Archive for the ‘hanna barbera’ Category

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Animation: Ruff And Reddy

Ruff n Reddy

In 1957, MGM shut down their animation department, but Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera were prepared. They immediately went into production on a low budget cartoon series designed for television. It was the seed that went on to grow into a television empire, yet the series hasn’t been distributed in years and few kids today know Ruff and Reddy the way they know other Hanna-Barbera creations like Yogi Bear and Fred Flintstone.

Ruff n ReddyRuff n ReddyHanna and Barbera knew that they had to make Ruff and Reddy quickly and cheaply. Within the space of a few months, their first airdate on NBC loomed. The tight budget and quick turnaround didn’t allow for much animation. The focus was put on the voices, layout and background styling. They designed the episodes as sequential cliffhangers- similar to the serials that played movie theaters in the thirties and forties. (The basic structure of the series was the same as the earlier TV cartoon series, Crusader Rabbit.)

The cartoons were designed to plug into a live action puppet show hosted by Jimmy Blaine, known for his characters Rubarb the Parrot and Jose the Toucan. Ruff and Reddy ended production in 1960. It continued in reruns on NBC in the Captain Bob Cottle show until 1964. After that, it was syndicated to local kiddie shows around the country.

Jimmi Blaine

The two key voice actors who worked on Ruff and Reddy went on to become the core cast members of the Hanna Barbera team throughout the coming years… Don Messick and Daws Butler.

Ruff n ReddyRuff n ReddyDaws Butler was well established as a voice actor by the time Hanna and Barbera formed their TV studio. He had been an integral part of Bob Clampett’s Time For Beany, as well as providing voices for many Lantz and MGM cartoons. Butler was skilled at ad libbing and vocal impressions, which led to an association with Stan Freberg on Freberg’s popular comedy records like "St. George and the Dragon-Net&quot.

Through the late forties and early fifties, Don Messick was a ventriloquist. In the late fifties, Tex Avery was looking for a voice for Droopy to replace Bill Thompson, who had left MGM to work for Disney. Daws Butler, who had been recording for Avery for some time, suggested his friend Messick for the job. As performers, Messick and Butler were perfectly matched. They became a team in a long string of cartoons produced by Hanna-Barbera… Boo Boo and Yogi, Pixie and Dixie, etc.

Ruff n ReddyRuff n ReddyAs a cartoon, Ruff and Reddy really doesn’t stand up too well. The stories are directionless, the animation is almost non-existent and the cartoons are excessively talky with way too much narration. They really aren’t a very good model for animators today to follow… except in one respect. Ruff and Reddy had remarkable design, layout and background styling. It set the standard for the great Hanna Barbera series that followed. I don’t know the names of the entire crew that worked on these early cartoons, but a few key artists stand out.

No one is more responsible for the look of the early Hanna-Barbera series than Ed Benedict. Benedict began his career at Disney and Lantz in the 1930s. In 1952, he joined Tex Avery at MGM to design the modernist cartoons, Field And Scream, The First Bad Man, Deputy Droopy and Cellbound. Benedict was one of the first artists hired by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera to work on their television cartoons. He was the principle designer on Ruff and Reddy, Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, Quick Draw McGraw and The Flintstones. Ed passed away last year. Read John K’s tribute on his blog, "All Kinds of Stuff".

Ruff n ReddyRuff n ReddyDick Bickenbach was a skilled draftsman with a strong sense of composition. He animated at Lantz, Warner Bros and MGM before joining Bill and Joe at their TV studio.
Because of his tight construction and clean line, his drawings were often used as models. In addition to design and layout duties on The Flintstones and Yogi Bear, he drew the comic book adaptations as well.

