The term "huckleberry" can be a slang expression for a rube or an amateur, or a mild expression of disapproval. Most of his short films consisted of Huck trying to perform jobs in different fields, ranging from policeman to dogcatcher, with results that backfired, yet usually coming out on top, either through slow persistence or sheer luck. Huck did not seem to exist in a specific time period as he has also been a Roman gladiator, a Medieval knight, and a rocket scientist. He never appeared in futuristic cartoons, only those set in the present or the past.
One regular antagonist in the series was "Powerful Pierre", a tall and muscular unshaven character with a French accent. Another regular villain was "Dinky Dalton", a rough and tough western outlaw that Huck usually has to capture, and Crazy Coyote, an Indian who Huck often had to defeat who was his match. There were also two crows with Mafia accents who often annoyed Farmer Huck. Another trademark of Huck was his tone deaf and inaccurate rendition of "Oh My Darling, Clementine", often used as a running gag. He also commonly used the phrase "and stuff like that there" in place of "and so on". This phrase showed up quite often in many Hanna-Barbera productions of this time, but Huckleberry said it more often than anyone else. One of his careers had his job position on the door listed as "TS & SLTT". When asked what it stood for, Huck said "Top secrets and stuff like that there."
Various Hanna-Barbera characters were known for breaking the fourth wall, frequently turning to the viewing audience to make comments and asides. Huck took this to somewhat of an extreme, and a significant part of a typical cartoon was his running narrative to the audience about whatever he was trying to accomplish.
Concept and creationEdit
In 1953, Tex Avery created a character named Southern Wolf for his MGM cartoons The Three Little Pups and Billy Boy. Introduced as an antagonist to Droopy, the wolf had a southern drawl and laid back mannerisms provided by Daws Butler. The most memorable trait of the character was that whenever something painful or unpleasant happened to him he never lost his cool, instead he calmly talked to the audience or kept whistling the song 'Year of Jubilo'. After Avery left MGM, Hanna and Barbera produced two more shorts with the character. In two of his cartoons (Billy Boy and Blackboard Jumble) the wolf plays a role that was exactly like a usual Huckleberry Hound short, aside from his frequent use of slang and the slaughter he only had in Billy Boy. While Sheep Wrecked was the wolf's final appearance, Huckleberry can be considered his reincarnation.
He was voiced in the original cartoons in 1957 by Daws Butler, who had given a similar voice and characterization to the dog character in Ruff and Reddy. Butler denied he based the voice on Carolinian actor Andy Griffith, and had been using it since the late 1940s. The voice for Huck was actually inspired by a neighbor of Butler's wife, Myrtis Martin, in Albemarle, North Carolina, her hometown. Butler would visit Myrtis and her family, and would talk to the neighbor who was a veterinarian. Butler found the man's voice amusing, and would remember it when it came time to voice Huck.
Role in later productionsEdit
Yogi, Boo Boo, Quick Draw McGraw, Magilla Gorilla, Snagglepuss, and Huckleberry traveled around America in the half-hour series Yogi's Gang. Debuting in 1973, the characters traveled in Ark Lark, a hot air balloon. They solved problems including Mr. Waste and pollution, Mr. Bigot's bigotry, and other various issues.
The Galaxy Goof-Ups segment of the 1978 series Yogi's Space Race featured new characters Captain Smerdley, Scare Bear, and Quack-Up the Duck with returnees Huckleberry and Yogi, traveling through space to multiple planets in a race throughout the galaxy. The series soon split off to its own half-hour program where Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, Scare Bear, and Quack-Up are bumbling intergalactic police officers. Huckleberry also appeared as a member of the Yogi Yahooeys team in Laff-A-Lympics from 1977–1979.
Syndicated series The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera included a segment in 1985 called Yogi's Treasure Hunt; Huckleberry appeared alongside characters including Yogi and Boo Boo, Snagglepuss, Dick Dastardly and Muttley, and Top Cat. In 1987, he appeared in Yogi Bear and the Magical Flight of the Spruce Goose, traveling around the world, saving animals and fending off the Dread Baron and Mumbley.
