Western Animation: Where's Huddles?

Top: Penny McCoy, Bubba McCoy, Freight Train. Middle: Pom-Pom Huddles, Ed Huddles, Marge Huddles. Bottom: Fumbles, Claude Pertwee, Beverly.

Where’s Huddles? was a Hanna-Barbera animated television program which premiered on CBS on July 1, 1970 and ran for ten episodes as a prime-time summer replacement show for The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour until September 2, 1970. Repeats were shown on the network’s Sunday afternoon schedule in the summer of 1971. It was the first primetime animated series to debut since The Flintstones went off the air in 1966, though it wouldn't be until The Simpsons premiered in 1989 that primetime animated shows would be popular again.

The show centered on professional football quarterback named Ed Huddles (voiced by Cliff Norton) and his neighbor, the team’s center Bubba McCoy (voiced by Mel Blanc, using his Barney Rubble voice), who play for The Rhinos and go through the trials and tribulations of being sports stars and family men.

Other characters included Ed’s wife, Marge (voiced by Jean Vander Pyl, the same voice actress who played Wilma Flintstone), their rather jovial, if acerbic and most likely Camp Gay, neighbor Claude Pertwee (voiced by Paul Lynde) who tended to refer to Ed and Bubba as "savages," loved to see them screw up, and had a pet cat named Beverly; their token black teammate Freight Train (voiced by Herb Jeffries), and Ed's daughter Pom-Pom. Bubba’s wife, Penny McCoy, was played by comedic actress Marie Wilson in her final role before her death from cancer in 1972.

The show was similar to Hanna-Barbera's more successful series The Flintstonesnote , using several of the same essential plots and voice actors (Alan Reed, Mel Blanc, and Jean Van Der Pyl being the main three). Like The Flintstones, and unlike many other animated series at the time, Where’s Huddles? had a laugh track, incorporated more adult themes and references than The Flintstones did while simultaneously keeping it family-friendlynote , had the voice actors actually act and not have to put on cartoonish voices for laughs, and was a bit more abstract with its art, opting for more realistic colors and implied backgrounds. The show is also notable for the character, Freight Train, being the first regularly-seen African-American animated character on primetime.

The show isn't remembered much today, unless you either watched it when it premiered or back when Cartoon Network aired obscure Hanna-Barbera series (along with the more well-known stuff, like The Flintstones and Scooby Doo), often as part of their "Boomerang" weekend block, where, between 5:00am and 7:00am, Cartoon Network would provide a sampling of what their spinoff classic cartoon channel was airing. Currently, it doesn't have a DVD release, though the Warner Archive DVD program (which releases a lot of Hanna-Barbera shows, a lot of which are just as unknown and semi-known as this series) is considering putting it out on a manufacture-on-demand basis.

Tropes:

  • Accessory-Wearing Cartoon Animal: Ed's dog, Fumbles, wears a miniature football helmet and sneakers.
  • Camp Gay: Claude Pertwee. He was voiced by Paul Lynde.
  • Comic Book Adaptation: Gold Key Comics published two issues; also appeared in issue #9 of Hanna-Barbera Fun-In (October, 1971).
  • Hair Decorations: Marge wears a hair band, and Pom-Pom has a ribbon tied into a bow on her hair.
  • Recycled IN SPACE!: It's The Flintstones, with many of the same voice actors, only set in the present and with the Fred and Barney expies as football players.
  • Suddenly Voiced: Fumbles would be reused by H-B in 1974 for the halftime interstitials of NBC's NFL telecasts. Now voiced (Allan Melvin), Fumbles would explain the basics of football to young viewers.
  • Token Minority: Ed's black teammate, Freight Train, was voiced by Herb Jeffries.