Beany and Cecil

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Beany and Cecil
Beanie&Cecil.jpg
Characters from left to right: Crowy, Captain Horatio Huffenpuff, Cecil, Beany, Dishonest John.
Genre Animation
Created by Bob Clampett
Voices of Jim MacGeorge
Irv Shoemaker
Bob Clampett as Cecil.
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 8
No. of episodes 26
Production
Running time 30 minutes
Release
Original network ABC
Picture format Academy ratio
First shown in 1959–1962
Original release January 6, 1962 – June 28, 1969

Beany And Cecil was an animated television cartoon series created by Bob Clampett for the American Broadcasting Company. The cartoon was based on the television puppet show Time for Beany, which Clampett produced for Paramount Pictures company and its Paramount Television Network beginning 1949. The series was broadcast first as part of the series Matty's Funday Funnies during 1959, later renamed Matty's Funnies with Beany and Cecil, and finally Beany and Cecil in the USA. Another season was produced during 1988.

Although a children's show, it incorporated satirical references to current events and personalities which adults found entertaining, and the show also attracted adult viewers. Some of the plots and remarks were recognisable as lampoons of current political issues.

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

History

Beany and Cecil was created by animator Bob Clampett[1] after he quit Warner Bros., where he had been directing short cartoon movies. Clampett allegedly originated the idea for Cecil when he was a boy after seeing the top half of the dinosaur swimming from the water at the end of the 1925 movie The Lost World.

Clampett originally created the idea as a television series named Time for Beany,[2] which was broadcast from February 28, 1949 to 1955. Time for Beany, based on puppets, featured the talents of veteran voice actors Stan Freberg as Cecil and Dishonest John, and Daws Butler as Beany and Uncle Captain.

Clampett revived the series in animated form, though Freberg and Butler did not reprise their roles. On 11 October 1959, the animated series was introduced as Matty's Funday Funnies. named for "Matty Mattel" the animated spokesperson for its primary sponsor Mattel Toys company. The program was later retitled The Beany And Cecil Show, and was broadcast prime time Saturdays during the 1962 television season, by the ABC Television Network. The newer cartoons replaced the Famous Studios cartoons of Casper the Friendly Ghost and Little Audrey among other parts of Matty's Funday Funnies.

After 1962, the 26 shows (including 78 cartoons) were repeated during Saturday mornings for the next five years. The cartoon featured characters Beany, a boy, and Cecil the Sea-Sick Sea Serpent embarking on a series of adventures, often to discover ancient civilizations and artifacts. These escapades were rife with cartoon slapstick and puns.

Prior to the animated series, but concurrent with the puppet show, Clampett created a comic-book series of Beany and Cecil adventures for Dell Comics. The artwork for this series of comics, published from 1951–54, was drawn by Jack Bradbury.

During 1988, the show was revived as The New Adventures of Beany and Cecil by DiC Entertainment. Only eight episodes were made, and only five episodes broadcast. This version of the show was produced and directed by John Kricfalusi, who would later create The Ren and Stimpy Show, and made use of voices from Billy West, who also did voices for the characters Ren (for season 3 and later) and Stimpy.