Art Lozzi was one of H-B’s main background painters. His use of color and texture in this particular cartoon is remarkable. John K has been interviewing Lozzi on his blog, "All Kinds of Stuff" See the following posts… Good Color Without A Lot of Money, Art Lozzi’s Technique on Skooter Looter and Art Lozzi on the Early Days of H-B

Carlo Vinci doesn’t have as much to do on Ruff and Reddy as he did on later H-B series like Huckleberry Hound and The Flintstones, but his hand is still evident in the animation. Vinci worked at Terry-Toons in New York for twenty years before moving west at the request of Joe Barbera. He was one of the first artists hired to work for the new TV studio, and he remained with H-B for twenty years.

RUFF AND REDDY MEET
PINKY THE PINT SIZED PACHYDERM

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Ruff and Reddy EPISODE ONE: Pinky The Pint Sized Pachyderm (Hanna-Barbera/1958) (Quicktime 7 / 9 megs)

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Ruff and Reddy EPISODE TWO: Last Trip Of A Ghost Ship (Hanna-Barbera/1958) (Quicktime 7 / 9 megs)

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Ruff and Reddy EPISODE THREE: The Irate Pirate (Hanna-Barbera/1958) (Quicktime 7 / 9 megs)

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Ruff and Reddy EPISODE FOUR: Dynamite Fright (Hanna-Barbera/1958) (Quicktime 7 / 9 megs)

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Ruff and Reddy EPISODE FIVE: Marooned In Typhoon Lagoon (Hanna-Barbera/1958) (Quicktime 7 / 9 megs)

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Ruff and Reddy EPISODE SIX: Scarey Harry Safari (Hanna-Barbera/1958) (Quicktime 7 / 9 megs)

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Ruff and Reddy EPISODE SEVEN: Jungle Jitters (Hanna-Barbera/1958) (Quicktime 7 / 9 megs)

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Ruff and Reddy EPISODE EIGHT: Bungle In The Jungle (Hanna-Barbera/1958) (Quicktime 7 / 9 megs)

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Ruff and Reddy EPISODE NINE: Miles Of Crocodiles (Hanna-Barbera/1958) (Quicktime 7 / 9 megs)

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Ruff and Reddy EPISODE TEN: A Creep In The Deep (Hanna-Barbera/1958) (Quicktime 7 / 9 megs)

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Ruff and Reddy EPISODE ELEVEN: Hot Shot’s Plot (Hanna-Barbera/1958) (Quicktime 7 / 9 megs)

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Ruff and Reddy EPISODE TWELVE: The Gloom Of Doom (Hanna-Barbera/1958) (Quicktime 7 / 9 megs)

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Ruff and Reddy EPISODE THIRTEEN: The Trapped Trap The Trapper (Hanna-Barbera/1958) (Quicktime 7 / 9 megs)

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Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Animated CartoonsAnimated Cartoons

This posting is part of the online Encyclopedia of Cartooning under the subject heading, Animation.

Friday, October 11th, 2013

Animation: John K on Flintstones Animators

Meet The Stars of the Flintstones
by John Kricfalusi (from The Flintstones laserdisc set)

Flintstones Animators

When I grew up, I used to watch "The Flintstones" in syndication every day and I began to notice that the characters would look different in each cartoon. I eventually figured out that they must have been drawn by different animators, each of whom had their own individual traits.

Flintstones Animators

Comic book nerds like me have always been able to tell the difference- say, between a Steve Ditko Spiderman and a Todd McFarlane Spiderman; but in animation, the tendency for most studios is to force all the artists to try to draw the characters the same way. This is called drawing "on model".

Flintstones Animators

Ed Benedict, who designed the Flintstones is really mad that all the animators drew the characters in their own style, or "off model". Luckily for us, Hanna-Barbera didn’t have time to have the animators learn to draw the characters before they started animating!

Flintstones Animators

I love cartoons where you can tell the animators apart. Bob Clampett’s Warner Bros. cartoons are like this. And so are the early Hanna-Barbera cartoons. The tricky part is figuring out what names belong to what drawing and animation styles! "The Flintstones" when it runs in syndication, has a stock set of credits on the end of each episode. They list four animators. And, if the names ever agree with the persons who actually animated a particular episode, it’s sheer coincidence. And get this… In the early days of Hanna-Barbera, one animator would animate a whole 25 minute cartoon by himself!

