1 9 4 9 – 1 9 5 4 (USA)
15 minute episodes
This early presentation of the Bob Clampett created characters of Beany (a freckle-faced young boy), Cecil (the seasick sea serpent), Horatio K. Huffenpuff – also called Uncle Captain – and the dastardly Dishonest John, premiered in February 1949.
Huffenpuff owned a ship called the Leakin’ Lena, the crew of which included a happy Chinese cook called Hopalong Wong, Mr Crow (the lookout in the crow’s nest), Klowny the clown, and Honey Bear (the cuddly mascot).
The characters were rubber-sculpted hand puppets with immobile expressions – Beany always had a large smile; the captain was always jolly; Dishonest John looked dastardly. Cecil was a hand puppet made from an old sock (only his head and neck were ever seen).
Other characters included Moon Mad Tiger, Jack Webfoot (a takeoff on Dragnet), Dizzy Lou and Hey You, The Double Feature Creature with the Supersonic Sound, Marilyn Mongrel (a parody of Marilyn Monroe), Louie the Lone Shark, and The Wildman and Go Man Gogh (both voiced by Scatman Crothers).
With the addition of clever dialogue, imaginative painted backgrounds and music and sound effects, a primitive but effective series was broadcast five evenings a week and sustained for five years, winning three Emmys along the way.
The series also launched the TV career of Daws Butler, who provided the voices of Beany and Horatio K. Huffenpuff and Stan Freberg, who operated and voiced Cecil (pictured).
The characters reappeared in the long-running animated series Beany and Cecil (1962 – 1968).
Bob Clampett died of a heart attack in Detroit in May 1984. He was 70.
Beany/Horatio K. Huffenpuff (Uncle Captain)