Hanna-Barbera’s Fun Time
First issue: 1 November 1972
Last issue: 30 June 1973
Relaunch of: Yogi and his Toy
Just about anyone who grew up in the western world in the 1970s (and who has access to a TV set, which wasn’t all of us, to be honest) will almost certainly remember at least one Hanna-Barbera cartoon. You know: Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, Touché Turtle and the like. Sassy anthropomorphic animals that all wear at least one item of human clothing and get into hi-jinks accompanied by a laughter-track so old that some of its intended participants weren’t able to make it because of traffic congestion due to protests against the Corn Laws.
There was a reason, folks, that those Hanna-Barbara characters wore human clothing… and once you spot that just about every one of them has something around their neck (Yogi has a collar and tie, Quick Draw McGraw has a bandana, lots of them have scarves or bow-ties), you’ll realise why: if the character is standing still, the animators only have to redraw their heads for each frame, and that’s a lot easier to do when they don’t have to worry about lining up the head with the neck: the collar or tie will mask that.
So, yeah, “made on the cheap” is one way to describe them. Even as a little kid, I could tell the difference in animation quality between the Hanna-Barbera shows and, say, the Disney cartoons, and it wasn’t just because the chase-scenes always involved infinitely long corridors bedecked with regularly-spaced identical windows and end-tables.
But despite the low-quality animation, I still liked a lot of the shows. Top Cat was an early favourite (as you might have spotted on the cover up there, the show was renamed Boss Cat in the UK — because a brand of cat food had already bagsied the Top Cat name — but I only discovered that a few years ago: he was always Top Cat to me, the animated feline version of Sergeant Bilko from The Phil Silvers Show) and I was also rather partial to Snagglepuss. Sure, he was as camp as a row of pink frilly tents covered in glitter and worshipping Lady Gaga, but his show was funny.
Anyway… Back in February 1972 (when your Uncle Rusty was about five and eleven twelfths years old), Williams Publishing launched Yogi and his Toy, a comic that boasted “A free gift with every issue!” That really was a big deal back then, let me tell you, but these days not so much because every comic aimed at younger readers comes with at least one free gift with every single issue. Kids these days, eh? Honestly, they don’t know that they’re born. Or why.
Yogi and his Toy wasn’t the first British comic to feature adaptations of Hanna-Barbera cartoons. Not even close. Yogi Bear himself had headlined his own weekly — Yogi Bear’s Own Weekly — which clocked up 75 issues between 1962 and 1964 (and which was absorbed by Huckleberry Hound Weekly which ran from 1961 to ’67 for an impressive 308 issues).
Yogi and his Toy was less successful than its predecessor, which was hardly surprising because it cost 10p. That’s ten whole bloomin’ pence per issue when most comics cost around 2p. (If by chance the publishers back in 1972 happen to have access to a future-viewer and are reading this now: Guys, you’re not fooling anyone by charging five times the usual price for a comic and calling the gift “free.”)
The public voted with their coin-purses, and the comic lasted only thirty-six weeks before it was relaunched as Hanna-Barbera’s Fun Time, which subsequently followed the then-standard (and more cost-effective) pattern of giving away free gifts for only the first few issues. And they were actually free, too! Sadly, that didn’t help much and Fun Time was cancelled six months later.
Fun Time is an interesting step on the journey between nursery comics and “proper” comics: some of its strips feature beneath-the-panel captions and the panels generally contain full dialogue…
The lettering throughout the entire comic is, unusually, in mixed-cased. We’re so conditioned to having comic-book characters shout their dialogue at each other in ALL CAPITALS ALL THE TIME that mixed-case like this seems almost apologetically subdued. (Note to younger readers who might be confused by Mr. Jinks’s speech impediment in the panels above: “meeces” is not the universally accepted plural for “mouse” — it should, of course, be “mice” or “mouses” or, if you’re not absolutely confident in your choice, use the handy stand-by phrase “one mouse and then at least one further mouse.”)
Today, we’re looking at issue #16 of Hanna-Barbera’s Fun Time. I chose this particular issue for several reasons, all but one of which are imaginary because the actual true truth is that it’s the only copy I own.
Just like young Uncle Rusty was for the entirety of his teenage years, issue #16 is undated, but thanks to the scientific method known as “working it out” we can pin it down pretty close… The first issue of Fun Time was launched around the start of November 1972 (according to the British Library, and who’s going to argue with them, eh?), so that means that issue 16 was — barring delays or strikes or time-warps caused by misuse of a future-viewing machine — unleashed on the public around February 14th 1973.
So what do we find in this issue of Fun Time? Sixteen pages of fun, that’s what, eight of which are in colour. Its cover price of 4p is still double that of commensurate issues of The Beano — which had more pages, albeit with less colour and on lower-quality paper — but that could be because the Hanna-Barberians had to receive their royalties. The readers, however, are unlikely to have cared too much about intellectual property rights, or indeed colour: at that age I would have opted for the comic with more pages. You can, after all, colour them in yourself. And if you use markers instead of crayons, you can colour in the other side of the page at the same time — bonus!
Sadly, those sixteen pages are completely uncredited. There’s not a single mention of a creator, which is a real shame. While some of the art is decidedly dodgy, with representations of the characters being not quite right (about the same level of accuracy as you might find painted on a nursery wall by someone who has only ever learned to draw the same cartoon characters over and over, and always in the same pose), a few of the strips are very well done — and the colouring is great.
Top Boss Cat and his Alley Gang — “On Top”
2 pages, colour
As you’ve seen above, the first page of the Boss Cat strip appears on the front cover, and the remainder can be found on the back cover. It’s an amusing story of how Boss Cat (I’ve just realised that he doesn’t have an actual name, just a job description — that’s hardly fair!) and his underlings are too uncomfortable down on the hot, stuffy street, so they go up to the roof of a nearby fifty-nine storey building for some fresh air — their journey courtesy of the “lift lady” who is presumably a woman who lives, or at least works, in the elevator. On the roof, the door slams behind them and it can’t be opened from the outside. Uh-oh!
Luckily, they’re spotted by their arch nemesis Office Dibble who’s on patrol with the chief of police in a helicopter. Thinking that someone is breaking into the building, and not pausing long enough to wonder how the supposed burglars managed to get onto the roof of a fifty-nine storey building without climbing equipment or a helicopter of their own, they land the copter on the ground. The chief of police says he’ll guard the lift and orders Dibble to take the stairs. At this stage, the lift-lady is nowhere to be seen, which is unfortunate because she’d have been able to clear up the confusion instantly and saved Dibble all that work. My guess is that she’s taken a moment to evaluate her career choices and has concluded that she could do so much better. Maybe she even realised that, unlike buses and trains, elevators don’t actually require a driver to operate them.
As for Dibble… well, given the average of eighteen steps per floor in a commercial building, we can calculate that the officer ascends 1062 steps, or about 147 metres (482 feet and a pawful of inches). No wonder the poor plod is out of breath by the time he reaches the roof! There, he confronts the cats, but since they’re not doing anything wrong, the cats leave with naught but a warning from Dibble not to visit the roof again or he’ll arrest them for trespassing. The door slams shut behind them, and Dibble decides to wait a while to catch his breath.
Back on the ground floor, the chief learns from Boss Cat that it was a false alarm, and asks him to let Dibble know that he’s returned to the station “when you see him.” Out on the street some time later — we know it’s later because the sky is very dark blue, therefore it’s night-time — the chief pulls up in a car and asks the Capo di Tutti Gatto if he’s seen Dibble yet. One of the cats suggests that Dibble might be still on the roof but they decide not to go check on him because he’d warned them never to go there again.
Trapped on the roof, Officer Dibble blames the cats for his predicament, and we can only speculate about his fate thereafter. It could be years before his remains are found, skeletonised, his flesh stripped away by the very vermin that Boss Cat and his pals would have kept at bay had they not been constantly hounded by Officer Dibble. Oh, cruel, cruel irony!
Exciting Times with Quick Draw McGraw — “A Rattling Good Gift”
1 page, black and white
Quick Draw McGraw is a horse back in Wild Western cowboy olden times who wears a hat and a bandana along with a gun-belt and holster.
