41 Comments

  1. “Are these all Hanna Barbara characters?”

    Technically none are but… yes, the ones these are satires of all are Hanna-Barbara.

  2. Four of the five panels are based on Hanna-Barbera characters: Scooby Doo and Quick Draw McGraw are well-known, Atom Ant and Top Cat are a little more obscure. The final one is intellectual poaching: Hanna-Barbera had nothing to do with creating the “Berenstain Bears” or the original TV specials, but it turns out that their Australian division was involved in producing the 1985 TV series. I’d call that more than a stretch, especially since there were dozens of real H-B characters from which a better (less “Ewww”) joke could have been drawn.

  3. According to the Mandela theory, Hanna-Barbera did make the Berenstein Bears cartoon in some alternate universe the cartoonist remembers.

  4. The pun on “wasted” was just wasted on me. Also the reference to “parts” is peculiar – – a charge of DUI is brought against the whole individual, not any part.

  5. I’m surprised Kilby thinks Quick Draw McGraw is significantly more well known than Top Cat.

  6. Andrea, I also was wondering that. It seems like the same idea, but there is some distance between hog and buffalo. Maybe there was some similar bit of Buffalo-skinner lore?

  7. @ Powers – I suppose it depends on which cartoons were shown in a particular area (or decade). In any case, I recognized the reversal from “quick” to “slow” much faster than I was able to figure out the antecedent to “mop”.
    P.S. When I was a kid, all of the H-B cartoons were just second-rate dregs that we watched only because Looney Tunes were already over for the day. Three of the four shown here were tolerable, but I never liked “Scooby Doo”, and found it incredibly unjust that the network would inflict 90 minutes of that moronic dog upon us, instead of scheduling an extra hour of Bugs Bunny.

  8. I thought Adam and his Hot Aunt was a stretch.

    …..

    “Hanna-Barbera had nothing to do with creating the “Berenstain Bears” or the original TV specials, but it turns out that their Australian division was involved in producing the 1985 TV series.”

    ALthough this was news to me, I think that allows it to be accurate to say they were a “Hanna-Barbera character”. I agree most wouldn’t think of them as such but I wouldn’t say it bars them from the joke.

    I’d call that more than a stretch, especially since there were dozens of real H-B characters from which a better (less “Ewww”) joke could have been drawn.”

    I disagree about the stretch but must agree there are many others. No “Yoga Bear” (“I don’t have time for Hijinks– I’m trying to reach inner peace”) “Hack and Bury the Hound” “Arid Extra Dry Squirrel” …. etc….

  9. “When I was a kid, all of the H-B cartoons were just second-rate dregs that we watched only because Looney Tunes were already over for the day.”

    Different story in my youth. We had a locally-produced daily cartoon show every morning. When I was very young, they had HB cartoons… Huckleberry, Snagglepuss,et al. Around the time I was ten, they bought access to the Looney Tunes library, instead.

  10. When I was growing up in Los Angeles in the 60s and 70s, H-B was largely relegated to the local stations and I mostly only watched them when I was home sick from school. I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen Top Cat, but I did like Quick Draw. And there was one that I think was by them that was sort of F Troop, but the Indians were beagles?

    Anyway, woozy’s “Yoga Bear” is better than at least half of what Hilburn came up with. And yeah, “Adam and His Hot Aunt” was a real stretch. Why not just “Atom Aunt”? As written, it makes me think more of a certain New Wave rocker. Also, everybody knows it’s Nancy who has a hot aunt.

  11. Never having watched cartoons, I absolutely missed the hot aunt one; I, too, thought immediately of the rocker by that name, altho I don’t think I’ve ever heard the music itself.

  12. “And there was one that I think was by them that was sort of F Troop, but the Indians were beagles?”

    That doesn’t sound familiar, but dig suggest Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddy.

    “everybody knows it’s Nancy who has a hot aunt.”

    According to the current movies, Peter Parker does, too. Marissa Tomei has come a long way from “A Different World”.

    “I don’t think I’ve ever heard the music itself.”

    My ex-wife was a bit of a fan. I found “Goody Two Shoes” tolerable.

  13. I didn’t get the “Atom Ant” reference either — not only did I never see that show (and only vaguely heard of it), but (a) I kept wanting to work the “hot” part into the ur-title, and (b) I’m one of the people who pronounce “aunt” as “awnt,” so I got nowhere. Got the other references quickly enough, though QUICK DRAW MCGRAW was the only show on the list that I actually recall watching as a kid (and mildly enjoying, though I agree with those noting it was never up to the standards of Warner Brothers — or of Jay Ward, for that matter — I suppose I’d have to give it the edge over FARMER AL FALFA and other stuff from animation’s prehistoric age, which was still showing up on TV in my long-past youth).

  14. “Atom Ant” came up in a crossword five months ago ant it was one of those… “oh my god, I totally forgot such a thing had ever even existed” and then the memories flood back and they had that rare round freshness that only memories that have been completely unthought for decades can have. (I mean from age 11 to 57 I never thought about “Ant Ant” a single time so that when the memories came, they were…. well, yes, few, small and sparse, but also freshly wrapped and unused.)

    Had I not had that experience I never would have placed “Adam and his hot aunt”.

    Hanna Barbara were definitely on the bottom of the pile. But what they lacked in quality they more than made up in saturation and universal accessibility.

  15. H-B’s “limited animation” style made it cheap enough for TV, which in turn made it possible to make animation specifically for children, rather than for mixed audiences that happened to contain children. The “re-run the 13 episodes we made forever” (not unique to H-B) is why people remember this stuff from childhood. Some have been re-invented for new audiences (Scooby’s been in about a dozen reboots, several of which you probably are unaware of because you stopped being a child and wouldn’t watch Scooby any more.) This, in turn, allows Hollywood to make movies to capitalize on your vague recollections of these cartoons and happy associations with your childhood. I actually enjoyed the first of the live-action Scooby movies, despite the fact that 4 of the 5 characters were badly mis-cast.

