Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Loopy De Loop in Little Golden Books

For those that may not remember, Loopy De Loop was a much undervalued Hanna Barbara cartoon from the 1950s/1960s; starring a misunderstood french Canadian hobo wolf that traveled around determined to give wolves a good name. His goodwill mission was constantly hampered by the fact that he was, well, a wolf. He spoke in broken English, which didn't help matters either. In his dauntless way, he was rather heartbreaking, introducing himself as "Loopy De Loop, the good wolf!"

This comes from a Little Golden Book published in 1960 with artwork by George Santos.

11 comments:

  1. Reminded myself I have a copy of this book!

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  2. Love that blurb on the second page that credits Loopy as being a "popular television star", when he was appearing solely in theatrical shorts. Perhaps the good folks at Western confused him with Hokey Wolf.

    Oh well, very nice Crawford-esque artwork, anyway. I like his use of colored pencils.

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    1. TCJ: I love that look, too. So many of the Little golden Books had that beautiful look.

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  3. The series was released by original HB parent company Columbia Pictures as a last-minute theatrical series from 1959-1966---one year longer than the teleivison run of "THE FLINTSTONES"!(1960-1966).

    Loopy cartoons aren't really that funny to a lot us, though..I like to call him Lamey De Lame even though it's not pun-ish as Loopy De Loop, though I like the series in moderate doses, but it's one of those where the hero is kinda...meh, with the other characters being rather better. However, like all of the other earlier 1960s HB series it did have a very catchy theme by Hoyt Curtin, who incidentsally started scoring the cartoons with this series (rather than John Seely's Capitol Hi-Q music which was used on the equally neglected first Hanna-Barbera series, Ruff and Reddy, and used on the Quick Draw/Super Snooper/Augie and Huck/Yogi/Pixie & Dixie trilogy and about 5 cartoons with Yogi on his own show before Curtin himself took over for there, having already busied himself with Flintstones, Hokey, Yakky and Snagglepusses :). And the Capitol cues were for for Gumby and me, Donna Reed, My Three Sons, Couregour cat, etc.,etc.,etc.in those days.Loopy was Curtin's first expierence writing an original bunch of cues for HB (not that he hadn't done cartoon stuff before working at UPA including one of the Oscar winners the 1954 or 1956 "When Magoo Flew"). Hearing the Curtin cues, by the WAY..on the early HB short series, is really odd unless it's Yakky Doodle or the two grown Wolves or Snag though almost all originated on pre-Curtin score HB's, except Loopy who from the get-go only appeared in his theatrical series. ..with little merchandise..

    The character was pretty limited in exposure..That's why unless you saw him in theatres you'd be puzzled at seeing his name on those baffling "Home Movies", the predecessor of the landmark home video that we've had since the early 80s.In 1971 I was in a K-Mart and saw Loopy and said..What the bleep, who's this..?)

    And a final word on the scoring...Curtin;s music really gave an odd sound to the final Yogi/Huck/Quick Draw title segments, and Snooper, Augie, Pixie-Dixies for all its greatness, just as if John Seely's music at Capitol Records's still le a la mode for The Donna Reed Show, My Three Songs et al, turned up suddenly in Hokey or the Flintstones or later, Yippee Yappe and Yahooey or
    Sindbad Jr. it would be just as out of place. (Interestinly, some Flintstone revivals by John Kricfalusi and someone making an ad for Pebbles cereal departed from Hoyt Curtin, Tedd Nichols (his successor),etc. and used stock cues..Kricfalusi used those of one of Seely's contacts, the independent Jack Shaindlin's "Langlois" music for his Flintstone film, and then a real bizarre (to those outside "Sunny in Philly" use, composer Heinz Kiesseling's music on the Pebbles ad.)

    Final word, getting back to Loopy, he was like Pepe Le Pew (only lame) or a French-Canadian Casper. Oh. And he finally turned up in 1987 on TV , three decades after first appearing in theatres, on cable's USA Cartoon network. YouTube has a handful of them..

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    1. Wow, thanks for this great info, Pokey. Very interesting.

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    2. Steve Carras,

      Here in Brazil, the Loopy de Loop theatrical cartoons were shown at the TV, circa 1972-73.

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  4. I agree with you that Loopy was an unsung, undervalued Hanna-Barbera character. Perhaps part of the reason for his obscurity is because he was exclusively a theatrical cartoon character at a time when theatrical cartoons were on the decline. The character is admittedly a bit two-dimensional--his motive to do good despite the bad reputation of wolves can wear a little thin after the first three or four viewings. But his persistence in the face of constant rejection gives him a touch of dimensionality that makes him very endearing. And the cartoons are done with the same level of expertise and quality that characterized the best of the TV cartoons that H-B at the time was churning out on a regular basis.

    Yet like other H-B characters of the same era, like Yogi Bear or Huckleberry Hound, Loopy had a distinctive personality (well voiced by Daws Butler). His determination not to lose his good spirits and not to give up on righteous motives despite the endless harassment he receives can be viewed as a very inspiring quality.

    This story is very much in the mold of the cartoons, including a bittersweet ending. Loopy keeps trying to change a world that will not alter its attitudes. The appearance of guns in this story, even though they never go off or cause any damage, would be considered alarming today. Of course, gunplay was a staple of the early H-B cartoons, and this book carries over the concept, even though the Golden Books generally watered down the characters and situations for very young children. The fact that this story is not watered down much speaks strongly in its favor. It was rather a bold move to show the character of Loopy being constantly faced with shotguns and ultimately experiencing a similar downfall in the book to what he would have encountered in one of his cartoons, yet handling it with optimism.

    I would love to see a DVD of all the Loopy cartoons.

    Bravo to the writer/artist team that produced this book, and bravo to Mykal for posting it!

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  5. Thanks for the comments, Scarecrow - The Gun issue I hadn't thought about, but I suppose you are right. The little guy with the monstrous baseball bat in the first page looks far more dangerous than any of the gun totters, though!

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