1 9 6 0 – 1 9 6 3 (USA)
From the creators of Underdog came the story of King Leonardo, a lion who ruled the fictional African kingdom of Bongo Congo.
Like most animated leaders, Leonardo was well-meaning but inept and relied on the services of his aide, a calm, wise skunk named Odie Cologne (pronounced “colognie”).
Odie (who sounded like Ronald Coleman) defended the throne against Biggy Rat, a gangster rodent, who wanted to install Leonardo’s brother, Itchy Brother, as King.
Biggy would often employ the help of Professor Messer, an evil German inventor with a constantly changing accent, and Mr Mad – a mad scientist who needed more additions to his “people collection.”
Foremost among the titled “short subjects” was Tooter Turtle, a simple reptile who dreamed of fantastic adventures. His friend, Mr Wizard the Lizard, happily granted Tooter’s numerous wishes, sending him off to faraway places, but when Tooter inevitably found himself in over his head, he would cry out for help from his magical co-star.
With the magic words, “Drizzle Drazzle Druzzle Drome, time for this one to come home,” Tooter would be transported back where he belonged, but he would soon return to the wizard asking for another trip.
Another of the show’s “short subjects” was The Hunter, a Southern-accented private eye dog who spent every episode chasing his nemesis, The Fox. The Hunter was a persistent bloodhound, and he always let people know he was “on the case” by trumpeting his horn.
One original segment of the show that was never seen in syndication was Twinkles the Elephant. Twinkles was a direct tie-in to General Mills cereal, who sponsored the show. Like Linus the Lionhearted, the FCC decided that Twinkles was too commercial to be part of a cartoon show.
While King Leonardo never achieved the success of Underdog or Tennesee Tuxedo, the studio that created them paid homage to the feline monarch by naming their company “Leonardo Productions.”
After King Leonardo and his Short Subjects ended, one season of new segments of The King and Odie and The Hunter continued to be produced and aired on Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales, which premiered in 1963.
The following year, Total TV launched its most popular series, Underdog. When Underdog premiered in 1964, it featured repeats of The Hunter, while The Hunter‘s former spot on the Tennessee Tuxedo program was filled by repeats of Tooter Turtle.
Mr Wizard the Lizard