  16. Thanks woozy, Go Go Gophers seems to be right. Apparently as a kid of 5 or 6 I thought they were beagles (maybe because of Snoopy). I only remember this because I always heard “The Beat Goes On” as “The Beagle Zone” and was convinced they were singing about this cartoon.

  17. Looking at this list of Hanna-Barbera characters there are only a few I know: Yogi Bear, Tom and Jerry, Huckleberry Hound, Wacky Races, Top Cat, The Jetstones and The Flintsons. One pretty obscure show I remember seeing on Lebanese TV in the mid-60s was Peter Potamus (with Sneezly and Breezly); I don’t think I have seen it anywhere or anywhen else, but it was (clearly) strangely memorable.

    Fun Fact: Top Cat was shown in the UK on the BBC in the 1960s and 70s, but since “Top Cat” was the name of a brand of cat food the show was renamed Boss Cat (the BBC being a non-adverts channel). However, as I recalled and a Trivia Fact commenter on imdb confirms, the name was still Top Cat in the title song and in the dialogue, rendering this bit of title renamery somewhat irrelevant.

  18. My kids, now in their late 20s, don’t know any of these characters other than Scooby (and the Berenstain Bears, but only in the context of those horrid books I refused to read to them). However while they don’t know Quick Draw, they are familiar with El Kabong because of all the times I bopped them in the head shouting “KABONG!”

  19. Calling the Berenstain Bears a Hanna-Barbera character is like calling Superman a Fleischer character. The Bears remain in the Berenstain family and are still going strong.

  20. “Calling the Berenstain Bears a Hanna-Barbera character is like calling Superman a Fleischer character. ”

    And don’t people do just that? Frequently?

    People also call the Smurfs Hanna-Barbera characters. Don’t they? Heck, even Popeye is a Hanna-Barbera character…. poor sod.

  21. Many old H-B characters have been re-purposed in recent animated series, such as “Havey Birdman, Attorney At Law”. Even “The Venture Bros.” borrowed heavily from Johnny Quest (with a Scooby Doo parody thrown in in one episode).

  22. Also….

    The guy spent years building his model ship only to discover it was too big to bring up the stairs out of the basement.

  23. “And don’t people do just that? Frequently?”

    Not outside the context of the actual Fleischer cartoons. The rest of the time, it’s all Siegal and Schuster. Just like Bob Kane used to get all the credit for Batman, leaving Bill Finger unmentioned.

    Writing “for-hire” in a shared universe is an often thankless job.

  24. “Many old H-B characters have been re-purposed in recent animated series” Not to mention Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, which made him famous to Millenials.

  25. “Not outside the context of the actual Fleischer cartoons.”

    But *inside* the context of the Fleischer cartoons I’d say this is just fine. And this cartoon is inside the context of Hanna-Barbera. Of course inside the context of Hanna Barbera we can refer to Popeye as a character.

  26. “But *inside* the context of the Fleischer cartoons I’d say this is just fine.”

    Meh. Sometimes it is, when details that are unique to that context are in discussion.

    ” Of course inside the context of Hanna Barbera we can refer to Popeye as a character.”

    Perhaps. But inside the context of Hanna Barbera you CAN’T refer to Bluto as a character. (They had the originals on the cartoon programs of MY youth.)

  27. In an interview with the guys who developed Venture Brothers, they mentioned being worried about lawsuits from Jonny Quest rights holders. So they asked Cartoon Network to find out who had the rights, and got the answer “we do”. So, no problem! In fact Jonny and Race showed up in a few episodes.

  28. Not to mention Space Ghost: Coast to Coast

    That was a great show. In one, they had an old clip from the original where Zorak’s planet is blown up by SG. Zorak is now the bandleader and antagonistic sidekick. SG wonders how he survived that.

    Zorak: I, I crouched.
    Space Ghost: Crouched?
    Zorak: Down low, behind a rock.
    Space Ghost: Huh.

  29. And then word is the VB creators had to later tone down the direct references to Johnny Quest for various reasons. Indeed, the JQ tribute characters Action Johnny and Dr. Z have become very much their own characters in recent episodes.

  30. Well, it seems that Fleischer turned Superman’s power of leaping tall buildings into a power of flight, with the ability to change direction in mid-air. So I guess Fleischer did contribute a bit to Superman.

  31. I found some Go Go Gophers on YouTube. I have no idea how child!me thought they were beagles. Gophers only gets repeated about 100 times in the theme song. And hoo boy has it not aged well. Even if the Native American Gophers always come out on top, but their depiction is almost as bad as the Warner Bros Censored 11.

  32. Although Scooby Doo was often a tiresome repeat of the same stories and poor animation, give credit to Cartoon Network for a fresh take in the last iteration: Scooby Doo Mysteries Inc. re-imagined the characters and a very adult overall story arc. Definitely not the Scooby Doo we used to watch Saturday mornings.

    I understand a recent comic book series also took a dark, post-apocalyptic take on the Scooby gang.

  33. Hmmm, this comic made me think. Perhaps the benches and chairs in the teddy village should all have washable covers on them. I don’t think the seesaw, slide or swing needs it as the young cubs generally have at least diapers – if not also clothing – on. The teddy nurses have been going about the village checking that all have their measles vaccinations (including checking with the, now, regular summer visiting Koala family from Australia) and will now be checking that all have pants (or skirts) on.

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