Thursday, December 07, 2017

Y'know, I get the strange feeling that HOPPITY HOOPER must have seemed (at least to the lumpen ranch house suburban slobs of the day) like total denouement after ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE's bombarding of the early-sixties television airwaves. Talk about going from the familiar to the's kinda like when you were a kid and you were tuning into those OZZIE AND HARRIET reruns only to find out that they've been replaced by DISCO SHOWCASE '79 or something equally colon-twisting...the ultimate comedown especially since you've become hooked on Ozzie and his gosh-it-all style those past few months.

But still who could blame anyone for seeing something quite strange in HOPPITY since the passing from the fantastico '59-'63 years into the transitional mid-sixties must have been tough for a whole load of people. Some of whom I sure of did not quite like the way life outside their safe suburban squats was heading, as if anyone could blame 'em what with the rumblings of a social revolution that was for the most part a huge detriment to mankind. But still I just hope these youfs got the message and SOAKED IT UP ALL THEY COULD because the latter portion of that decade was gonna be nothing but hippies and hair and Arlo and stuff like that and what place did us home-lovin' lawn-mowin' NANCY-readin' kinda guys really have in that new order anyhow?

I bought a few "burned" discs of HOOPER that I must say I really adore not only because the series was much better than I recall, but because they were actually videotaped from some by-now ancient channel 7 in New York broadcast and, if your eyes are steady enough, you can catch a glimpse of a station ID slide that'll reveal to ya that these were broadcast along with the old KING AND ODIE 'toons which really should bring back a few funtime memories in these increasingly cyborg days. No Odie here, but the Hooper is in full force and I for once got a whole lot more outta my buck her than I do supporting the United Way!

It's not as quirky or as mature as THE BULLWINKLE SHOW was, but it's still top notch tee-vee viewing that should have had a longer life in syndication (for the life of me I can't recall seeing an episode of the thing since I was but a mere lad). Hoppity might have been even more naive than the denizens of Frostbite Falls but he's still got something upstairs that Bullwinkle never did seem to possess (common sense? who knows what that is these days???) while Waldo Wigglesworth has gotta be the best lovable scamster to be seen since Major Hoople, WC Fields and maybe even that guy at a mid-seventies flea market who told me to get $40 from my folks to buy his beat up electric guitar because I could learn how to play it and make a lot of money! And Fillmore Bear manages to top even Bullwinkle for doof sidekick status or is that only because Bill Scott did a suspiciously similar voice?

The sagas match ROCKY's slick wit and pacing although they don't last nearly as long. In fact one entire story is limited to a daily installment of four episodes (in the original netcasts the spare time was filled in with the same ol' ROCKY filler that even Jay Ward was rehashing during the final days of BULLWINKLE) so's you don't have to get all twisted over the cliffhangers like you used to do with BATMAN or LOST IN SPACE. HOOPER was also just as topical as ROCKY with sly satires of Beatlemania and a rather neat TWILIGHT ZONE spoof where not only do the main characters get turned into vegetables (talking turnips and mushrooms, not Karen Quinlan) but Paul Frees does perhaps the worst Rod Serling impression I've ever heard. I should also mention to you a couple of episodes (including the Beatle one) where Wigglesworth's ultra-sexy galpal Susan Swivelhips makes an appearance and manages to be the only anthropomorphic cartoon character I've come across to even make me hot and horny! Especially the way she does the ol' man-hungry routine at her former fiancee who deserted her at the altar with a bottle of the Indian Guide Elixir he's always peddling from his wagon.

Chris Allen as Hoppity and the femme voices ain't exactly June Foray but she does a pretty convincing job, especially when she's doing Swivelhips' neo-Mae West sexy "booooing!" routine that really does something to ya. Hans Conried's Waldo Wigglesworth's the perfect characterization of the slimy snake oil kinda guy only he could voice...sorta like Snidely Whiplash with the ol' lovable fanabla touch. And keeping in the spirit of the earlier Jay Ward creations Scott does those tough guy and doof voices perfectly. Of course the slapdash Gamma Productions animation helps out a whole lot especially if your eye is keen enough to catch some of the mistakes.

HOPPITY HOOPER is but more crucial viewing for you against-the-grain stopped growing in 1967 type of readers, especially when you consider that it's supposedly a "kiddie" cartoon, the kind that I used to get scorned for watching until I pointed out just how grownup they were thus getting the older folk up 'n center for 'em! Videos seem to be hard to come by, so check out the grey market dealers you internet savvy stroon you!

No comments: