Thursday, August 20, 2009

Beany and Cecil - The Weirdest TV Cartoon - WATCH IT AT HOME!

and one of the most popular shows of the 50s and 60s
Some comics probably by animator Jack Bradbury, who also designed the first animated version of Beany and Cecil.

When I was a kid, about 9 years old, I used to race home from school to watch the cartoons at my Grandmother's house in Ottawa. We only had 3 channels then: 2 English speaking channels and one French. They all ran cartoons at the same time every day, and I had to switch from channel to channel because I could never make up my mind which to watch all the way through!They ran Huck and Quick Draw at about 3:30 on the 2 English channels, and then Yogi and Beany and Cecil at 4. It used to drive me nuts because I wanted to watch them all!

Huck, Yogi and Quick Draw were all Hanna Barbera cartoons - all with the same look and feel. They had great designs and voices and were appealing, but not very imaginative. Just the same, I loved 'em.

Beany and Cecil, on the other hand - even as a kid - seemed like the weirdest thing ever! It looked great- I especially liked the cartoons designed and layed out by Willie Ito - he did the more "modern" angular style episodes. But the stories were bizarre! If Roger Ramjet was the funniest 60s cartoon, then Beany and Cecil was the most imaginative.

Its main cast was fairly normal - starring Beany a likeable cute little boy who loved fun and adventure,

Captain Huffenpuff, an old homosexual blowhard adventurer who always retreated to his "HIDING ROOM" whenever there was trouble and Cecil The Seasick Sea Serpent - who was a not very subtle visual metaphor with a catch phrase to advertise it "I'm comin' Beany boy, I'm COMIN'!"and an old time melodramatic villain named Dishonest JohnThese main characters traveled around the world where they met much stranger characters. One of my favorites was the beatnick, the Wildman of Wildsville:I used this very gag in the 1988 new adventures of Beany and Cecil and the network exploded!

Clampett cartoons were always hip, just as he was. He kept up with cool trends all the way till the Beatles and then froze into his 1964 look with a Beatle haircut for the rest of his life. He knew The Beatles were the last truly cool thing and then everything pretty much went to know.
I'm sure most of you know that Beany Cecil was originally an Emmy award winning puppet show called Time For Beany that was probably even weirder than the later cartoon.

Daws Butler and Stan Freberg manning the puppet arsenal for Bob Clampett!Willie Ito, the later cartoon designer also drew these great Beany and Cecil comics in the same style he drew the cartoons- a combination of Clampett, Jones, UPA and his own style. These are great drawings for you student types to copy by the way.

Here's the whole comic!

All this great stuff has been out of circulation for decades and now it's here where you can enjoy them again!

10 years ago a Beany and Cecil DVD came out and has been out of print for a while, but now there are a few left.

There is also finally a volume 2 - filled with classic Beany and Cecil cartoons, puppet shows and lots of great supplemental treats!


Lots Of Extras!

Oral History

Bob was a stickler for recording his history. He constantly did interviews with people and recorded all kinds of interesting things.

This 70 minute oral history is taken from recently discovered source material. There were three sources.

A 1950 interview with Scenic artist and right hand man Bill Oberlin.
A 1963 recorded conversation with his Bob Clampett's mother.
And there was a 1978 interview with a close friend of Sody Clampett's.

Volume 1
Clampett fan, animator and historian Milt Gray edited together the definitive two and a half hour oral history on volume one.

Volume 2
This 70 minute continuation on Volume 2 gives some new insight including information about Clampett's Dad that previously none of the family knew. Bob always teared up when he talked about him. That was why it was such a shock when he went into as much detail as he did. It explains a bit of Bob's showmanship.

Bob Clampett Reads Milt Gross!

Clampett was a big fan of Milt Gross and knew him personally. In the supplemental material you can hear Bob reading along to Night in Front... while his kids see the original pages. Laughter and dog barking in the background.

Also, Rob Clampett did a brief audio interview with Milt's oldest son Herb and included pages of illustrations from some of the books.

There is the pencil test (the only one I've ever seen from one of dad's cartoons) and storyboard pages and layouts including deleted sequences from "It's A Grand Old Nag."

Home Movies
The home movies of the 'coolest guy' with his portfolio in NYC in 1945.