A classic television cartoon series produced and directed by former Looney Tunes director Bob Clampett, Beany and Cecil covers the escapades of an adventurous boy named Beany, and his friend, a sea-sick serpent named Cecil, as they get into all sorts of trouble across the world with Beany's treasure-hunting Uncle Huffenpuff and their enemy, Dishonest John.
The show was relatively short lived (only 26 episodes on ABC, all broadcast in 1962) but has gained a healthy cult following over the years. The Clampett family has also released the entire series on two DVD collections, packed with plenty of supplementary material, including an ultra-rare short Clampett made for Republic Pictures!
Beany and Cecil also has one other quirk which almost never happens in media. The listed copyright owner of the cartoons was not some corporate entity or animation company, but Bob Clampett personally. Individuals almost never get to own the rights to their creations because they're employees and thus it's a work for hire or they often incorporate their own company and have it own their work for tax reasons.
A revival of the series was attempted in the late 1980s by Bob's family and John Kricfalusi, but promptly crumbled following creative differences between Kricfalusi and the editors. The series was quickly cancelled after only 5 episodes had aired.
Recently, the Clampett family has set up a new website for the series, as well as a Youtube Channel and Facebook page. They are also releasing an updated version of the first DVD collection.
Tropes This Series Uses:
- Animation Bump: Happens quite a bit, often at least Once an Episode, which is rare for a made-for-TV cartoon from the early 60s (most likely due to Bob Clampett running the series.)
- Art Evolution: In early shorts, Beany and Cecil resembled illustrated versions of their puppet forms, with Eyes Always Shut in effect for Beany. Their designs quickly became more streamlined and cartoony, with Beany having his eyes open more often.
- Batman Can Breathe in Space: In "Beanyland", when Beany, Cecil, Captain Huffenpuff and Dishonest John are on the moon, they have no trouble breathing and staying alive, despite not wearing space suits or anything.
- Beatnik: Go Man Van Gogh is a jungle version of this.
- Big Ball of Violence: In "DJ's Disappearing Act" a huge fight breaks out because Dishonest John had stolen a rare diamond, Uncle Captain asks Cecil, "What's that?" and Cecil responds, "The biggest fight cloud in the history of Saturday morning cartoons!"
- Big Friendly Sea Serpent: Cecil. Almost every episode has at least one moment of him licking Beany's face."Lovable, gullible, armless, harmless, ten-foot-tall and wet!"
- Biting-the-Hand Humor: The New Adventures of Beany and Cecil features a jab at DiC Entertainment in "The Brotherhood of B.L.E.C.H." by showing a DiC studio building going over a waterfall.
- Brains and Brawn: Beany and Cecil, respectively.
- Cartoon Bomb: Dishonest John comes across one of these in "Strange Objects" and attempts to defuse it. It doesn't work.Dishonest John: [Removes the lit fuse and tosses away the bomb itself] You've got to get up pretty early in the morning to put one over on ol' D.J.! [The fuse explodes, leaving John battered and singed] Shake hands with a late sleeper.
- Catchphrase: "I'm comin', Beany-boy!"
- "DJ, you dirty guy!"
- "Help, Cecil! Help!"
- Come Out, Come Out, Whatever You Are: Greenie the Meanie Genie, who was anything but mean. He was drunk.
- Clear Their Name: Upon noticing there are two Freeps in "Framed Freep", Beany is quick to correctly conclude that the Freep that's terrorizing the land is an impostor and makes it his goal to save the real Freep, a timid trio of sweethearts, from execution.
- Comedic Spanking: "Beany and Cecil meet the Invisible Man" ends with the titular Invisible Man being spanked by Edgar Allen Po Shadow for scaring away Beany, Cecil and Captain Huffenpuff before he could sell them his house.
- Content Warning: In the scene of So What, And The Seven Whatnots, when Dishonest John gets electrocuted by the stage lights, He pauses the pain to tell kids "You think there's too much violence on television?" Then continues the pain. This same gag is repeated in Beany and the Boo-Birds (a Boo-Bird glances to the audience to ask them the question after Cecil gets a Cranial Eruption from a literal hammerhead shark) and D.J. the D.J. (after Cecil and one of his dog singer sidekicks both literally crack up, leaving Cecil's mouth floating in the air to say the question.)
- Cut Short: The revival only lasted five episodes, with three more left unaired.
