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Heckle and Jeckle were two inseparable black magpies, identical in appearance but distinguishably different in personality.
Though both were remarkably witty, Heckle spoke with a New York accent, while Jeckle’s tone was much more refined.
Together, they sought to con free meals and shelter out of the upper class, who in all honesty, presented little difficulty for the clever and mischievous birds.
The first TV appearance of Heckle and Jeckle was on CBS Cartoon Theatre, the very first prime time network animated cartoon series (appearing in 1956, years before The Flintstones).
Dick Van Dyke was the host of the show, and he introduced the Heckle and Jeckle segments, along with those of Gandy Goose and his scrappy feline friend Sourpuss, by pretending to converse with the animated birds.
Other characters included Dinky Duck, and Little Roquefort the mouse and his enemy Percy the Cat. All the cartoons had been screened first in cinemas before running on television, some going back to the 1930s.
In 1979, the magpies appeared in their second show, The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse and Heckle and Jeckle.
Once again, the two birds were on the lookout for a free ride, using their immense vocabularies and sharpened street smarts to get the best of people.
The high point of any Heckle and Jeckle cartoon was the witty banter between the feathered friends.
Instead of resorting to violence, the birds bested their foes by outwitting them, and while doing so, indulged in wry commentary that made their adversaries appear even more foolish.
Heckle & Jeckle
Syd Raymond (1946)
Ned Sparks (1947-51)
Roy Halee (1951-61)
Dayton Allen (1966)
Frank Welker (1979-82)