I’m trying to get my head around this… He has a gun. He’s a horse. With a gun. Now, even setting aside the moral implications, I have a problem with this. I’ve never owned either a horse or a gun, but I happen to know that the former have hooves and the latter require fingers to operate. How that’s supposed to work I have no idea. Even if the gun lacked a trigger-guard, which would be extremely dangerous, how is Quick Draw supposed to load the thing without fingers?
In this tale, Quick Draw and his sidekick Baba Looey (a donkey wearing a sombrero) arrive at Rattle Snake Junction on their horse and cart to deliver a shipment of gold. Note that McGraw is a horse, yet he has no compunctions about tethering another member of his race to a cart: that’s slavery, that is. There’s apparently been a slight delay as Baba Looey was off delivering a present to the young son of “Indian Joe.” Outside the gates of the town they encounter the villainous Six-Gun Pete — who has only two guns with him: perhaps the other four are responsibly locked away at home in his gun-safe — who attempts to rob them of the gold.
At that moment, they hear a rattling sound and we see that Six-Gun Pete’s apparent bravado was a front: he drops his guns and scarpers for fear of an approaching rattlesnake. Yeah, your collection of half a dozen guns might make you feel like a tough hombré, Pete, but they’re no substitute for a backbone!
Luckily, it turns out that it wasn’t a rattlesnake after all, but the toy rattle that Baba Looey gave to Indian Joe’s son, who looks to be about seven years old. Way too old to still think that a rattle is a cool toy. But then we can’t blame Baba Looey for that: he’s a donkey, and they probably have a different concept of appropriate gifts for seven-year-old Native American children.
Quick Draw himself doesn’t do much in this tale, but then there are only six panels. Still, while he seems like an amiable fellow, don’t let his ever-present smile fool you. Only a cold-hearted monster would be capable of enslaving a member of his own species. And I heard he once shot a horse in Reno just to watch him die.
Meet Wally Gator and Mr. Twiddle
1 page, black and white
I’d never encountered Wally Gator before this comic, but it’s not hard to guess what kind of animal he is: that’s right, he’s a crocodile. He follows the usual Hanna-Barbera rules: stands on his hind legs, wears a hat, a collar and cuffs, and has the ability to converse with human characters without them freaking out that he’s a talking reptile.
Wally lives in the zoo where he’s caretook by Mr Twiddle, the zookeeper, a man of small stature who, let’s be blunt, wouldn’t stand a chance should Wally decide to turn on him. Seriously, if Wally were to even take a moment to consider the power balance between them, Twiddle would be sliding head-first past the uvula before he knew what hit him.
In this episode, Wally is playing table tennis with the smug-looking Keith Kangaroo — who is a Kangaroo, that’s not just an unfortunate name — in the hope of winning a prize: the Grand Feed. But Wally is upset because Keith has another table-tennis racquet (I think that’s what they’re called: I’m a comics nerd, not a sports-liker) tied to his tail. Rather than call out his opponent for his cheating, or even hold a second table-tennis-ball-swatter in his other hand, Wally storms off to get a friend who will teach Keith a lesson.
Said friend turns out to be Oswald the Octopus who wields six table-tennis clubs at once, and thus resoundingly thrashes Keith Kangaroo in the final game. Oswald wins the competition, and he and Wally then share the Grand Feed (cakes and ham and the like), but Wally can’t keep up with Oswald because, as aforementioned, Oswald is an octopus and therefore is in possession of many more limbs with which to grab the food.
I expect that after this strip is over Wally dines heartily on ham-fed Octopus. With a side-order of smug kangaroo meat.
The Tales of Yogi Bear
2 pages, colour
I never much cared for Yogi. He might have been smarter than the average bear, but he wasn’t smart enough to take off his clothes, was he? Not that I’m advocating for the cause of animal nudity (then he’d be Yogi Bare, har har!), but without his hat, collar and tie, his nemesis Ranger Smith (who looks remarkably like both Officer Dibble from Boss Cat, and Officer Dibble from Top Cat) might not have realised that it was Yogi who caused so much trouble in Jellystone Park. Smith might well have assumed there were dozens of different bears instead of just Yogi and Boo Boo, his easily-led wee sidekick.
