Zippy and Griffy on the Hanna-Barbera diner tour

In two recent Zippy strips, Zippy and Griffy, raging over limited animation, visit a diner in Delaware and an abandoned diner in Kentucky:

(#1)

(#2)

Three things: Hanna-Barbera; The Hollywood diner in Dover DE; and the Happy Days Diner in Cave City KY.

Hanna-Barbera. From Wikipedia:

Hanna-Barbera Productions, Inc. (simply known as Hanna-Barbera…) was an American animation studio that dominated American television animation for over three decades in the mid 20th century.

It was founded in 1957 by former Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer animation directors William Hanna and Joseph Barbera (creators of Tom and Jerry) and live-action director George Sidney in partnership with Screen Gems, a TV unit of Columbia Pictures…

Hanna-Barbera is known for creating a wide variety of popular animated characters and for 30 years, the studio produced a succession of cartoon shows, including The Flintstones, Yogi Bear, The Jetsons, Wacky Races, Scooby-Doo and The Smurfs.

… To keep within these tighter budgets, Hanna-Barbera modified the concept of limited animation (also called semi-animation) practiced and popularized by the United Productions of America (UPA) studio, which also once had a partnership with Columbia Pictures. Character designs were simplified, and backgrounds and animation cycles (walks, runs, etc.) were regularly re-purposed. Characters were often broken up into a handful of levels, so that only the parts of the body that needed to be moved at a given time (i.e. a mouth, an arm, a head) would be animated. The rest of the figure would remain on a held animation cel. This allowed a typical 10-minute short to be done with only 1,200 drawings instead of the usual 26,000.

Dialogue, music, and sound effects were emphasized over action, leading Chuck Jones —a contemporary who worked for Hanna and Barbera’s rivals at Warner Bros. Cartoons when the duo was at MGM, and one who, with his short The Dover Boys practically invented many of the concepts in limited animation — to disparagingly refer to the limited television cartoons produced by Hanna-Barbera and others as “illustrated radio”.

Notes on Yogi Bear, from Wikipedia:

(#3) Ranger Smith, Yogi, Cindy, Boo Boo

Yogi was one of several Hanna-Barbera characters to have a collar. This allowed animators to keep his body static, redrawing only his head in each frame when he spoke — a method that reduced the number of drawings needed for a seven-minute cartoon from around 14,000 to around 2,000.

… The plot of most of Yogi’s cartoons centered on his antics in the fictional Jellystone Park, a variant of the real Yellowstone National Park. Yogi, accompanied by his constant companion Boo-Boo Bear, would often try to steal picnic baskets from campers in the park, much to the displeasure of Park Ranger Smith. Yogi’s girlfriend, Cindy Bear, sometimes appeared and usually disapproved of Yogi’s antics.

Here you can watch “Yogi Bear’s Big Break”, the first episode in the Yogi Bear cartoon series, from the premiere segment of The Huckleberry Hound Show on October 2, 1958.

Limited animation is the cartoon equivalent of fast food: quickly assembled, cheap, routinized — and popular. Zippy and Griffy bemoan the cheapening and coarsening of cartooning after the golden age of American animation (the Disney, Fleischer, Warner Bros., MGM, etc. studios, from 1928 through around 1967). And they are of mixed minds about the return to high levels of detail with advances in computer graphics.

The Hollywood. From the Diner Hunter site on The Hollywood diner in Dover DE:

(#4) This diner was made by the Fodero Diner company of Bloomfield, NJ, which was around from 1933 to 1981. This one was built c. 1954.

The Happy Days Diner. In #2, Zippy and Griffy continue their musings on H-B in an abandoned diner in Cave City KY (outside Mammoth Cave):

(#5) Happy Days Diner, Cave City KY

From the Decorologist blog, “Ghost Town: Cave City, Kentucky”:

Last week my family spent an afternoon in Cave City, Kentucky on the way to visit my in-laws.   If you’ve been on that stretch of interstate, you’ve likely almost run off the road after spotting this life-size dinosaur replica right at the exit:

(#6)

In its heyday, Cave City was full of family fun and quirky roadside attractions:  Dinosaur World, Guntown Mountain, haunted houses and mazes, waterslides, putt-putt golf, bumper cars, train rides, etc.  Several of those are still in operation, but most of them are not.  Bigger and flashier amusement parks like Kentucky Kingdom and Beech Bend have all but sucked the life out of this once-booming tourist area.

The piece has a sad photographic tour of the abandoned attractions of the old Cave City.

Of course, fresh attractions (and motels and diners and fast-food places) have grown up around Mammoth Cave. Including Kentucky’s only instance of the camp/resort chain Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park:

(#7) Logo reproducing the flat visual style of the H-B cartoons

(#8) The fiberglass Yogi seen in the third panel of #2

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