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Happy birthday, bucket o’ suck

The first episode of The Flintstones aired fifty years ago on this day. Also, that’s Stony Curtis! Who is dead! Plus, I saw a guy walking down the street today wearing a Quick Draw McGraw t-shirt, no lie.

That’s enough synchronicity to make your eyes bleed.

And speaking of things that make your eyes bleed — Hanna-Barbera Cartoons!

I once worked for a man who loved H-B cartoons for the same reason I hate them — they were forever finding new and innovative ways to be cheap-ass. Like, when Barney’s talking the camera’s on Fred and when Fred is talking the camera’s on Barney so they don’t have to pay for so much of that gosh-darned moving mouth animation.

The downside? Making your viewers stare at a big ugly drawing of a head that doesn’t do anything but blink occasionally.

These guys had hundreds of titles. I mentally divide Hanna-Barbera cartoons into the following categories:

The Early Suck: the three or so decades from Huckleberry Hound through to Josie and the Pussycats, inclusive of the whole Scooby Doo oeuvre.

The Doesn’t Actually Suck: which includes most of their adventure cartoons of the same era. Jonny Quest, Birdman and the Galaxy Trio, The Herculoids, the Fantastic Four. Character design by the excellent comic artist Alex Toth and non-comedy storylines make the difference.

The Later Suck: the Eighties were full of cartoons (from many studios) that had slick production values but still somehow managed to suck even harder than Magilla Gorilla. The Smurfs, Pac Man, Scrappy Doo, Snorks. There was a plague of “familiar cartoon characters as babies” shows, too. The Flintstone Kids, A Pup Named Scooby Doo. There’s something peculiarly horrible and soulless about this era.

The Aren’t Really H-B Cartoons cartoons: Turner bought the Hanna-Barbera studio and library in the early Nineties and launched the Cartoon Network to showcase them. H-B studios then encouraged in-house staff to pitch cartoon ideas, which were shown as World Premiere Toons. This gave rise to several excellent cartoons: Dexter’s Laboratory, Cow and Chicken, I Am Weasel, The Powerpuff Girls. You might think of them as HBINOs.

I must say, I’m awfully tempted to buy the Hanna-Barbera Cartoon Sound Efx collection, but I just can’t work out how to sync up life events with the appropriate sound effect.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 30, 2010, 10:58 pm

Holy SHIT. This latest video from the global warmists 10:10 is so UTTERLY OVER THE TOP…

Comment from QuasiModo
Time: September 30, 2010, 11:06 pm

The ending theme from the Flintstones is always gonna remind me of having to bicycle back to elementary school after lunch…hate it.(I have to go back?…nooooooo)

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 30, 2010, 11:06 pm

Heh. map of Europe as imagined by Americans.

Not much to disagree with there.

Comment from Gromulin
Time: September 30, 2010, 11:13 pm

BLASHPHEMY! Thou shalt not demean the first two seasons of Scooby! It wasn’t until the Globetrotter’s / Don Knotts era that it officially entered The Suck. Let’s not even mention Scrappy…K?

I was 5 during the first season, and the Scoob was THE pinnacle of Saturday morning. Ghosts! Talking Dogs! Evil Developers! …if it weren’t for those meddlin’ teenagers…
How could you have Herculoids in the Not Suck? They were the very definition of Suck!

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 30, 2010, 11:26 pm

Herculoids was too damn weird to suck.

And, I’m sorry, Scooby Doo was fucked from its inception. Four unescorted beatnik kids of both sexes riding around in a hippie van with a talking dog investigating the paranormal? Please. Give me something plausible to go with. Like the Freaky Phantom.

Comment from QuasiModo
Time: September 30, 2010, 11:27 pm

S. Weasel…that global warming video is pretty scary. As I said on the comments on their page, everyone associated with it needs to be locked up in a psych ward. So, critisizing islam is hate speech but they can threaten murder in a video if they aren’t obeyed…that is acceptible?…insane.

Comment from Gromulin
Time: September 30, 2010, 11:37 pm

Like the Freaky Phantom Well played, Madame Weasel, well played.

The Arc of a Saturday morning for me, 1970:

6AM…sneak down hallway to B/W 13-channel TV. Close hallway door. Watch looney-tunes, eat Cap’n Crunch. The taste of sugar followed by the taste of gum-blood caused by trying to eat milk soaked sugar-gravel will never leave me.

Mid morning: SCOOBY!

11AM: Soul Train comes on, Saturday is officially over. Get kicked outside.

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: September 30, 2010, 11:51 pm

Oh!! STOATIE!! You’ve cut me to the quick!!!

I don’t know WHAT I would have watched growing up if it hadn’t been for huckleberry hound and Yogie bear…..

Aaaaand then everything went to hell…….

