Sunday, January 13, 2013

"Where's Huddles?" or What Was Up with H & B in the Seventies?

While watching the NFL playoffs today, I recalled an old show from my childhood called Where's Huddles?.  It premiered on July 1, 1970, the summer after first grade for me, and the year I discovered the NFL.  I was crazy about football, and crazy about cartoons too.  Therefore, my seven year-old self reasoned, this should be the most awesome show ever!

I still remember watching the show and thinking, "This stinks."  

I looked up a clip on YouTube and confirmed that seven year-old me was right.  The promotional artwork bore little semblance to the final product. 

But didn't just about all of Hanna-Barbera's shows in the '70's suck?  Even as a child, I rejected their shows because they looked so awful.   They went from cool looking shows like Space Ghost an Wacky Races to shows that looked like they'd wiped their asses on it like Where's Huddles? all in the course of about two years.

Twenty four years later, while working in Australia, on A Goofy Movie, I met some of the animators from these sorry shows, produced at  Hanna-Barbera's satellite studio in Sydney.  Guys like Don MacKinnon, Kevin Peaty, and Ty Bosco had war stories of having to crank out 100 feet of animation a week, and laughed about some of the stunts and shortcuts they used to get it done.  The schedules were crap, and they did the best they could with time and experience they had,  but obviously, the studio's product had become a pale and blotchy image of its former self.  

But don't blame the Aussies.  The shows not only looked awful, they sounded awful as well.  Remember those weird, discordant sound effects?  And the constant, meandering music score that seemed to be watching a different show?  What happened?  

It's the seventies, Jake. 


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