This colourful tale has Yogi and Boo Boo spotting a cluster of glueworkers visiting the park on their work outing / sports day. One of those workers is determined to win the egg-and-spoon race by glueing his egg to the spoon, the rotten cheat. We know this because we can see what he’s thinking via the magic of thought balloons, a kind of comic-strip telepathy that you rarely encounter these days, but which was a lot more common back in the 1970s.
As Yogi and Boo Boo are about to plunder the glueworkers’ picnic basket, the cheating glueworker decides to have a little fun with the bears. He suggests that Yogi should see how far he can throw “the hammer” (one of those metal-ball-on-a-chain yokes you sometimes see as you’re flipping through the TV past the sports channels). The glueworker has sneakily put glue on the hammer’s handle and naturally Yogi goes flying when he attempts to throw it, because comic-book physics aren’t entirely analogous to real-world physics. Yogi lands in a lake, and — rather than maul the glueworkers to the bloody death they undoubtedly deserve if for no other reason than they’re too dumb to run away from a bear — Yogi decides to get revenge.
He and Boo Boo pour glue into some sacks, and then paint some more glue on a bench. They —
Hold on a second. Glueworkers? Was that really a thing back in the early seventies? I know that glue existed back, then, sure (just ask Quick Draw McGraw, who regularly tricked his equine friends into going on a “tour” of the local glue-factory), but was the adhesive industry actually large enough to spawn the term “glueworker”? It’s presented in this story as though it was nothing unusual. “Say, young Paula, remind me what does your dad does for a living?” “He’s a glueworker.” “Oh, right, same as my sister, and my brother. And all of our aunts and uncles, and our grandparents. Thanks, Paula.” “You’re welcome, Mister Loctite.”
Anyway. Yogi’s plans come to fruition a little later when the glueworkers participate in the sack race: those inside the sacks discover that they are unable to free themselves, and those observing the race from their seemingly-comfortable bench find that they have been glued in place… Thus, there is none among them in a position to stop Yogi and Boo Boo from making off with their picnic basket.
If I was those bears, I would have nicked the glueworkers’ truck too. Missed opportunity, Yogi. The truck has got to be worth a hundred picnic baskets. Plus you could have rifled through their pockets while they were indisposed. Smarter than the average bear? Pfff. Maybe, but only if “the average bear” is that hunney-obsessed one who lives in the Hundred Acre Wood.
Adventures of Magilla Gorilla
1 page, black and white
I have only vague memories of Magilla Gorilla, and didn’t remember that the premise of his TV show is that he lived in a pet shop and the owner, Mister Peeples, was always trying to sell him, but invariably the owners would find that Magilla was too much trouble and they’d bring him back. I remember that now, of course, because I just looked it up on Wikipedia.
In this issue’s adventure, Magilla and Mr Peebles are preparing for bed when Peebles asks Magilla to lock away the beehive that a customer has ordered. In the 1970s it was perfectly normal to buy bees or gorillas from a pet shop because this was before the infamously tragic pet-store ape-and-honey-producing-insect incident of 1983. Never forget.
Later, Magilla is sleeping in his bed — he’s a four-hundred-pound gorilla, so by tradition he can sleep anywhere of his choosing — when he’s woken by Mr Peebles who claims to have heard a burglar downstairs. Peebles naturally wants to bring his gorilla with him to confront the burglar.
They see the burglar attempting to jimmy open the safe, but Magilla declines Peebles’ offer to stop the offender, calmly and smugly explaining that there’s no rush. The burglar succeeds in opening the safe but — surprise! It’s full of bees, for that is where Magilla had stored the beehive! The angered bees chase away the burglar, but they return in time to see Magilla being treated to a midnight feast by Mr Peebles as a reward. I’m not sure what it was a reward for, exactly. Magilla didn’t intend for those pet-shop bees to become unwilling burglar-frighteners; that just happened.
But I guess if a gorilla tells you that he deserves a slap-up feed, you don’t argue with him. You certainly don’t point out that if he’d acted sooner, he could have scared off the burglar himself and then you wouldn’t have a broken safe.
