“The Huckleberry Hound Show” was William Hanna and Joseph Barbera’s second made-for-TV series (“The Ruff and Reddy Show”, NBC-TV 1957-60 was their first.) The series premiered in 1958 and starred a dim-witted, good-natured hound dog with a Southern drawl. The show took television audiences by storm. Sponsored nationally by Kellogg’s Cereals, the show was the first fully animated series made strictly for television, in contrast to those hosted by live performers or ones with a cinematic history.
With a limited budget of about $2,800 per television episode, Hanna and Barbera invented a technique called “limited animation.” This process, used in their first series, greatly reduced the number of drawings needed to complete a single cartoon, and the technique would carry them to the top of the ratings chart for the next three decades.
Syndicated in the fall of 1958, and airing most frequently on Thursday afternoons, “Huckleberry Hound” was about an honest, hard-working dog who was trying out a variety of careers. In the premiere episode, “Wee Willie,” Police Patrolman Huckleberry is assigned the difficult task of returning a playful escaped gorilla to the zoo. Subsequent episodes involved his pursuing such occupations as mailman, truant officer, veterinarian, lion tamer, explorer, mounted police officer, firefighter, and once even dogcatcher.
The Huck, Yogi and Pixie & Dixie cartoons were also seen Saturday mornings over the CBS-TV network beginning October 1, 1960 as part of magician Mark Wilson’s “The Magic Land of Alakazam” series, sponsored by Kellogg’s. When the series moved to ABC-TV in 1962 the Hanna-Barbera cartoons were dropped.
Voiced by Daws Butler, Yogi resembled Art Carney’s Ed Norton, from “The Honeymooners” series, from his vocal attributes to his pork pie hat with the tilted brim. Yogi’s success on The Huckleberry Hound Show, which even rivaled that of its star, eventually led to his own series in early 1961 (click here to see separate entry). He was replaced by an even smarter animal, the conniving Hokey Wolf, whose gift for gab and deceit closely resembled comedian Phil Silver’s Sergeant Bilko.
Although children comprised the show’s largest audience, “The Huckleberry Hound Show” also became a favorite with many adults. In 1959 it was awarded an Emmy for Best Children’s Program. It was the only cartoon series ever to win such an honor, until the premiere six years later of Charles Schulz’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” The success of the series eventually led to a string of similarly animated types and brought in millions of dollars in sales revenue through products bearing the likenesses of the show’s characters.
Huckleberry Hound– With Stories And Songs Of Uncle Remus
Label: Columbia Special Products – P 13829
Genre: Children’s, Pop
Style: Story, Vocal
Song: Huckleberry Hound
Story: Huckleberry Hound
Song: Uncle Remus
Story: Uncle Remus (Pt. 1)
Song: Brer Rabbit
Story: Uncle Remus (Pt. 2)
Story: Uncle Remus (Pt. 3)
Song: Brer Rabbit
Story: Uncle Remus (Pt. 4)
Song: Laugh Your Troubles Away
Uncle Remus is a fictional character, the title character and fictional narrator of a collection of African American folktales adapted and compiled by Joel Chandler Harris, published in book form in 1881. A journalist in post-Reconstruction Atlanta, Georgia, Harris produced seven Uncle Remus books.
Uncle Remus is a collection of animal stories, songs, and oral folklore, collected from Southern United States blacks. Many of the stories are didactic, much like those of Aesop’s fables and the stories of Jean de La Fontaine. Uncle Remus is a kindly old slave who serves as a storytelling device, passing on the folktales to children gathered around him.
The stories are told in Harris’s version of a Deep South slave dialect. The genre of stories is the trickster tale. At the time of Harris’ publication, his work was praised for its ability to capture plantation negro dialect.
Br’er Rabbit (“Brother Rabbit”) is the main character of the stories, a likable character, prone to tricks and trouble-making who is often opposed by Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear. In one tale, Br’er Fox constructs a lump of tar and puts clothing on it. When Br’er Rabbit comes along he addresses the “tar baby” amiably, but receives no response. Br’er Rabbit becomes offended by what he perceives as Tar Baby’s lack of manners, punches it, and becomes stuck. Using the phrase “tar baby” to refer to the idea of “a problem that gets worse the more one struggles against it” became part of the wider culture of the United States in the mid-20th century.