1 9 6 3 – 1 9 6 6 (USA)
Tennessee Tuxedo (a penguin) lived in the Megopolis Zoo, but yearned for more than eating fish and swimming in freezing water. He never stopped thinking of new and different ways to make himself successful. Whether it was starting a newspaper or winning a jumping contest, Tennessee tried his hardest, proclaiming, “Tennessee Tuxedo will not fail!”
At Tennessee’s side was loyal walrus Chumley, who, like most sidekicks, often pointed out the danger of Tennessee’s schemes.
Whenever they would get in over their heads (which was often), the pair would seek out the advice of (the ambiguously employed) Mr Whoopee who would impart logical, easy to understand advice with the help of a three-dimensional blackboard. The animated drawings on the 3DBB explained visually how things worked.
Much to the irritation of zookeeper Stanley Livingston, Tennessee’s schemes rarely panned out, sending him back to his pen to be comforted by Chumley and his other pals Baldy (an eagle) and Yak (guess!).
Tennesee’s distinct voice was provided by Don Adams, who would later become famous as agent Maxwell Smart on the spy spoof Get Smart. Adams’ voice was particularly effective when Tennessee went into reruns, because it added another side to his character, changing him from a precocious penguin to a sort of sly waterfowl on a clandestine mission.
Accompanying the cartoons were supporting shorts both old and new. Originally, Tennessee Tuxedo got its support from The King & Odie, The Hunter and Tooter Turtle – all former segments of King Leonardo and His Short Subjects.
New episodes of The King & Odie and The Hunter were included, but the kids still wanted something fresh.
They got their wish a bit later in the show’s run when the all-new The World of Commander McBragg premiered. These segments starred the title officer, a self-proclaimed adventurer and world traveller.
Each of McBragg’s stories depicted his using extraordinary means to extract himself from inescapable situations – so extraordinary, in fact, that even his animated listeners found him hard to believe.
When his veracity was questioned, McBragg was unfazed. He would simply clear his throat and mutter, “Quite.”
Unlike the typical cartoon, part of this show’s appeal was its subtle educational content.
Mr Whoopee’s demonstrations were both interesting and accurate, letting kids learn important information without being talked down to or bored to death.
More importantly, Whoopee’s exhibitions usually concerned the sciences of rocketry or electronics, making it useful information even by today’s standards.
Mr Phineas J. Whoopee