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 30, 2010, 11:54 pm

First cartoons on were Heckle and Jeckel. The last was the Bugs Bunny Show, with its weirdly vaudevillian theme song (Overture, curtain, lights/This is it, the night of nights/No more rehearsing and nursing a part/We know every part by heart!). Then…yeah. Soul train or some shit.

I turned up every Saturday morning until they stopped. I think I was thirty seven when that happened.

And I suspect those people have done themselves a great injury, QuasiModo. That ad is scary, and only a true believer could think otherwise.

Comment from Gromulin
Time: September 30, 2010, 11:59 pm

If I had to name my two primary childhood role models:

1: Bugs Bunny
2: Jethro Bodine

Explains a lot, now that I think about it…

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: October 1, 2010, 12:10 am

A Saturday morning cartoon is the colloquial term for the animated television programming which was typically scheduled on Saturday mornings on the major American television networks from the 1960s to the 1990s.

I was born in 1960, so I’m a creature of the Saturday morning cartoon, really.

Remember they used to flog the new cartoons all summer in the comics?

Comment from QuasiModo
Time: October 1, 2010, 12:17 am

And I suspect those people have done themselves a great injury, QuasiModo. That ad is scary, and only a true believer could think otherwise.

Yeah, cuz it doesn’t make me want to cut my CO2…it makes me want to buy guns and ammo…lots of guns and lots of ammo.

Comment from Allen
Time: October 1, 2010, 12:17 am

Best cartoon ever, Warner Brothers’ Foghorn Leghorn. “I say Dawg, can you hear me boy?”

“Camptown races all day long, Doo Dah, Doo Dah…”

Comment from steve
Time: October 1, 2010, 12:27 am

Sorry, Allen…I cannot agree with you…

Rocky and Bullwinkle had it all over Foghorn Leghorn:

Rocky (re Boris Badenoff in some cockamamie disguise getup) – “Something about that seems familiar…”

Bullwinkle/Peter Peachfuzz (in unison) – “That voice! That voice! Where have I heard that voice?”

Peachfuzz – “Honestly, Rocky. You hear more voices than Joan of Arc!”

That’s gold, right there! That’s what that is.

Comment from Oldcat
Time: October 1, 2010, 12:41 am

Our parents used to make us watch Bullwinkle because they got all the jokes. I never got into it much until college.

My entire worldview was based on Johnny Quest however. There are frogmen and subs in every body of water full of bad guys, and old Nazi war criminals atop mountains in every continent.
And you don’t mess with mummies or yetis.

Comment from Allen
Time: October 1, 2010, 12:48 am

Steve, my seconds will be calling on your seconds… 🙂

Now, I must admit the “hush bomb” was a novel idea, but really, a flying squirrel, and a moose with ADD?

Good grief, I just realized we’re discussing our favorite cartoons from many years ago. Weasel, does your blog give off ‘shroom essence?

Comment from Frit
Time: October 1, 2010, 12:48 am

QuasiModo: Yeah, cuz it doesn’t make me want to cut my CO2…it makes me want to buy guns and ammo…lots of guns and lots of ammo.

Guns, ammo, and build fortifications too! Lets see, 6m high re-enforced walls, towers, turrets, Barrett light .50s… anyone know where I can get some moat monsters? Preferably a breeding pair?

Comment from Gromulin
Time: October 1, 2010, 1:35 am

Now Rocky and Bullwinkle, George of the Jungle, Tom Slick…those are a whole different class. Jay Ward was a friggin genius. (yes, I know…or at least I think that, Jay was only associated with R&B..too lazy to google and seem informed…)
But then I also own Milton the Monster on DVD, so my taste is suspect.

Comment from Mitchell
Time: October 1, 2010, 2:07 am

I never cared for the moose & squirrel.

I loved Droopy – Tex Avery was an absolute genius. Another favorite was Tom & Jerry. However the best cartoon ever was of course The Pink Panther. Upon this point there can be no disagreement.

I have spoken.

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: October 1, 2010, 2:20 am

I used to LIVE for Saturday morning cartoons when I was a kid.

Now adays I consider myself lucky if I get to sleep until 11 am…..

Comment from steve
Time: October 1, 2010, 2:26 am

Hush-a-boom…upsidaisyum….Moon men with scrooch guns..

Heck….the moose even found the ruby yacht of Omar Khayyam, in one episode.

Don’t get me started on Fractured Fairy Tales…

Comment from Steve Skubinna
Time: October 1, 2010, 2:43 am

No, what you need to get is The Carl Stalling Project:


Although this one is pretty good too, even though it’s aimed at a slightly later generation:


Comment from XBradTC
Time: October 1, 2010, 3:36 am

**scratches S. Weasel off the Xmas card list**

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: October 1, 2010, 3:41 am

/crosses arms in front of face and hunkers down\
I never watched cartoons on a regular basis; we didn’t have a TV until I was about 12.

