The Single Most Popular Beany and Cecil Cartoon Gag

The map to No Bikini Atoll from the cartoon Cecil Meets the Singing Dinasor.

Without question this is the Beany and Cecil Cartoon gag that gets referenced the most. It has ALL of the elements that made the cartoons popular. From the verbal and visual puns to the pop culture references to the naughtiness. Some of the descriptions include The Bridge of Bardot, the Low Low Bridge-Ada, Good-Grief Reef and Pony Tail Point. Most amazing of all is that Bob Clampett and the production staff got it past the ABC Network censors, although girl on the map is wearing a bikini of lush forage. Hope this memory brings a giggle or a smile to your face.

Sea Serpent Sightings in Scandinavia

Just a few days after the Loch Ness surfaced in Scotland another mysterious creature has emerged. A Sea Serpent was recently spotted by three men in Lake Hornindalsvatnet, this is in Norway according to an online news feed called Inquisitr. Some reports added that the three men were not drunk when they reported this story.

Sea Serpent rings visible.

And this is not just any old sea serpent they saw. There have been reports that the Serpent of Hornindalsvatnet has been swimming in the waters of Hornindal, Norway since the 1700s. Sure, Nelly the Loch Ness monster may get all of the attention, however, that may soon change.

Why these sightings now, Centuries later?

And this just in. We have a Youtube clip from Lake Seljord in Norway. The video the girl shot is closer than the other pic. They may be speaking Norwegian but can you honestly say a girl like that would lie?

Who says a horse is a horse? Waterhorse ancestor to Cecil from No Such Thing as a Sea Serpent.

Sea Serpent rings chased by his tail from No Such Thing as a Sea Serpent.

Just maybe the relatives of Cecil really are surfacing, rings and all? Could it be global warming? Inquiring minds want to know.

Cecil Inspects a Little Animation History

Bob Clampett and Cecil the Sea Sick Sea Serpent viewing the animation exhibit at Expo 67 in Montreal Canada.

Expo 67 was the last great convergence of animation pioneers. All of the animation greats were invited including the great Warner directors, but also names from the PREVIOUS generation. Animation greats J.R. Bray, Otto Mesmer (Felix the Cat), Dave Fleischer (Betty Boop, Popeye), Walter Lantz (Woody Woodpecker), and Paul Terry (Mighty Mouse) all attended.

For Bob Clampett it was the very first time he was recognized at all for his contributions to animation and also the first time he was able to meet many of the people he had admired all the way back to his childhood. The photo above also captures something else very interesting. Bob Clampett always traveled with the Cecil puppet and the character came alive when Bob Clampett put Cecil on his hand. Clampett didnít play the Cecil character. It was more like Cecil was another side (and more gregarious to boot) of his own character.

More about Bob Clampett, Cecil and Expo 67 in future posts.

Sea Serpent Confidential- Nessie surfaces at Loch Ness!

Latest sighting of the hump of Nessie.

The number one item trending on Google yesterday August 4, 2012 is the sea serpent sighting at Loch Ness. Imagine that? A hump in the water sets the web ablaze. We love it! Cecil the Sea Sick Sea Serpent is the obvious connection to Nessie, however the very last of the original Beany and Cecil cartoons had another two-toned sea serpent that took us through history including his peekaboo appearance at Loch Ness.

Scene from the Beany and Cecil Snorky cartoon.

That mud-pie throwing character with tiny arms was Snorky, S-N-O-R-K-Y. Snorky appeared in the cartoon No Such Thing As A Sea Serpent. Bob Clampett himself provided the voice of Snorky as well as the voice of the narrator.

Snorky ready to throw a mud pie.

This cartoon appears on the remastered Volume One Beany and Cecil DVD and includes a commentary by all three of Bob Clampettís kids Cheri, Ruth and Rob. Watch it. We promise you will have a whole new take on history.

A Frank Zappa lost collage and the Inspirational Beany Cap on History Detectives

Note the propeller caps built into the table.

