Friday, December 11, 2009

TV Cartoons: 50th Anniversary of Beanie and Cecil

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[ABOVE: Beanie and Cecil. Click image to enlarge.]

Original post and comments at DBKP: Beanie and Cecil: 50th Anniversary of Beanie and Cecil

2009 is the 50th Anniversary of Beanie and Cecil Show

Fifty years ago, a star was born--two stars actually.

Fifty years ago, Beanie and Cecil began an animated cartoon story of a boy and his sea-sick sea serpent.

As a puppet show entitled Time for Beany, it originally aired in 1949, with the animated series first appearing in Matty's Funday Funnies in 1959, later renamed Matty's Funnies with Beany and Cecil and finally Beany and Cecil in the USA. Another season was produced in 1988.

The cartoons ran throughout the 1960s and '70s in much of the country. I'm not sure if Beanie & Cecil is shown anywhere today, but with all the different cable and satellite TV channels, it would be surprising if it were not.

In 1988, the show was revived as The New Adventures of Beany and Cecil by DiC. Only eight episodes were ever made, and only five episodes ever aired. This incarnation of the show was produced and directed by John Kricfalusi, who would later create Ren and Stimpy.

Beanie and Cecil relied on hidden adult humor and a ton of puns. Beanie, Cecil and Beanie's uncle, Captain Horatio Huffenpuff, accompanied by their navigator, Crow sailed aboard the ship, Leakin' Lena, to find gold, treasure and other cartoon quests each episode.

Usually, "Uncle Captain" would explain to the crew where they were going using a map that was loaded with puns and hidden cultural references of the day.


Beanie and Cecil was one of the first cartoons to be broadcast in color.



It's Saturday, September 11, 1965. The time - 11:30am in New York City.

This would be the second-to-last "Beanie and Cecil" episode to air on network television. The cartoons would be packaged individually to local TV stations beginning in the fall of '65. They would also begin to air in color, just the way Bob Clampett had produced them. 26 half-hour shows, and 78 cartoons were produced altogether.

ABC-TV used this time slot to promote some of its upcoming fall schedule. Look for scenes from a long-forgotten Burl Ives sitcom, "O.K. Crackenberry" [O.K. Crackerby"] here.

The cartoons themselves (3 of them), even in this grainy black and white format, are quick-witted, fast-paced, and very very funny.
--Mr. Know-it-all


* Beany and Cecil were an inspiration for Joel Hodgson to create the show Mystery Science Theater 3000.

* The AC/DC song "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" is an homage to the cartoon Beany and Cecil, which Angus Young watched when he was a child. One of the cartoon's characters was named Dishonest John, and carried a business card that read, "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. Holidays, Sundays and Special Rates."

* Along with The Jetsons and The Flintstones it was one of the first three color television series on the ABC television network (the initial season, though, was originally shown in black and white, as ABC was unable to telecast color programs until September 1962). [Beanie and Cecil]

* Prior to the show being animated, the Beanie and Cecil Show (with puppets) won three Emmies.


As a proud owner of a Beanie-Copter, it's in the interest of history to include a commercial of a toy which probably wouldn't be produced today due to some child safety issues.

The Beanie-Copter, made by Mattell (so it was "Swell") was patterned after Beanie's beanie and had a propeller on top that flew off and up (hopefully) when the string was pulled. The following commercial illustrates the concept.

Mattell's slogan was "You can tell it's Mattell--it's swell!"

One of my earliest teachers lectured our class on the evils of Mattell toys. She said that "Swell" was "slang, trashy slang and nothing more. No one should buy a toy that's sold with trashy slang!"

Ahhh, for those simpler times...

And it all happened just fifty years ago in 1959.

MORE on Beanie and Cecil:
* Beanie and Cecil

by Mondo Frazier

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