But I really like “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” (the movie)


Comment from Elphaba
Time: October 1, 2010, 4:00 am

You’re still on my X-mas card list, Stoaty. 😉 I’m not a HB fan either. IMO, Scooby Doo was kinda “Nancy Drew collides with the Hardy Boys and they all eat the brown acid”. Dumb as shit. Animation at its worst.

I’m much more of a Warner Bros. fan when it comes to cartoons… “What’s Opera, Doc?” has to be one of my all-time favorites. 🙂

Comment from Mcgyver
Time: October 1, 2010, 4:05 am

Ok, not cartoons, but… I really liked Fireball XL-5 and ten years later, the absurdity of Lancelot Link appealed to my teenage self. And by then it was mostly CarTOONS and CycleTOONS and Saturday was work at the Gas Station.

And Can’t Hark? I never knew what anyone was talking about in the Wizard of OZ about the beautiful color change when Dorothy got to OZ. Not until I came back from college and my folks had bought a color TV, anyway

ThanX! for letting me lurk, Ms. Weasel

Mcgyver, Out

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: October 1, 2010, 4:31 am

McGyver: Color change? Gee. . .maybe I should buy a dvd of “The Wizard of Oz”

(actually, yeah, I am just kidding, but I seem to remember being startled at somepoint in my adulthood by the fact that there was a change to technicolor in that movie. But that could actually have been the results of complete dumb inattentiveness in prior viewings. Print speaks to me and remains with me, but visual images are a problem. . .)

Comment from scubafreak
Time: October 1, 2010, 6:49 am

A bit off topic, but it looks like Jeff Bridges is going to take a shot at filling John Wayne’s shoes…


Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: October 1, 2010, 9:17 am

Tony Curtis served in the USN during WWII, on the sub tender USS PROTEUS. WWII USN torpedos ran on alcohol as thier fuel. Mr. Curtis had the misfortune to be standing near a torpedo that was being handled, when the fuel tank ruptured, and ignited, covering him with burning alcohol. The burns he recieved from that episode is why he had no chest nor leg hair. So three times three for Tony Curtis, who survived that, and went on to better things!


Comment from Mark
Time: October 1, 2010, 1:25 pm

Road Runner and Wiley Coyote. Thank God for Acme!

Comment from Clifford Scridlow
Time: October 1, 2010, 1:32 pm

Two thoughts. First, nothing on this or any other known planet has ever sucked as fiercely as the Banana Splits. This you may carve in stone. Secondly, Allen is spot on regarding Foghorn Leghorn. Slays me to this day.

Comment from Nina from GCP
Time: October 1, 2010, 2:13 pm

Okay, here I am having to admit that I never watched most of these cartoons–I guess I led a deprived childhood. Rocky & Bullwinkle, yes, my mom loved them. I know I saw Flinstones occasionally as I am familiar with it, Bugs Bunny…a few more. But I’ve never even HEARD of most of these!

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: October 1, 2010, 2:17 pm

My mother was 9 when the Wizard of Oz was released. It was the first Technicolor film she ever saw and she said she it took her breath away when they switched reels into color.

There’s a little “bzzzt” in the soundtrack at that point. I’ve always wondered why nobody has gone back and filtered that out. Perhaps they have by now.

Comment from Bill (now the .000357% of your traffic that’s from Iraq) T
Time: October 1, 2010, 2:42 pm

Geez, we didn’t even have Saturday mornings when I was a kid.

“And it was uphill, both ways…”

Comment from Roman Wolf
Time: October 1, 2010, 3:18 pm

Ah! Cartoons. Being younger than most of you, I was watching my cartoons during the 90s. Hence, I got exposure to both the old stuff and the newer HB cartoons.

Most of the old stuff sucked bad however, I did have a couple of them that I liked, Johnny Quest, Top Cat, and Wacky Races(always was a fan of Dastardly and Muttley) namely.

Of the newer Cartoon network stuff, liked Dexter’s Lab, Powerpuff girls,I Am Weasel, Johnny Bravo…but my absolute favorite CN cartoon was Courage the Cowardly Dog.

As far as non-HB cartoons, Rocky and Bullwinkle, the Spielberg cartoons(Freakazoid being my favorite), Looney Tunes(Wile E. Coyote, Daffy, and Pepe being my favorites). My favorite Disney cartoons were Duck Tales and Darkwing Duck. And of course a couple of the old classics such as Felix the Cat, Betty Boop, and Popeye.

Comment from Pavel
Time: October 1, 2010, 3:28 pm

I second Clifford Scridlow’s comment about the Banana Splits being the absolutely gold standard for suckiness; not only in the history of man, but also until the end of time.