Pixie, Dixie and Mr Jinks — “Clean Sweep”
1 page, black and white
As a kid, I loved Pixie and Dixie even though I could never remember which was which. But before you start writing your irate letters of complaint, I’m not saying that all mice look alike — I’m no mousist. I just mean that they had very similar personalities. Pinkie and the Brain, for example, was another bi-mouse show but in that one it was always easy to tell one from the other by they way they spoke and behaved. But Pixie and Dixie were interchangeable.
Still, from the dialogue in this strip — as seen in those example panels way up near the start of this article — it appears that Dixie is the mouse with the waistcoat, therefore Pixie must be the one with the bow-tie. I’ll have to think of a clever way to remember that, like a mnemonic or something… but it’s not going to be easy because so much of my mental capacity is already taken up with important stuff like remembering how to spell the word “mnemonic” and what it means (“Memorise thiNgs Easily, Mike, using acrONyms to form Interesting word Combinations.”)
This issue’s episode has Pixie and Dixie once again being chased by Mr Jinks, their feline nemesis. This time he’s wielding a sweeping brush and intends to sweep up the mice and not, as one might expect, smash in their diseased little rodent heads. They knock a conveniently open can of paint into Jinks’s path which leads to him brushing a trail of paint through the house. This gets him kicked out by the lady of the house, which hardly seems fair given that she — as the only human in the strip — was almost certainly the one who left the paint-can open in the first place. He’s a cat chasing one mouse and another mouse. Sure, he’s not a nice guy, but you can’t punish him just for doing his job!
Just worked out a fool-proof method of remembering which mouse is which: Pixie wears a bow-tie, which looks like a propeller, and both “propeller” and “Pixie” start with the same letter! Yes! Now you will forever be able to remember which is which — in a future article I might just spring that on you as a surprise question, just to prove that my method works.
Meet the Flintstones
2 pages, colour
If you’re one of the few people reading this who’ve not encountered the show before, The Flintstones is a cartoon about primitive humans co-existing with dinosaurs, even though in the real world that could never have happened because the dinosaurs would have just eaten the humans.
The lead role of this (the only human-centric strip in this issue of Fun Time) is Fred Flintstone. Looking remarkably like the actor John Goodman, Fred is a nice guy, a down-to-perhistoric-earth blue-collar worker who wears animal furs and a blue collar. His well-meaning antics get him into copious scrapes, along with his best friend and neighbour and co-worker Barney Rubble, occasionally their respective wives Wilma and Betty, and in later series respective children Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm.
The show was created in 1960 and heavily inspired by the successful sitcom The Honeymooners, and thus follows the standard 1950s sitcom format: well-meaning but somewhat dim husband, stay-at-home wife who’s smarter but nevertheless has her own little foibles, dinner parties to which the boss has unexpectedly been invited, disapproving mother-in-laws with a penchant for interfering, frequent social schedule conflicts that involve “important” golf or bowling tournaments, and so on. All that against a backdrop where each piece of then-modern technology is replaced with a prehistoric animal doing the same job (the vacuum cleaner is a baby mammoth, for example). For a kids’ cartoon it’s frequently clever stuff, and often very inventive.
But enough about the actual show: what about its comic-strip interpretation in Fun Time? Well, Meet the Flintstones gets the colour centre-spread, an indicator that it’s one of the comic’s star strips. Second: the art is very strong, the best in the issue, in my opinion. And third… this is the only balloon-free strip in the comic. All of the narrative and dialogue is delivered through captions:
That approach is closer to the style of the nursery-age publications and feels at odds with the rest of the comic, even the other strips that feature captions.
And it doesn’t help that the story is one of the weakest of the bunch: Fred is in his garden practising his golf strokes when Wilma berates him for not mowing the lawn. Fred, missing the point, demonstrates that he’s using a ball tethered to an elastic string so he won’t lose it. He wallops the ball with the golf racquet and it comes zipping back and hits him on the head. Wilma sneers at this and presents it as a sign that he ought to get on with mowing the lawn. Fred agrees, but then lazily decides to get their pet dinosaur, Dino, to do it. Dino finds the ball-on-elastic, picks it up and it zips across the lawn and hits Fred in the head again. Moments later, Barney tells the dazed Fred that he, too, has been playing golf with a ball attached to elastic string. The end.
That’s it. No actual humour or hi-jinks. As scrapes go, this one wouldn’t even leave a graze. Rather disappointing, and the lack of balloons gives the story a certain jaded detachment, as though the narrator has already done a hundred of these in a row and just can’t be bothered any more.