Characters

Main characters

  • Beany Boy – A young, cupid-faced boy with a propeller beanie cap that allows him to fly (the "Beanycopter", complete with helmet and propeller, became a popularly marketed novelty). Beany is a good-hearted lad. In most episodes, Beany would be kidnapped by a villain or have a problem too hard to solve, crying "Help, Cecil! Help!" to which Cecil would reply "I'm a-comin', Beany-boy!" as he raced to the rescue. This has become something of a catchphrase. Beany was originally voiced by Jim MacGeorge for the 1960's series and by Mark Hildreth for the 1980's series.
  • Cecil (or "Cecil the Seasick Sea Serpent") – A large green sea serpent with a slight lisp. He is fiercely loyal to Beany but not terribly clever. Cecil's trusting good nature invariably results in him being taken advantage of by the bad people, and he often suffers a great amount of physical abuse (getting smashed flat, losing his head, having his skin burned off, being shattered to pieces), examples of cartoon physics. The end of Cecil's tail was never seen in most episodes; it always extended off-screen, or was hidden behind an obstacle. This is likely a joking reference to the original Cecil, a hand puppet whose tail was likewise hidden (because it didn't exist). His neck often showed folds and creases like that of a sock puppet as well, another reference to the original Cecil. Cecil's tail did appear in "Beany and the Jackstalk", when his entire body got wound into the tension spring of a giant cuckoo clock. Cecil also has a superhero alter-ego known as Super-Cecil. In this guise, he wears a modified Superman shirt (complete with cape). It was Cecil who cried "A Bob Clam-pett car-tooooooo-OOOOOOOOON!" at the opening of each episode. Cecil was voiced originally by Irv Shoemaker for the 1960's cartoon and by Billy West for the 1980's cartoon.
  • Captain Horatio Huffenpuff – Also called "Uncle Captain", he is Beany's kindly uncle and the captain of the ship Leakin' Lena, which takes the pals from one destination to the other. The Captain is always willing to instruct Beany and Cecil on their latest assignment, but is rather cowardly and refuses to put himself in any personal jeopardy, locking himself below deck or under a box labeled "Capt. Huffenpuff's Hiding Box" for most of the episodes. Uncle Captain was voiced by Jim MacGeorge for both series.
  • Mouth-Full-of-Teeth Keith – A cowardly, toothless and Xenophobic old lion that hid in the first jungle arrived at by the crew. Trying desperately to maintain his isolation from interlopers, Keith would roar threatenly at any passerby or invader of his territory. On first encounter with Keith the crew was terrified of the jungle beast. However, as the story unfolds, Cecil (who often exhibits psychological insights) begins to suspect that Keith is really a "good guy" and fearful of strangers. After a few minor skirmishes, they all become good friends. Audience response to the gentle and maned feline giant (albeit he is toothless!) was so great that Keith soon became a regular member of the troupe. For several episodes, he rescued the crew from peril in spite of his shy and reclusive nature.
  • Crowy – The navigator of the ship Leakin' Lena. He is a crow, and unsurprisingly spends most of his time in the ship's crow's nest. He speaks with a squawky voice and has a tendency to faint whenever the ship encounters some sort of hazard. Voiced by Jim MacGeorge.
  • Dishonest John (or "D.J.") – The villain. He is dressed formally like a Simon Legree character, and he is constantly scheming to foil Beany and Cecil's adventures. His catch phrase is a sinister "Nya-ah-ãhh!", and he occasionally refers to Cecil as a "tall toad", "worm" or "big salami" (referring to his big, limbless body). Whenever Dishonest John's schemes are revealed to the heroes, Cecil tends to respond with an aghast "What the heck! D.J., you dirty guy!". When Dishonest John receives his inevitable defeat, it is usually just as painful as the abuse Cecil has endured during the rest of the episode. Dishonest John also has a supervillain alter-ego known as The Bilious Beetle. In this guise, he can fly by his own power and has a painful stinger. "D.J." also appeared disguised on occasion as the mechanical robotic octopus "Billy The Squid" usually in haphazard attempts to simulate seastorms to scare away the crew of the Leakin' Lena when on a treasure hunt. Dishonest John carried a business card that read: "Dirty deeds done dirt cheap. Special rates for Sundays and holidays". This was the inspiration for the AC/DC song "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap." DJ was originally voiced by Irv Shoemaker for the 1960's series and by Maurice LaMarche for the 1980's series.