Fred and Barney, by contrast, had their moments. Eg, http://youtu.be/mZvHiiWFbBU

Comment from Pavel
Time: October 1, 2010, 3:34 pm

BTW: the fucking Banana Splits theme song is now stuck in my head. This is going to destroy my entire Friday.

Comment from Roman Wolf
Time: October 1, 2010, 3:39 pm

But yeah. HB cartoons do suck on the whole…

…incidentally, they also tell us what Gary Coleman is doing right now. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZQSPfTq42M

Comment from bad cat robot
Time: October 1, 2010, 3:44 pm

And you had to chip the glacier away from the door each morning before feeding the pterodactyls, too.

Foghorn Leghorn-the Zen master of funny
Scooby Doo — not quite eyeball-gouging, good to watch when Mom made you fold laundry
Rocky and Bullwinkle — lousy production values, good inside jokes and clever references. Plus inciting endless hours of fun with people with Russian accents, so there’s *that*. I knew some Russian scientists who were very good-humored about that and would cooperate with any “You get Moose, I get Squirrel” commentary. Bless them.

Comment from MikeW
Time: October 1, 2010, 4:27 pm

Ah, the super suckage of childhood television… The list can’t be complete without:

Captain America – Even as a kid I knew the animation was, uh, not really even animation, I guess. The would just slide still drawings across the screen mostly.

Speed Racer – Ahhhhh! “Go Speed Racer! Go-o-o!” Ahhhhh!

Clutch Cargo – So, Weas, are you to young to have seen the first show to use Syncro-Vox. Short clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6MHg1-mpcUY
As to the show’s premise, one commenter notes: Didn’t it hit you as odd that Spinner never went to school and was running around the world with an older man who was not his father?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: October 1, 2010, 4:35 pm

Oh, I caught Clutch Cargo. I surely did. Brrrrrrr.

This is the earworm I’m struggling with today. Which goes to show you, my brain does irony, after all. It’s fucking evil out there — high winds and sideways rain.

Oh, but soon comes the greatest Christmas movie ever.

Comment from Roman Wolf
Time: October 1, 2010, 5:12 pm

Who the hell thought it was a good idea to make a cartoon based on the Rubik’s cube? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYs_GCy9PRk

Why the heck can the professor build a space ship yet can’t repair a simple boat? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sGOfWP2bWk

And everyone loves martial arts…so giving Chuck Norris a show is a slam dunk! Right guys? …right? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDTjMooYTBE

Comment from Allen
Time: October 1, 2010, 5:27 pm

Just for you Rocky and Bullwinkle fans, Hulu has the episodes.

They also have Ant and Aardvark from the Pink Panther. Good grief I feel like I’m 9 again.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: October 1, 2010, 5:59 pm

Thank you, Mark!

I was reading the list with growing incredulity. Roadrunner – was there ever anything better?

Comment from Buff Orpington
Time: October 1, 2010, 6:47 pm

For me, Saturday mornings were Bugs Bunny and “Mr. Science”. The rest never interested me. I do vividly remember “Lancealot Link” (“Ooooh, Laaaaance”. “What is it, Mata”) and “Bat Fink”, with arch enemy Hugo A-Go-Go. Oh yeah, and “Top Cat”, too

Comment from Mark
Time: October 1, 2010, 7:14 pm

Beep! Beep! And I apologize profusely for misspelling Wile E’s name.

Comment from Ric Locke
Time: October 1, 2010, 10:18 pm

Stoaty — regarding the Wizard of Oz: the “funny little noise” is in the book just before Dorothy goes to sleep. I don’t own a copy any more, so I can’t give you the exact quote.


Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: October 1, 2010, 10:51 pm

Ric: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/55
For your reading pleasure. I’m about to go fire up my SONY Daily Edition so I can find the passage. . .

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: October 1, 2010, 11:03 pm

I read the books in my twenties. They bear no resemblance to the movie, but they’re fun and trippy as hell.

Same goes for the Mary Poppins books.

Comment from Clifford Skridlow
Time: October 2, 2010, 1:14 am

Not for those with a weak stomach. Lucky we didn’t lose an entire generation. People are serving hard time for exposing kids to less heinous shit than this. . .


Comment from Clifford Skridlow
Time: October 2, 2010, 1:42 am

Oh why not. . .


Comment from Frit
Time: October 2, 2010, 10:59 pm

Pavel: Here are some new lyrics for the BS song running through your head.

“One dead buggy, two dead buggies, three dead buggies, four! That explains the .38 shells all over the floor!”
“One tequila, two tequila, three tequila….floor.” (Insert loud crash sound effect here.)

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Spambots these days…

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