Flintstones Animators

So, this is what we’ve done for the likes of you- Henry Porch (my sound editor) and I have assembled clips of each animators’ work so you can finally figure out who’s who! I know that each and every one of you is licking your lips in anticipation as one of life’s more succulent mysteries is about to disrobe and reveal its undergarments for you. –John Kricfalusi

KEN MUSE

Ken Muse
Click on the image to see a movie of Ken Muse scenes.

Ken Muse’s style is easy to spot when you see it, but hard to describe in words. That’s why we put the clips together! An obvious trait of his is the way he draws Fred’s eye bags. The line under his eye is parallel to it. Also, he draws upside down smile lines. He generally puts less expressions and poses into his cartoons than the other animators do. He’s sort of the bland one, although some of the coolest drawings ever of the Flintstones are in "The Swimming Pool". Check out Fred driving his car in the beginning of the cartoon. Or Fred lying down and staring out the window. This is before he got used to drawing the characters and began drawing "on model". Muse worked on Tom & Jerry before Hanna and Barbera opened up their own studio.

DON PATTERSON

Don Patterson
Click on the image to see a movie of Don Patterson scenes.

Don Patterson is a very funny animator. He loves to do wacky walks and runs and goofy eye takes. He never seems to repeat expressions and actions. He custom designs his work to match what’s going on in the story. He draws the characters "off model" when they need to act. He sometimes give the characters "Smurf eyes"- the two eyeball whites joined into one. Patterson came from Walter Lantz’s studio, where he animated Woody Woodpecker and Wally Walrus and all your other favorites.

CARLO VINCI

Carlo Vinci
Click on the image to see a movie of Carlo Vinci scenes.

Carlo Vinci is the master of Flintstone. He handles him clean, smooth, without shame. Here’s how to spot him… Carlo loves drawing crooked poses with the characters’ appendages- the head, the hands, the pelvic girdle- all pointing different directions. Keep your eyes peeled for socially unacceptable (in some circles) wrist actions. He likes to flip the wrist around- have the hand up, then flip down, then twist around, fingers wiggling, taking turns sticking up- it’s truly a joy to watch.

He utilizes the butt generously. Remember the old Yogi Bear cartoons? The ones where Yogi bops up and down to bongo beats? That’s Carlo. He’s always thinking of you. In Carlo’s hands, Fred’s butt is a sensative emoting creature. He also draws quite a few meaty expressions on the characters, whereas some other animators are stingy with their expressions.

Carlo came from Terrytoons, where he animated for about 30 years. He did Gandy Goose, Mighty Mouse, Heckle and Jeckle and all your favorite New York cartoons. His specialty was singing and dancing. Hey, get this! Carlo met young Joe Barbera back in the ’30s at Terrytoons and taught him how to animate. Carlo did great stuff for Terrytoons, but I think he was made for Hanna Barbera. His animation style combined with Ed Benedict’s designs created a whole new entertainment experience. Count on Carlo to deliver a quality package to you.

Read more about Carlo Vinci

GEORGE NICHOLAS

George Nicholas
Click on the image to see a movie of George Nicholas scenes.

George Nicholas draws really well. When I was a kid I’d see his cartoons and say. "There’s the good artist." He’s the one who draws really solid, almost "pretty" designs. He’s also great with the girls. He makes them look cute and sexy. Another Nicholas trait is he likes to have the tongues flop around in his characters’ mouths. Like Carlo Vinci and Don Patterson, he custom designs new expressions and poses to fit the characters’ moods according to how they feel in the context of the story at each particular instant. This is unlike many animators, who strictly draw their expressions off the model sheets. This model sheet approach is what most cartoons use today, which is why everything looks and feels so generic now. The characters always make the same expressions, rather than act according to the situation.

