1 9 6 5 – 1 9 6 7 (USA)
26 x 60 minute episodes
Hanna-Barbera used a shared Saturday morning time slot on NBC to take turns with two cartoon shows: Atom Ant (a superhero ant originally voiced by Howard Morris, then by Don Messick in later episodes) and Secret Squirrel (a super detective squirrel voiced by Mel Blanc) who was assisted in his adventures by his fez-wearing sidekick Morocco Mole (voiced by Paul Frees impersonating Peter Lorre).
Other segments on the show included:
The Hillbilly Bears – a family of four anthropomorphic bears: Paw (Henry Corden) and Maw Rugg (Jean Vander Pyl), their teenage daughter Floral Rugg (Janet Waldo), and their young son Shag Rugg (Don Messick). The Ruggs were perpetually feuding with their neighbours, the Hoppers. The Hillbilly Bears aired for a while as part of The Atom Ant Show.
Winsome Witch, which featured the friendly but inept Winsome W. (“Winnie”) Witch whose catchphrase when casting a spell was “Ippity, Pippity, Pow!”
Squiddly Diddly – a friendly, sailor hat-wearing, anthropomorphic squid/octopus (voiced by Paul Frees) who lived and performed in ‘Bubbleland’, a marine-life park modelled on Marineland of the Pacific, but often ventured outside its walls, to the frequent dismay of Chief Winchley (John Stephenson).
Precious Pupp, a large, mangy (but clever) Afghan dog who lived with his owner, Granny Sweet (Janet Waldo) – a kindly woman with a passion for motorcycles. He terrorised the neighbourhood and chuckled in a wheezing laugh almost exactly like Muttley, a character introduced three years later. Both characters were voiced by Don Messick.
After just over one season together, the two title heroes parted ways to star in their own self-titled shows, during which time Precious Pupp and The Hillbilly Bears aired as segments on The Atom Ant Show, while Squiddly Diddly and Winsome Witch aired as segments on The Secret Squirrel Show.
But less than a year later, ant and squirrel realised they worked better as a team, and The Atom Ant/Secret Squirrel Show was reborn for a final season.
The Hillbilly Bears cartoon segments were later repeated during the second season of The Banana Splits Adventure Hour, and all 26 Atom Ant (containing Atom Ant, Precious Pupp and The Hillbilly Bears) and 26 Secret Squirrel (containing Secret Squirrel, Squiddly Diddly and Winsome Witch) half-hour shows were syndicated as part of The Banana Splits and Friends Show.
Howard Morris (1)
Don Messick (2)
Chief Double Q
Jean Vander Pyl
Jean Vander Pyl