They were just like people to me; these wonderful and zany critters n' characters that comprised the 1960's cartoon brigade came to my house every single day of my life. Academy Awards are offered up annually to the best performers, but yet, these highly unforgettable and lovable folks don't even get a nod? No way.
These folks provided us with constant, non-stop entertainment on a daily, nightly, and weekly basis. How much more of a performance did we need?! Not only that, but whenever we went to the drive-in, or the movie theaters, who entertained us first? Cartoons! So, this is my dedication to the greatest friends I can remember from those glorious days of the 60's.
Hanna-Barbera Shows of the Sixties:
Hanna-Barbera were active with so many lovable characters and cartoons it's hard to keep track of them all. Individual characters showed up on various cartoon show productions during the sixties decade. One of the things I loved most about Hannah-Barbera cartoons were not only the "human" qualities the characters had, but the interesting approaches to animation and character design. I thought it was ingenious to have Fred's five O'clock shadow accentuated by a different tone and separated by lines on his face.
And was anyone more lovable than Snuffles the dog biscuit-crazy canine?
The Hanna-Barbera artwork and animations were also in keeping with the times-rather simplistic, but child-specific with an amazing artistic flourish. Disney and Warner Brothers had a sort of timeless quality, with more detail and backgrounds that were more like paintings, but Hanna-Barbera productions were pure classics. Watching one of their cartoons these days, one can see a definite retro-style design in the animation, backgrounds and coloring. The lines are sleek, and the characters follow suit. HB cartoons came on every night to entertain us. They had great theme songs, wonderful dialogues, and a cavalcade of characters!
🎵 We'll Have a Dabba-Doo Time! 🎵
1960 was the year the stone age family came to our television sets. I was a Flinstones Junkie, and tuned in faithfully. Even as an adult watching them in syndication, I couldn't help but get a strong sense of familiarity, something about them reminded me so much of somebody else. As I later learned, The Flinstones were cartoon knock-offs of "The Honeymooners", another of my favorite shows.
Does anybody remember Fred's "twinkle-toes" bowling? Some of Hannah-Barbera's other greats included "The Jetsons" and "Jonny Quest". I never missed an episoe of Jonny Quest, and it was by far, my favorite action cartoon, and one of my top five favorite prime time shows surpassed only by "Combat" and "The Outer Limits". "Jonny Quest" was the most inventive cartoon show I'd ever seen, and to this day it's still fantastic.
Warner Brothers Cartoons, fueled by the vocal militia of the great Mel Blanc and set to life by an army of highly gifted animators, provided me with a whole new world of colorful favorite cartoons. These characters seemed like the elite, the more polished and budgeted versions of Disney even though most of the time they seemed far superior. Unlike Hannah-Barbera , Warner Brothers cartoon characters were more "adult-like" with worldly views, more scheming, and more in tune to life in general. Their antics at times were far from innocent, even though they played out harmlessly on the TV screen.
Porky Pig being a flesh-colored character sans-pants, was actually banned from television for a period since he appeared to be naked. Crazy, huh? Especially since most of the other characters were all minus clothes. Their only saving grace was the fact that they, for the most part, weren't flesh colored. The b-b-b-b-b-b-b-bottom line is: censors were worried about all the wrong things.
I think that much of the charisma of the 60's cartoons was not just in the characterizations, but the writing as well. The scripts seemed edgy, focusing on one character outsmarting another. Critters with real-world agendas entertained us on the highest levels possible. Take for example how hilarious it was fun to see Yosemite Sam try to blow up Bugs Bunny with dynamite. It was hilarious to see how many ways Sylvester tried to get at Tweety. Daffy Duck was a grand manipulator, sometimes getting the best of Bugs Bunny, who was indeed the master manipulator of all.
MY ALL TIME FAVORITE Warner Bros. characters:
Foghorn Leghorn: the barrel-chested blowhard "I say boy, I say hey boy, ya' gotta learn to stand on your own two feet boy, I ain't always gonna be around to pick ya up son!" rooster who sounded off like a drill sergeant.
Daffy Duck: He was one of my favorites, a true schemer who could match wits with Bugs Bunny any day of the week.
Sylvester (and "Son"): My favorite cartoon cat with a lisp and big red nose. Sly wasn't as good a boxer as Rocky Balboa (as evidenced in his fight with the kangaroo), but he was clever and struggled to be a decent father figure.
Pepe LePew: His wooing and womanizing (or should I say cat-inizing?) skills were beyond compare! Pepe was a happy-go-lucky-hopping-through-life-singing "leeetle skonk" with a great French accent and attitude.
American stupidity reached its apex when it was decided that these "older" cartoons need to have supervisory warnings in order for children to watch. Instead, we now give our kids these horribly violent video games, movies of equal measure, and cell phones and computers so that they may live as a separate society. It's a good thing we kept 'em away from those nasty "old" cartoons though. What would the world have come to if children could have been influenced by Daffy or Bugs?
"Ah yes, eet ees love!
Undoubtedly, Pepe Le Pew was the world's greatest lover. The greatest film stars of the era, past and present, offer very little in the way of competition for this loveable skunk with the thick french accent. He certainly won me over, and I offer him a special portion of this web page in thanks.
One of the things that I really loved about Warner Brother's cartoons-aside from the perfect "Looney Tunes" theme song, was the fact that they featured some characters modelled after popular actors and actresses of the time.
In the case of Pepe, you will see and hear a strong resemblance to the french actor Charles Boyer . Boyer, who was often a romantic lead, was one of the screen's original foreign charmers whose work I've always enjoyed. Charles now lives forever in the form of a precocious skunk with an eye for "zee ladies, no?" Pepe Le Pew is one of my favorites. His legacy will live forever alongside his black and white and furry lookalike Sylvester the Cat.