The most recent episode of the History Detectives (Episode One from Season Ten) had three rock music mysteries including an investigation into the Starburst Stratocaster that Bob Dylan used at Newport when he first played electric as well as some purported Beatle autographs from their appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show at the Deauville Hotel in Miami Beach.
The final segment was about a collage signed FZ that a fellow bought at a South Carolina thrift store for a few bucks. The collector contacted the History Detectives show because he thought the art graphic might be by Frank Zappa the famous musician, composer extraordinaire and fearless leader of The Mothers of Invention. There were only a couple of early pieces of graphic art that could be attributed to Frank Zappa because of his laser like focus on music.
Both of the pieces seen here appeared on the History Detectives show. In the black and white image a young Frank Zappa stands beside his prize winning public service announcement to protect against forest fires. Prominent on the left side of that image from 1953 Zappa drew an angry kid wearing a beany cap. For those that donít already know it, Frank Zappa was a big fan of Time For Beany and told TV Guide that it was his favorite TV show. This photo was taken while Time For Beany was still on five days a week in Southern California.

Forest Fire Prevention Prize winning poster with Beany Cap on left.

Frank Zappa with his Forest Fire Prevention Photo as it appeared in the newspaper.

What struck us about this segment was not just seeing the Beany cap on his prize- winning image but several propeller caps decorating the table in the color art piece in question. Gail Zappa solved the mystery by pointing out that the color piece was an image of a Hollywood Drum shop on Vine Street near Melrose that remains open for business to this day. The store still has the bell seen in the upper left hand corner of the collage. Mystery solved and the guy that bought the collage at a thrift store in the heart of dixie got a $25,000 appraisal. It is a kick for him and a kick for us to know that someone as brilliantly creative as Frank Zappa had such an affinity for Beany and Cecil and their little local puppet show and even put the iconic image from the show (propeller cap) in his graphic art.

The Wizard of Oz, Glinda, The Good Witch of the North and…Bob Clampett.

What do The Wizard of Oz, Glinda, the good witch of the North, and Bob Clampett have in common?
Answer- They knew how to party.

This photo is from a Halloween Costume party that took place in Palm Springs in the early 1940ís. The party was hosted by Fred Clampett, uncle of Bob Clampett, (top row, third from the right) and his wife, Gertrude Clampett, (bottom row, left). Bob Clampett can be seen singing (top row, third from the left). Notable in this photo is the woman (top row, right) Billie Burke, a.k.a. Glinda, The Good Witch of the North. The Wizard of Oz himself who also played several other minor characters from the classic film can also be seen. That is Frank Morgan (bottom row, second from the left). We believe Morgan has his arm around his wife of many years, Alma Muller. The unidentified man next to Bob Clampett remains unidentified but is the spitting image of Buffalo Bill Cody. Would you agree?

It looks like it would have been a blast to attend this soiree, eh?

Who did Frank Morgan replace in the role of the Wizard of Oz because of fee haggling?
Answer- W.C. Fields.

Beany and Cecil and All American Mom, Celeste Holm

Just wanted to share this photo from 1950. It is one of two photos of Ms. Holm with the guys that we included in Beany and Cecil: The Special Edition, Volume One. Time for Beany was a pretty big hit at the time of this publicity photo that was most likely used in a magazine. Taken the same year that she appeared in All About Eve and only three years after Gentlemanís Agreement, Celeste Holm was a very well known, Academy Award winning film star.
When we were putting together the DVD we did all of the necessary leg-work to get the clearances. This meant contacting the Screen Actors Guild for representative contact information. Typically it would take some persuasion to convince an agent, manager or estate management agency to approve the use of their celebrities. When SAG gave us a New York number for Ms. Holm the last thing we thought was that it would actually be the home phone number for Celeste Holm. Even though she was now past 80 that voice was still unmistakable. Turns out she remembered Beany and Cecil and remembered doing the shoot. She told us it would be fine to include the images. She politely accepted our platitudes as a fan of her work. It was one of those happy memories from the project. RIP Celeste Holm after 95 glorious years.

