Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The Huckleberry Hound Show!

I've owned this Huckleberry Hound Show  collection for many years, buying and setting it aside to enjoy at some undetermined later date. That date has come and at long last I was able to once again enjoy the simple pleasures of some of the earliest and most effective Hanna-Barbera cartoons. Since I am a product of the TV generation, Hanna-Barbera cartoons are more important to me than Disney by a large margin. Disney cartoons you heard about and sometimes saw at appointed hours on a Sunday evening. Hanna-Barbera cartoons were ubiquitous, dominating the afternoons on the weekdays and the golden hours of Saturday mornings. One of my favorites was the original blue dog from the South, Huckleberry Hound. But he was not alone.

Yogi Bear, who became even more famous than Huckleberry began on the Huckleberry show and his earliest antics are incredibly entertaining -- combining the allure of well-designed UPA cartoons with the light witty touch of classic H-B. Yogi is each one of us seeking to go beyond the confines of the world we find ourselves born into, he's a generous spirit who helps as often as he sneaks and is the absolute essence of affable.

Pixie and Dixie and Mr. Jinks takes the tried and true formula of a cat chasing mice and gives it a tumble. The game is just that, a game between the "meese" duo and the hapless cat. They seek to outwit one another but never is it suggested that real danger is afoot and sometimes they become allies when others threaten the peculiar world in which they live. There are no humans in this universe, but all the trappings of humans are present for the characters to make fun with.

And ultimately there is the coolest character ever, the absolutely resolute Huckleberry Hound. Whatever the circumstances, which can change wildly from cartoon to cartoon, the rock steady personality of Huckleberry is there to firmly root the viewer into a world in which only fun can happen and not any real violence. There's plenty of damage, but none of it is lasting in classic cartoon fashion. Whether he's a cowboy, a farmer, or a mailman, Huckleberry is steadfast and loyal and dare I say...true blue. There's a lesson there somewhere.

I was struck just how pretty these earliest Hanna-Barbera cartoons were. They had the feel of the lovely UPA theater cartoons, with strong designs and potent backgrounds. The animation itself was limited, but the strength of the voice work and the power of the designs overcame these weaknesses, and even took advantage of them. Give these lovely cartoons another look, they live up to expectations.

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