Mark Kausler, the world’s greatest animator, says, "Nicholas has the richest, fullest looking dialogue animation on the early Flintstones shows. Instead of using just a straight up and down ‘head bob’ formula, he varies it by shaking the head ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to the mood of the dialogue accompanied by a shrugging gesture. He also uses a special sarcastic head rotation in perspective for some lines. He uses a unique ‘beady eyed’ expression on his characters, drawing tiny pupils in Fred’s eyes when he’s getting an idea or when he’s hypnotized by something. He draws big, fat fingers on Fred’s hands, especially in pointing gestures, like in the Frog Mouth episode."

Before Hanna-Barbera, George worked for years at Disney, where he animated for Charles “Nick” Nichols’ Pluto unit.

ED LOVE

Ed Love
Click on the image to see a movie of Ed Love scenes.

Ed Love’s most obvious trait is his real cool "upside down curly mouths". Watch when his characters talk. The mouth is also a little bit to the side. His action style is very ‘springy’. Mark Kausler says it’s because he ‘slows out’ of everything. That’s hi-falutin’ animator talk. He has a way of making limited TV animation look like full animation by the way he does his timing. It’s very smooth.

Before Hanna-Barbera, Ed had a quite varied career. His first animation job was on Disney’s first color cartoon- "Flowers and Trees". He animated Mickey getting stomped on by brooms in "Sorcerer’s Apprentice". He animated for Tex Avery in the early 40s on "Screwball Squirrel", "Red Hot Riding Hood" and other classic cartoons. From the mid to late ’40s, he worked for Walter Lantz. He animated a Woody Woodpecker cartoon, "Drooler’s Delight" completely by himself.

In the early 50s, he did commercials for Ray Patin. A really cool one was for General Mills’ Corn Kix. Ed animated the Kix Man, who is made of corn balls. He animated the Trix kids before there was a Trix Rabbit. He animated some of Hanna-Barbera’s best commercials from the late 50s and early 60s- the Kelloggs’ cereal commercials starring Huck, Yogi, Quick Draw and all your other wonderful cartoon pals.

Flintstones Animators

Recently, John Kricfalusi has been elaborating on these musings at his blog, All Kinds of Stuff. Check out these posts…

Pluto Animator Animates The Flintstones- George Nicholas
>The Flintstone Flyer- Carlo Vinci Part One
The Flintstone Flyer- Carlo Vinci
I Want You To Love Carlo Vinci
Carlo Vinci Dancing
Ed Benedict 1912-2006

Flintstones Animators

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Cartoons: A Tail Of Two Bulldogs (Avery and Hanna Barbera)

Tom & Jerry: The Bodyguard
Avery's Bad Luck Blackie

Today John Kricfalusi posted his latest lesson in the $100,000 Drawing Course, Lesson 8: Proportions Affect Design / Proportions. In it, he discusses what makes a drawing cartoony. As an example, he compares the bulldog used in the early 40s Tom & Jerry cartoons to the one used in Tex Avery’s "Bad Luck Blackie". Please read John’s post before looking at these cartoons.

As further illustration, I’m presenting two cartoons with similar themes to you for your reference… "The Bodyguard" and "Bad Luck Blackie". The difference in approach is striking. The first cartoon is an early Tom & Jerry cartoon.

Tom & Jerry: The Bodyguard
Tom & Jerry: The Bodyguard
Tom & Jerry: The Bodyguard
Tom & Jerry: The Bodyguard

The Bodyguard (1944)
Quicktime 7 / 16.6 megs

The second cartoon is a classic Tex Avery cartoon titled "Bad Luck Blackie"…

Avery's Bad Luck Blackie
Avery's Bad Luck Blackie
Avery's Bad Luck Blackie
Avery's Bad Luck Blackie

Bad Luck Blackie (1949)
Quicktime 7 / 15.8 megs

I hope you find this useful in your studies.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Animated CartoonsAnimated Cartoons

This posting is part of the online Encyclopedia of Cartooning under the subject heading, Animation.