To say that Hanna-Barbara’s animated series, Top Cat, has a colorful cast of characters is to make a statement that is literally true. Not only are the cats of NYC’s Hoagy’s Alley quirky and quaint in their Damon Runyon-esque way but also they are also graphically depicted with vibrant color schemes. From Benny the Ball (purple) and Choo-Choo (pink) to the Brain (orange) and Top Cat himself (yellow) these big-town tabbies are anything but the black, white and beige tones normally seen on your every day housecat. The Hanna-Barbera artists’ decision to depict their lively felines in a rainbow of hues made their second prime-time series (after The Flintstones) more fun. First of all, cartoons are supposed to be colorful. And even though Top Cat was never broadcast in color on its short, one-season run on ABC, these primary-colored pussycats were tailor-made for tie-in publications, including storybooks, coloring books and this sticker fun book, published by Whitman.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
The Hanna-Barbera characters have been used for all kinds of merchandising through the years. In the 1950s, the H-B stars were featured on Kellogg’s cereal boxes. Kellogg’s was of course the sponsor of the early H-B shows such as Huckleberry Hound. Here is Snagglepuss on Cocoa Krispies. Interestingly, he is not colored in his trademark pink but in a very standard-issue brown. Did Kellogg’s think that since Snagglepuss is a lion he should be brown? Or did they alter his famous color scheme because they wanted his color to reflect the cereal? Exit, stage right!
Monday, January 13, 2014
Just posted today on D23.com is another of my Muppetology articles. This one rings in 2014 by celebrating that famous calendar girl, Miss Piggy. Check out “Miss Piggy: A Pigfor All Seasons.” by Jim Fanning at D23.com—and don’t forget to click on the images for a larger view. You don’t want to miss a single page of this fun calendar.
Sunday, January 5, 2014
To welcome 2014, here's the January 1938 issue of Mickey Mouse Magazine (Issue #28). The headline for this post should probably be something like "Duck! Here Comes The New Year" as it's Donald (not Goofy) who represents the incoming year. Donald pretended to be a baby in at least one on-screen appearance before the cover was created, in Modern Inventions (1937). However, the inspiration for this infant appearance may have been Officer Duck (1939) which may have been in development if not production at this time. Happy New Year!
Thursday, December 26, 2013
Aside from being the Feast of Stephen, the day after Christmas Day is all about playing with the gifts —and in this fun cover from Woody Woodpecker Issue 88 December 1965, Woody, Knothead and Splinter enjoy their new toys. This cover art (drawn I believe by Paul Murry) was originally published for the Walter Lantz anthology title New Funnies, Issue 246, cover date January 1955. But whatever the year, this cover with the classic wind-up men (make that wind-up Woodpeckers) is a Christmas treat.
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
It's now Christmas Day, and to celebrate here's the View-Master set retelling the story of Birth of Jesus. This unique set, while covering the same territory as the View-Master set entitled The Christmas Story, stages the scenes with costumed actors. The scenes were created and photographed by Church-Craft Pictures, Inc., and reportedly Hollywood's favorite Biblical epic director Cecil DeMille actually directed at least some of the three-dimensional tableaux. Originally produced in 1947, this timeless View-Master set was in print for decades, and apparently still is available. Merry Christmas, everyone.
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Christmas Eve is the perfect time for The Muppet Christmas Carol. (The Spirits did it all in one night, remember?) Our celebration of that very merry Muppet movie continues with one of the charming tie-ins issued at the time the film was in movie houses, the A Merry Muppet Christmas picture book. Though created for little people, Muppet fans of all ages can appreciate the delightful art of this "Through the Window" book that conveys the coziness of an old-fashioned Christmas Eve. And don't forget to check out the articles I wrote about The Muppet Christmas Carol for D23.com, including "A Closer Look at the Dickens Village in The Muppet Christmas Carol." written by Jim Fanning.
Monday, December 23, 2013
Who makes a better Santa Claus than Sebastian Cabot? Just about no one, as perhaps you can tell from this publicity still from the Family Affair TV series, which featured three Disney favorites: Mr. Cabot (who played gentleman's gentleman Mr. French), Johnnie Whitaker (who played Jody) and Brian Keith (Uncle Bill). Stay tuned to Tulgey Wood for more Family Affair fun soon. And also check out Embarrassing Treasures, an entertaining blog that is currently reviewing each episode of this classic TV show. Bonus Christmas Fun Fact: Sebastian Cabot portrayed Kris Kringle (the role made famous by Edmund Gwenn in the 1947 original) in the 1970s TV remake of Miracle on 34th Street.
Sunday, December 22, 2013
From Christmas Past (but not long past) comes this stained glass-like cover art from The Disney Catalog for Christmas 2003. The festive colors speak of holiday cheer and beauty as does the fact that it features all three of Walt Disney's original princesses (added and abetted by Cinderella's mice friends), dressed in holiday finery.
Saturday, December 21, 2013
Thanks to this issue of Marvel's Giant Superhero Holiday Grab Bag from 1975, we have what may be the most unlikely Christmas party ever on the front cover, drawn by John Romita. Does that little girl realize that Santa is green? At least it's not the Grinch. (The back cover is also fun in its festive oddness.)