Clampett Connections to World UFO Day

Cecil, Venus the Meanest, Venice the Menace, flying saucer

Bob Clampett always got lots of mileage out of those alien type characters in his films. This was particularly the case during the fifties when America started to hear about UFO Sightings. On the Time For Beany live puppet show Beany, Cecil and the gang rode The Leakin’ Lena into outer space on some of their extended adventure journeys. Bob Clampett kept a reminder of this many years later. Prominent on his office wall was a Saturday Evening Post multi page pictorial where Beany and Cecil repelled the Martian invasion.

Shining a light on the UFO craze also allowed Bob Clampett and his talented writers to really push the satire. Beany and Cecil would visit the Square Planet (where EVERYTHING was square) and passed by The moon of the moon, The Schmoon. Later in the cartoon series Beany and Cecil would meet a white blob of mass that could shape shift into a Ralph Kramden clone called The Schmoon Goon. There were numerous other characters like Little Ace from Outer Space, rebus uttering Beepin Tom, and the flying saucer that brought to earth Venus the Meanest and her son Venice the Menace. In that same cartoon who could forget those picnic wrecking Robot Ants that marched out of a tin can with military precision.

Years later in the mid nineteen seventies, Bob Clampett was scheduled to appear on To Tell The Truth. The panelists which included Kitty Carlisle, Peggy Cass, Orson Bean and Nipsy Russell had no problem dispatching with the impostors. At that same taping the producers had a problem with another episode. One of their impostors was a no show and they needed somebody to pretend to be Betty Hill who along with her husband Barney were the first alien abductees in rural New Hampshire in September of 1961. The wife of Bob Clampett, Sody, was about the same age as Betty Hill and agreed to play the part. Over the course of the taping Sody Clampett and Betty Hill became friends. Betty Hill lived on the East Coast, Sody on the West Coast, but they exchanged correspondence.

Sody Clampett ran scheduling for Bob Clampett personal appearances. This included booking his college tours. At some point a few years after they met Sody Clampett expanded her agency and began booking Betty Hill into colleges where she spoke of her alien abduction. We recall Betty flying out to appear at Southern California universities. Betty Hill was a no nonsense lady who did not really embrace the fame this incident brought to her life. It was like a ball and chain she carried around her neck. We say this in part because the abduction was a terrifying experience for both Betty and Barney, so traumatic in fact that she damn well wasn’t going to let disbelievers mock her without putting up a fight.

In subsequent years Sody Clampett took her booking agency business to conventions where she promoted both Bob Clampett and Betty Hill. She got very interesting responses from all kinds of people to the Betty and Barney Hill abduction story. Lets just say that generally speaking the characters booking Bob Clampett and Betty Hill were cut from a different cloth than the straight laced folks booking former presidents and other political heavyweights. Another person promoting himself on the college circuit was UFO expert Stanton Friedman who later co-wrote a book with Kathleen Marden titled Captured! The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience.

The Laugh That Launched a Boatload of Smiles

Theota Ann Stone, who went by the name Sody was a country girl from Buffalo Wyoming . She was not necessarily seeking greener pastures when she moved to Hollywood in 1954 but she did want a more exciting life and she certainly got that in her courtship and marriage to Bob Clampett.

One particularly good example of this happened shortly after they began dating when Bob Clampett took Sody to the Hollywood Brown Derby. During that visit Sody recalled seeing William Holden approach their table. Her heart went a flutter and she became tongue-tied when Holden stopped to chat with Clampett.

From very early on in their relationship Bob

Clampett realized that Sody had a unique and unmistakable laugh. Bob Clampett asked Sody to become an audience plant for his live variety program called, The Willy The Wolf Show. This show was a precursor to The Muppets. It mixed live action and puppets in comedy and musical bits. Sody and her infectious laugh can be heard throughout all of the episodes. You can hear Sody and her one in a million laugh in the Jump Man Jump sequence from a Willy The Wolf show on Volume One of the Beany and Cecil DVD

In 1962 Sody voiced the character above (The Leading Lady Bug) in the cartoon Davey Cricket. She even laughs although it is more of a girlish giggle. Davey and his Leading Lady Bug made quite the striking couple just like Bob and Sody Clampett.

More on Sody Clampett in upcoming posts.