Minor characters

  • Davey Cricket – A cricket with a coonskin cap who lives in the backwoods of Eight-Nine-Tennessee. A parody of Walt Disney's wildly popular segments on the Disneyland television show based on the life of American frontiersman Davey Crockett. In Cricket's self-titled episode, Dishonest John tries unsuccessfully to sign Davey to a lucrative Hollywood movie contract. He appeared in the episode: Davey Cricket's Leading Ladybug.
  • Go Man Van Gogh – A stereotypical cartoon beatnik/wild man who lives in the jungles of Wildsville on the Hungry I-Land. He often paints various things with his paintbrush, including paintings, vines to swing on, and fake backdrops to fool enemies (ala Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner). He also often plays a set of bongo drums, does scat singing, and speaks with various beatnik stereotype slang. Though he did not appear in many episodes, he was somewhat of a recurring character. He was voiced originally by Lord Buckley in "The Wildman of Wildsville" (a 1959 short movie that was later broadcast as part of the television series) and then by Scatman Crothers after Buckley's death during 1960.
  • Harecules – A rabbit version of Hercules who accessed super mental powers by wearing a helmet called a Thinking Cap and traveled in the Guided Muscle, a rocket shaped like a muscle man's arm with a clenched fist.
  • Jack the Knife (or "Jacques the Knife") – A friendly, jazz-singing sawfish with a heavy French accent; a parody of singer Bobby Darin and his 1959 recording of the song "Mack the Knife". His sawlike nose is used like a sword to help Cecil defeat Dishonest John in the episode "Hero by Trade". He usually sang to the tune of a jazzy rendition of My Darling Clementine.
  • Little Ace From Outer Space – An astronaut mouse. In his self-titled episode, he was used by the people at Cape Banana Peel to discover "whither or whether there was any weather." Cecil and Dishonest John competed to get Little Ace back to the cape for a cash reward. In the episode "Rat Race From Space," he was sent in a rocket to be the first mouse on the moon only to end up in the ocean. Voiced by Paul Frees.
  • Tear-A-Long the Dotted Lion – A muscle-bound lion obsessed with exercise and vitamins, a possible parody of fitness guru Jack La Lanne, who had a popular television exercise show about the same time as Beany and Cecil. His name is a pun of the phrase "Tear along the dotted line", but Tear-A-Long himself wasn't spotted. He spoke with a Southern U.S. accent similar to the Warner Brothers animated character Foghorn Leghorn. One of the original characters on the Time for Beany puppet show. Voiced by Daws Butler.
  • Careless the Mexican Hairless – Cecil's jovial pet Chihuahua, introduced in the episode "Cecil Gets Careless" and so named because of his tendency to knock things over when he happily jumps and dances. He sings to the tune of the Mexican folk song "El Jarabe Tapatio". He is called a Mexican Hairless for comic effect; the actual breed aka Xoloitzcuintli is much larger.
  • William Shakespeare Wolf – an actor wolf who was the foil for Little Quacker, a duckling he desired to eat, and Rin Tin Can, a robot dog.
  • Beepin' Tom – A diminutive alien who flew about in an open-top flying saucer. Named for his habit of making beeping sounds. When he spoke, he would hum the first line of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and then sing his phrase to the tune of the next line. A high pitched, accelerated voice similar to the Chipmunks was used for the character and the words he sang/spoke appeared as a rebus in a word balloon over his head. Appeared in the episode Ain't I a Little Stinger?.
  • Shlepalong Catskill (aka Hopalong Catskill) – A frog wearing a cowboy hat who walked with a limp similar to that of Dennis Weaver's "Chester" on the TV show Gunsmoke and spoke with a Yiddish accent. His catchphrase was "Hey Shmendrick! Would you like a cup of coffee? The character was voiced by Yiddish comedy singer Mickey Katz "
  • Peking Tom – A Siamese alley cat who sang about being a "very hungry guy; I've got to get some food 'cause I'm too egg-foo-young to die."
  • Cora the Clinging Vine (aka Flora) – A vine who literally has a crush on Cecil while singing "groovy" and Jazz scats to him.
  • Venus the Meanest and Venice the Menace – Two space robot from Venus who at first were reported to be invading Earth but came down for a picnic. Venice the Menace's name is a play on Dennis the Menace both the British and American versions and acts like Linus Van Pelt from Peanuts including his thumb sucking and "dirty old" blanket.
  • The Robot Ants – A group of ants brought by Venus the Meanest to be part of her picnic on Earth. They sing a march base on the children's song "This Old Man".
  • The Boo Birds – A gang of mischievous ghost birds that haunt an abandoned castle where Cecil stayed. They sing a tune "Filet of Soul (Sole)" based the song "When the Saints Come Marching In".
  • Edgar Allen Po's Shadow – A shadow man who lives in a haunted mansion who Beany and Cecil encounter the evil Invisible Man in Beany and Cecil meets the Invisible Man.
  • So What and the Seven What-Knots – A dixie jazz band who performed in a jazz club in Las Vegas, Nevada. They are based on the fairy tale, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
  • Stogie Bear – A Detective bear who Beany and Cecil helped to arrest the gangster bears in the episode, The Warring 20's.
  • Double Trouble Bubble Beast – A weird underwater creature who appeared in Ain't That a Cork in the Snorkel and Make a Sea-Serpent Sore!
  • Edgar Allen Po Shadow is a shadow owner of the Haunted Retreat Mansion. He appears in Beany and Cecil meets the Invisible Man. He is based on Alfred Hitchcock and speaks with an accent like that of the cartoon character Elmer Fudd.

