others call it tribute but we call it blog fodder. most famous and possibly most blatant of the inspirations was that of fred flintstone and jackie gleason/ralph kramden - from his blustery bombast and scheming ways all the way down to his love for bowling, fred was ralph to the tee! and, yes, we have another art carney doppelganger in the guise of fred's dimwitted but loyal bff and neighbour, barney rubble. of course, their respective wives are analogous to their counterparts as well.

snagglepuss and bert lahr (dead)

"who's bert lahr?" you ask. he only turned in perhaps the most underrated comedic cinematic performance of ALL-TIME as the cowardly lion in the wizard of oz. and, while the ambiguous theater-loving pink mountain lion is mostly attributed to that of the aforementioned "lion" he also was highly influenced by lahr's turn as the commander in meet the people where he first uttered snagglepuss' famous catchphrase "heavens to "murgatroyd!"

op cat and
the phil silvers show (all dead)

ere, we have less of an outright faccimile as is with
the flintsones and the honeymooners but more of an amalgamation and homage. top cat's, a con artist alley cat, voice and character is very similar to that of "the king of chutzpah," phil silvers while tc's gang of alley cats also drew from the characters of the eponymously titled the phil rivers show. but even still, the bowery boys of moving pictures fame is also said to have been behind top cat. rich, complex and thrilling!

hokey wolf and phil silvers (still dead)

alk about hokey! much like with art carney's multiple appearances, hanna-barbera found enough shameless energy to even copy themselves once again with phil silvers and hokey wolf.
yup, hokey wolf is a fast-talking con-man as well (how appropriate as hb is conning us once again!) and he's flanked by his pal, ding-a-ling wolf, who is inspired by buddy hackett (also dead) - what a comedic pairing!

jabberjaw and curly howard (dead)

ere we have a shark who is also the drummer in an all human band called "the neptunes." the anthropomorphic great white also shares the voice and mannerisms of
the three stooges curly howard and the catchphrase of "no respect" with one, rodney dangerfield (dead).

wally gator and ed wynn (dead)

f course, disney-philes would know ed wynn as the mad hatter in
alice in wonderland and uncle albert in mary poppins. but it was the broader comedic stylings of this jewish vaudeville star that somehow juxtaposed beautifully with wally gator - the cajun, zoo escapee. how they made this odd connection, we will never know... because hanna and barbera are both dead.

scooby-doo, where are you! and the many loves of dobie gillis (some alive! but mostly dead)

amously, scooby-doo was taken from frank sinatra's scat improvisation in the song "strangers in the night." but did you know that scooby's loyal gang of mystery solvers was taken from the sitcom
the many loves of dobie gillis? of COURSE you didn't! most notably, norville "shaggy" rogers was inspired by the goateed beatnik maynard g. krebs who was played by bob denver who would later go on to famously play gilligan in gilligan's island. less notably, fred was based on dobie while daphne and velma were thalia and zelda (presumably, two of the "many loves") respectively.

ba dum BLOG!!!

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