In popular cultureEdit
- In the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany's, the main character briefly wears a Huckleberry Hound mask in the shoplifting scene.
- After his original series ran its course, Huck continued to make appearances in other Hanna-Barbera series, mainly as a supporting character for his former co-star, Yogi. Huck appeared in Yogi's Gang (1973), the short lived Yogi's Space Race (1978), Laff-A-Lympics (1977–1978), and 1985–1988`s Yogi's Treasure Hunt.
- Huckleberry Hound appeared in the "Fender Bender 500" segment of Wake, Rattle, and Roll voiced by Greg Burson. He is paired up with Snagglepuss where they drive a monster truck called the Half Dog, Half Cat, Half Track.
- Huckleberry Hound appeared as a teenager in the series Yo Yogi! voiced by Greg Berg. Wee Willie was also featured as a teenager with his vocal effects done by Rob Paulsen.
- Cartoon Network's Boomerang channel plays a more recent Huckleberry Hound animated short that strays greatly from the animation and story style of the original, entitled "Sound Hound". Using cutout style animation, Huck simply makes everyone in a town be quiet so he can sing "Oh my Darlin'" in peace. It didn't follow the formula of the show which always gave him a career, and it made his singing seem more important to him than it ever did on the series where it seemed to simply be a tune he sang to himself during idle time. Like the 2002 Pixie and Dixie short, it used to air on Cartoon Network until the relaunch in 2004. He also appeared in various commercials and bumpers featured on Cartoon Network, voiced by Jeff Bergman.
- Evil Con Carne once alluded to him when The Lady of the Lake suggested that Hectar do an impression of "Huckleberry Hound fighting Mojo Jojo". When Hector did his impression of Huckleberry Hound, it was provided by Tom Kenny.
- Huckleberry Hound appeared in the Johnny Bravo episode "Back on Shaq" voiced by James Arnold Taylor. He was Seth Green's "good-luck charm" when Shaquille O'Neal was using Johnny Bravo as his "good-luck charm".
- Huckleberry Hound appears in one episode of The Brak Show in the role of a feral dog who steals and eats the cosmetic nose given to him by Brak's father, and passed down from generations of Brak's family.
- Some of Huck's cartoons are also featured on various VHS and DVD MCA Universal home video releases.
- Huckleberry Hound made a cameo in a MetLife commercial entitled, "Everyone".
- In the Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends episode "Nightmare on Wilson Way", an imaginary friend is dressed like Huckleberry Hound for Halloween.
- In The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy from episode "Irwin Gets a Clue", he is run over by Hoss Delgado's truck.
- In Batman: Year One, Catwoman steals a bunch of dolls from the commissioner, assuming he had jewels hidden inside of them. One of the dolls is Huckleberry Hound.
- Huckleberry Hound made two cameo appearances on Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law. Admiral Mutt appeared in the episode "Peanut Puberty" amongst the Board of Directors.
Parodies and other gagsEdit
Multiple television series have included the character in their plots, usually as a quick gag:
- Huckleberry Hound appeared in The Simpsons episode "Behind the Laughter" voiced by Karl Wiedergott. Near the end of the episode, he confesses: "I was so gay, but I couldn't tell anyone."
- References have been made in Head of the Class, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, where the lead's memory of the series is erased, because his girlfriend shares the name Clementine with Huck's song.
- In Supernatural from episode "Trial and Error", Dean has said "Well,you camp here, figure out who whored their soul. I'm gonna go scout the grounds -- see if I can't gank Huckleberry Hound before he makes his next move".
- A Huckleberry Hound bobble head is seen on the dashboard of the Mystery Machine in Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins.
- Huckleberry Hound is mentioned in an episode of the NBC Television series Wings called "Let's talk About Sex", which originally aired on January 8, 1997. Boston talk show host Mary Pat Lee (Caroline Aaron) laments the fact that her show can't even beat reruns of Huckleberry Hound in the local ratings.
- Huckleberry Hound is briefly mentioned by George Clinton in the 1982 single, "Atomic Dog".
- Huckleberry Hound is mentioned by Janis Joplin in her song "Easy Rider" on the album Janis.
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