Music

One episode ("Beanyland") featured Tchaikovsky's well-knownrecognizable celesta piece, Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy, from The Nutcracker. Other famed pieces of the Nutcracker were used in the series as musical interludes such as the Chinese Dance and Dance of the Reed-Flutes. Many other well-known classical music pieces were featured in the show as well, including The William Tell Overture (in the episodes "Beanyland" and "The Phantom of the Horse Opera"), Ride of the Valkyries and Flight of the Bumblebee. Some of the background music was also recycled from Leave it to Beaver, as well as some early Walter Lantz cartoons and incidental music from The Alvin Show.

Influence

The AC/DC song "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" is titled after the business cards of character Dishonest John, which read "Dirty deeds done dirt cheap. Holidays, Sundays and special rates."

Bob Dylan painted Cecil in his 2017 Beaten Path painting Hamburger Stand, Long Beach, based on a home movie of Beany’s Drive-in Restaurant in 1952.[3]

In Marvel Comics Universe, there is a spacefaring Imperial Guard unit with a member code named Warstar—who actually consists of two separate aliens, one smaller being riding on top of the other more massive one, named B'nee and C'cil, respectively.

The puppet origins and the form of Cecil inspired the famous science fiction author Larry Niven to invent an important extraterrestrial race called Pierson's Puppeteer as part of his Known Space series of novels and short stories (ss originally stated in the story "The Soft Weapon" .[4] Beany and Cecil was also an inspiration for Joel Hodgson to create the show Mystery Science Theater 3000.[5]

The artists

  • Executive Producer: A.C.R. Stone
  • Producer: Bob Clampett
  • Animation Directors: Jack Hannah, Dick Kinney
  • Story Material/Storyboards: Bob Clampett, Eddie Maxwell, Al Bertino, Jack Bonestell, Dale Hale,Lloyd Turner (Get Smart writer)
  • Layout: Terrell Stapp, Willie Ito, Tony Sgroi, Homer Jonas
  • Master Animator: Art Scott
  • Animators: Lou Appet, Harry "Bud" Hester, Bill Nunes, Al Stetter, Frank Gonzales, Bill Southwood, Carl A. Bell
  • Backgrounds: Curtiss Perkins, Robert Abrams, Marie Reed
  • Music Underscore: Bob Clampett, Sody Clampett, Hoyt Curtin, Jack Roberts
  • Music Published by Merrifield Music Co., Inc. (ASCAP)
  • Production Assistants: Dick Elliott, John Soh, Jeanne Thorpe, Mike Sweeten
  • Voice Talents of Jim MacGeorge, Irv Shoemaker and Bob Clampett as Cecil.
  • A Bob Clampett Production, in association with Television Artists and Producers Corporation

The credits of the series did not show traditional job titles, but pictorial symbols indicating their jobs. Bob Clampett's writing credit was indicated by a typewriter typing out the words "...by Bob Clampett", for instance. Clampett also made sure to include his name in the lyrics of the often-repeated B&C theme song to gain more recognition with viewers and from the animation industry. Clampett finally got the rights from ABC to market his Beany and Cecil cartoons by video during the 1980s.