Maybe I’ve being too harsh. See, much as I loved dinosaurs, I never really cared for The Flintstones. The humour always felt a little bit forced, and for the most part I put that down to its laughter-track. Irritating as the fake laughter was in most of the Hanna-Barbera cartoons, in The Flintstones it always seemed to be much more liberally applied, to the point where it felt like every single thing Fred or Barney did or said was enough to trigger a gale of raucous laughter. It was always so heavy-handed it made me want to aggressively clatter my forehead against a bumpy wall until blessed oblivion welcomed me into its comforting embrace, and then some.
It’s the Peter Potamus Show!
2 pages, black and white
I have absolutely no memories of Peter Potamus. Apparently he’s a hippopotamus who lives in a magic flying hot-air balloon with So So, his monkey pal. Their balloon can also travel through time and visit historic events. If they get into trouble, Peter has a magic “Hippo Hurricane Holler” shout that allows him to summon up powerful winds to blast at his enemies. The actual Peter Potamus Show consisted of three different cartoons, the other two being Breezly and Sneezly (a polar bear and a seal whose arch-nemesis is the commander of an arctic army base) and Yippee, Yappee and Yahooey (three dogs who guard a diminutive grumpy medieval king).
Y’know, this one really sounds like someone grabbed too big a handful out of the Random Ideas jar and then someone else double-dared them to make it work.
In the opening panel of this two-page strip, Peter Potamus seems to be addressing the readers (including me, I suppose: I was, after all, reading it) as he tells us about a snowball fight between Breezly and Sneezly…
Sneezly and Breezly’s snowballs accidentally strike the king from the Yippee, Yappee and Yahooey cartoon (perhaps the snowballs had been flung with enough velocity to break the barrier between realities?), and he orders them to desist and get rid of their arsenal of snowballs. They hide their snowballs inside a cannon, because, um… never mind why, they just do.
Next, the king informs the arctic base commander that a rival king from “Ballythumpia” is coming to sign a peace treaty, and as a mark of respect the cannon should fire a royal salute. Said king arrives, said cannon is fired, the Ballythumpians are pelted with snowballs, and consequently the peace treaty is called off as all heck breaks loose in the snowball fight to end all snowball fights, much to the delight of Sneezly and Breezly.
But what about Peter Potamus? It’s his show, so where is he? Nowhere, that’s where. He’s not seen again after that first panel. Maybe in the real world hippopotamice are the most ferocious animals in the jungle, but their cartoon incarnations are shameful craven wretches who slink away at even the merest hint of violence, I’m surmising.
2 pages, colour
I really liked Touché Turtle back when I was a kid, and I especially liked his dog sidekick Dum Dum, one of the few kids’ characters named after a form of ammunition that’s been prohibited from use in international warfare by Declaration III of the Hague Convention of 1899. As well you know.
Touché and Dum Dum were musketeers who righted wrongs for no reward. Actually, that’s not quite true: at the end of their adventures they often accepted the standard cartoon currency of a slap-up feed. I guess that makes them mercenaries.
One of the things that confused me as a kid was that Touché’s surname was Turtle even though he was clearly a tortoise: turtles have webbed feet with claws and live in the water most of the time, but Touché clearly had webless hands — he could hold a sword with no problems — and was almost always on land. Nevertheless, my youthful mind was able to set aside that problem and suspend my disbelief, especially given that neither turtles nor tortoises are known for their prowess with hand-held weapons. (This was many years before the creation of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Tortoises, of course — and yes, they too are tortoises because they’re land-dwelling and have nonwebbed hands.)
Touché’s adventure in this issue is presented in caption-and-balloon format…
Touché and Dum Dum foil a would-be mugger by whacking him across the head with a stick (actually the pole part of Dum Dum’s knotted-hanky-on-a-pole thingy, the common stand-in for luggage in cartoons), and then they run away — stupidly leaving the robber with his sword. As they flee, they spy an abandoned sedan chair (above), and one panel later the mugger darts inside the chair on the assumption that his intended victims are hiding therein.
