Western Animation / Calvin and the Colonel

One of the first prime-time cartoons, the show (aired 1961-62 on ABC) was about Col. Montgomery J. Klaxon, a fox, and his patsy, Calvin Burnside, a bear. The colonel was constantly coming up with get-rich-quick Zany Schemes, all of which tended to backfire. Rounding out the cast were the colonel's wife, Maggie Belle; her sister Susan, and Oliver Wendell Clutch, the colonel's shady lawyer.

The show was essentially an animated adaptation of Amos 'n' Andy, except with cartoon animals. Both series were created by Charles Correll and Freeman Gosdell, who also voiced the titular characters of each show; several of the original radio scripts were adapted for the cartoon series. The use of animals avoided the touchy racial issues that plagued the radio show.

This one last attempt at keeping the Amos 'n' Andy format alive†  was not successful. The show only lasted one season; even then, it was cancelled two months into its run due to low ratings and was only brought back two months later to fulfill contractual obligations.

Calvin and the Colonel provides examples of:

  • Ambulance Chaser: Judge Oliver Wendell Clutch is this, definitely. His role in the show is to provide the colonel with legal loopholes in order to pull off an unlawful scheme (which most of the time doesn't work anyway).
  • Cast Herd: There are two: one with Colonel, Maggie Belle and Sister Sue, and the other with Colonel (again), Calvin and Judge Clutch. Even though they all appear in (almost) every episode, Calvin's (on-screen) interaction with the colonel's wife and sister-in-law are minimal at best. The only time we see Judge Cluch interacting with Maggie and Sue is in the end of "Colonel's Old Flame".
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: Dell put out two issues in 1962.
  • Criminal Doppelgänger: The colonel suspected in one episode that his sister-in-law was a jewel thief known as the "Polka Dot Bandit". Then the colonel himself got arrested because the police discovered that the thief was really a man disguised as a woman and the colonel happened to be carrying the polka-dot dress (he was going to turn her in). The real thief was finally captured in the end, who turned out to be Sister Sue's ex-fiancé, who plotted to frame her for the robbery.
  • Dartboard of Hate: The Colonel has one of Sister Sue in his office.
  • Expy: Of Amos 'n' Andy, as described above.
  • Fully Dressed Cartoon Animal: Maggie Belle and her sister Sue in the main cast.
  • Furry Confusion: Apparently, in the show's universe humans exist, but in a manner that is equivalent to animals in our world. Judge Clutch is seen watching humans perform dog tricks on TV, leading him to tell the colonel, "Did you know they actually have people in there talking like animals? It's completely unbelievable!"
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: The Colonel, Calvin and several other characters.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Sister Sue is a very unpleasant woman, but she's not exactly wrong about the Colonel being a slimeball.
  • Laugh Track: An animated example.
  • Limited Animation: In the style of Jay Ward.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: Colonel's sister-in-law Susan. Justified in that the Colonel is not exactly an honest man.
  • On One Condition: One episode has the Colonel sabotaging his sister-in-law's wedding after he finds the will of her deceased first husband, which stipulates that the $300 a month she gets from his estate (of which the Colonel gets $200 as per the agreement when he married his wife) will be cut off if she remarries. After The Colonel succeeds in stopping the wedding, he finds out that the money would have gone directly to him instead if she remarried.
  • The Plan: Colonel's nephew, Newton (a con man himself), pulls this off when he visits in one episode.
  • Shady Real Estate Agent: The colonel.
  • The Teaser: As with the other prime-time cartoons released at the time, Calvin and the Colonel had cold openings during its ABC broadcasts. However, in syndication reruns they were removed.
  • Thick-Line Animation
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: The colonel gets one in the end of Wheeling and Dealing, where he goes through the usual Zany Scheme in order to replace his nephew's car (which got filled with cement) before shipping it out to him in California. Where this differs from other episodes is that the colonel's plan actually succeeded, and his wife and sister-in-law praise him for getting the job done. The colonel admits to the audience that he didn't earn the praise and affection, but because it rarely happens he decides to take it anyway.
  • Title Sequence Replacement: When the show went into syndication, they attached the earlier, more abstract opening sequence to every episode. In the original broadcast this opening was only used in the first six episodes.
  • Zany Scheme: The whole premise of this show.