Episode list

  1. Oil's Well That Ends Well / No Such Thing / D.J. The Dee Jay 6/30/1962
  2. There Goes A Good Squid / Ben Hare / Hare Today, Gone Tomorrow 6/23/1962
  3. Cheery Cheery Beany / Nya-Ha Ha! / Swingin' Singin' Sea Serpent 6/16/1962
  4. Mad Isle Of Mad-hatten / Hammy Awards / Hare-cules & The Golden Fleecing 6/9/1962
  5. Beany Blows His Top / Beany Flips His Lid / Fleastone Kop Caper 6/2/1962
  6. Thumb Fun / Living Doll / Beanyland 5/26/1962
  7. Dragon Train / 10-Foot Tall And Wet / Dirty Pool 5/19/1962
  8. Cecil's Comical Strip / Beany's Resid-jewels / Wot The Heck 5/12/1962
  9. Ain't That A Cork In The Snorkel? / Makes A Sea-Serpent Sore / So What & 7 Whatnots 5/5/1962
  10. Ain't I A Little Stinger / Warring 20's / B & C Meet Invisible Man 4/28/1962
  11. Here Comes The Schmoeboat / T'ain't Cricket, Crickett / Cecil Always Saves The Day 4/21/1962
  12. Rin Tin Can / Vild Vast Vasteland / Invisible Man Has Butterfingers 4/14/1962
  13. Dirty Birdy / Man Eater Skeeters / Leading Lady Bug 4/7/1962
  14. 20,000 Little Leaguers / Malice In Blunderland / Buffalo Billy 3/31/1962
  15. Beany's Beany Cap Copter / Indiscreet Squeet / Phantom of the Horse Opera 3/24/1962
  16. Sleeping Beauty & The Beast / Quackers in Bed / D.J. Meets Cowboy Starr 3/17/1962
  17. Hero By Trade / Illegal Eagle Egg / Cecil Gets Careless 3/10/1962
  18. Beany & The Jackstalk / Humbug / Custard's Last Stand 3/3/1962
  19. Greatest Schmoe On Earth / B & C Meet Billy The Squid / Capture of the 3—Headed Threep 2/24/1962
  20. Rat Race For Space / Beany & The Boo Birds / B & C Meet Ping Pong 2/17/1962
  21. 7th Voyage of Singood/Cecil Meets Cecilia/Thunderbolt the Wondercolt 2/10/1962
  22. Monstrous Monster / Tommy Hawk/Yo Ho Ho & Bubble Of Gum / 2/3/1962
  23. Trip To The Schmoon / Grime Doesn't Pay / Beany's Buffalo Hunt 1/27/1962
  24. Davey Crickett / Strange Objects / Tearalong The Dotted Lion 1/20/1962
  25. Little Ace From Outer Space / Super Cecil / Wildman From Wildsville 1/13/1962
  26. Spots Off A Leopard / Invasion Of Earth By Robots / Singing Dinosaur 1/6/1962

Home video

The entire series was released as VHS and Betamax as thirteen volumes (each containing two episodes) by RCA Columbia Pictures Home Video during 1984, with the final releases issued by their "Magic Window" children's subsidiary imprint.

Image Entertainment released the first thirteen episodes on DVD during 2000, with all episodes remastered from their original 35mm camera negatives. Bonus features included four complete episodes of Time for Beany, audio tracks of original story sessions, backstage footage and a still gallery. After a considerable delay, Volume 2 was released by Hens Tooth Entertainment during 2009, containing the other thirteen episodes, plus two more Time for Beany episodes, archival audio interviews with Bob Clampett, video interviews with celebrity fans of the series as well as animator Bill Melendez, original bumpers from Matty's Funday Funnies and other special features.

Notes

  1. ^ Beany and Cecil on IMDb
  2. ^ Beany and Cecil on IMDb
  3. ^ Beaten Path Series Hamburger Stand, Long Beach Retrieved on 16 October 2017.
  4. ^ and repeated in other Known Space works.
  5. ^ In Marvel Comics Universe, there is a spacefaring Imperial Guard unit with a member code named Warstar -who actually consists of two separate aliens, one smaller being riding on top of the other more massive one, named B'nee and C'cil, respectively. "20 Questions Only Joel Hodgson Can Answer about MST3K". Special Feature. Satellite News. January 1999. Archived from the original on 3 March 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-12. 


External links

  • Beany and Cecil DVD Website
  • Beany and Cecil at Toon Tracker
  • Beany and Cecil at Toonopedia
  • Beany and Cecil at TV.com
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