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 a remake of Amos & Andy
, which by then was taken off television due to racist stereotypes. The creators decided to take the same show and use cartoon animals in its place. It didn't work. The show only lasted one season.
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.
- Creator Killer: The show's failure ended up bankrupting TV Spots, the animation studio.
- 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. The thief 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 & 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.
- Hey, It's That Voice!: Judge Clutch was voiced by Paul Frees, whom you may recognize in other cartoons.
- A lot of incidental female characters were voiced by June Foray, another prominent voice actress, without screen credit.
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: Mostly in black-and-white, although some color copies recently resurfaced into some collectors' hands.
- 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.
- The Plan: Colonel's nephew, Newton (a con man himself), pulls this off when he visits in one episode.
- Recycled Script: Many episodes were taken line-for line from the radio version of Amos&Andy
- 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 broadcast. 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...It Makes Sense in Context) 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.