In a sudden twist, however, our heroes turn out to be not hiding inside the sedan chair that’s barely large enough to hold even one of them! Touché and Dum Dum carry the mugger-laden chair to a nearby town, and hand him over to the police. Sadly, there’s no reward save two tickets to the police ball which just happens to be taking place that night. Our mercenary duo flog the tickets to a passing gentleman for two gold pieces, and use said pieces to treat themselves to the predictable slap-up feed at a local inn.
It’s not a great strip, to be honest. Touché barely gets to use his sword, and doesn’t even utter his catch-phrase, “Touché Away!” which I always liked.
1 page, black and white
Ah, filler material! I’ve not much to say about this page — except that we get a pic of Quick Draw McGraw holding his gun in a menacing manner as he’s about to plug another victim: look at that scowl on Quick Draw’s face… that guy is never gonna see his wife and kids again — but I’ll include the page here in its entirety in case you want to do Yogi’s maze, or draw the outline of Quick Draw’s victim (before the cops come along and have to do the same thing in chalk), or even make one of the carrot creatures.
If you do decide to make one of the carrot creatures, we’d love to see it here at Rusty Towers! Please send a photo of your creation to the usual address — there’s no prize, but we can promise that we might not cruelly mock it.
Huckleberry Hound — “Ups & Downs”
1 page, black and white
Wrapping up the comic (aside from the second half of the Boss Cat story, which appears on the back cover), Huckleberry Hound was another of my favourite cartoons.
I’m sure that most of us remember the bow-tie-wearing blue dog less for his genial nature — he rarely let anything get him down — than for his regular performances of “Oh My Darling, Clementine.” It’s a song one rarely hears elsewhere these days, most likely because every listener will immediately associate it with Huckleberry Hound.
In this six-panel strip Huck (I feel I know him well enough to use the abbreviated version of his name) sees a fox, a rabbit and a duck — all anthropomorphised, of course — attempting to fly a kite in the rain. He helpfully instructs them that a kite won’t fly when it’s wet. I don’t know if that’s true, but Huck certainly seems to believe it.
The rabbit comes up with the ingeniously daft idea of tying an umbrella to the kite to keep it dry, but Huck insists that there’s now too much wind for kite-flying and they should go inside. As Huck grabs the kite string, a sudden gust snags the kite-and-umbrella combo and drags him up into the air. Luckily, he lands in the very next panel, coming down heavily on his posterior. The rabbit, fox and duck have watched his brief flight and descent from indoors and not-helpfully inform him that he was right, it’s better to be indoors when it’s raining.
So, not a great strip. But the art is cute and I was really tickled by the umbrella idea.
And, sadly, that’s yer lot, folks. Just ten strips over sixteen pages, which really isn’t much for your 4p. But thanks to this comic, here’s something I never noticed before about Hanna-Barbera cartoons: out of the ten shows that appear in this issue, five of them feature characters with a repeating word in their names: Bamm-Bamm in The Flintstones, Dum Dum in Touché Turtle, So So in Peter Potamus, Boo Boo in Yogi Bear, Choo-Choo and Fancy-Fancy in Boss Cat. And there’s probably a lot more in their other shows. Odd, that.
Though Fun Time itself didn’t last, Hanna-Barbera creations have continued to appear in British comics, either in their own titles such as Marvel UK’s Scooby-Doo and his T.V. Friends (68 issues, February 1982 to June 1983) or in other anthology titles: as mentioned before on this blog, Dastardly and Muttley could be found in Countdown.
As an adult it’s very easy to sneer, which is why I allow myself to indulge, but these comics are aimed at kids and in 1972 I was just about the right age for Fun Time, but I don’t think I ever encountered it. I definitely remember comics of that era that featured Tom and Jerry, and several Warner creations like Bugs Bunny, and the Laurel and Hardy comics, so I reckon I would have liked Hanna-Barbera’s Fun Time even if I wasn’t familiar with a few of the characters. As I said at the start, I was always a fan of Top Cat so he would have been a big draw for me.
But here in 2019, my favourite strip of this issue was Touché Turtle, if only because — perhaps inadvertently — Dum Dum provided me with a genuine laugh in this panel where they’ve handed the mugger over to the police:
See? I told you they were mercenaries!