- Demoted to Extra: "Never Eat Quackers in Bed" only has Beany, Cecil and Captain Huffenpuff appear in a brief restaurant scene early on in the episode; otherwise it largely focuses on Willy the Wolf attempting to catch a duck.
- Deranged Animation: While not quite up there with Clampett's previous work like Porky in Wackyland and The Great Piggy Bank Robbery, this is still a really, really bizarre show at times.
- Dinner Deformation: In "Grime Doesn't Pay", Dishonest John gets a birthday cake full of tools - but the guard makes him eat it all up in front of him. Cue wrench, hammer, and saw-shaped lumps in his throat dropping into his gut with appropriate tool sound effects and a jaunty "Happy Birthday To You".
- Dirty Coward: Captain Huffenpuff. More often than not, after telling Beany and Cecil what their mission or task for the episode is, he will go hide (usually in the Leakin' Lena's cabin; in "Spots Off a Leopard" it explicitly says "HIDING ROOM" above the cabin door) and leave Beany and Cecil to carry out the task themselves, but not before he makes a pun relating to his hiding.
- Don't Try This at Home: In the New Adventures episode "The Bad Guy Flu", Dishonest John tells the audience not to try this at home when he deflates his raft.
- Evil Laugh: Dishonest John's signature evil laugh has him go "Nya-ah-ahhh!"
- Friendly Enemy: Our heroes are surprisingly chummy with that "dirty guy" Dishonest John. There's even a short where he's in the hospital after a failed caper and they show up bearing gifts, and in the New Adventures episode "The Brotherhood of B.L.E.C.H.", it's even a plot point - where the heroes are so friendly with him that he's incapable of proving to other bad guys that he's a real villain.
- Fun with Acronyms: The New Adventures episode "The Brotherhood of B.L.E.C.H." has Dishonest John being a member of a club called Bad guys, Losers, Evil-doers, Crooks and Horrible people.
- Giving Them the Strip: In "Spots Off a Leopard", Cecil tries to capture the Spotted Leopard by hammering down his claws after he punctures them through a tree, but the Spotted Leopard escapes by slipping his paw out of the glove.
- Goo Goo Getup: The New Adventures episode "Framed Freep" ends with Dishonest John being punished by having the Freep treat him like an infant, complete with wearing a diaper and a bonnet.
- Hand-or-Object Underwear: "Wild Man of Wildsville" has a scene where Go Man Van Gogh falls out of his pelt after it snags on a branch. As he falls naked, he has his hands over his genitals.
- Hurricane of Puns: THE WHOLE SHOW.Captain Huffenpuff: "We've cut through the Sandwich Islands and saw the Thousand Islands dressing. And now we've reached our destination: No Bikini Atoll!"Cecil: "NO BIKINI ATOLL!? WOOOOOW!!"
Cecil: I'd say Monroe needs a little doctorin'!
- Also, as Cecil gets clobbered looking at the cement footprints of Marilyn Monroe:
Dishonest John: Cecil's singing is giving me a haddock. I wish I was hard of herring.
- As Cecil serenades Cecilia (1988 episode; last aired of the new series):
- Interspecies Romance: Snorky from "There's No Such Thing as a Sea Serpent" is the hybrid offspring of a Tyrannosaurus Rex and a Brontosaurus.
- I Want My Mommy!: Little Ace cries that he wants his mommy twice in "Rat Race for Space".
- Jail Bake: In "Grime Doesn't Pay", convict Dishonest John gets a birthday cake full of tools - but the guard makes him eat it all up in front of him.
- Jock Dad, Nerd Son: Ben Hare and his son Harecules, respectively.
- Latex Perfection / Multi Layer Facade: Played with (of course) in "The Capture of Thunderbolt the Wondercolt," when the titular heroic horse notices Dishonest John's duck Full-Body Disguise he got out of a trunk labeled "Dishonest Disguises", Thunderbolt rushes to his own chest labeled "Honest Dishonest Disguises" and puts on a blue Mickey Mouse-esque mask to confront the "duck." To which said "duck" yanks the mouse mask off Thunderbolt to reveal a brown Bugs Bunny-esque mask, prompting the following exchange, referencing a few other incidental characters in the process...Dishonest John: You're not that Tom and Jerry-drinking mouse!Thunderbolt: (removes D.J.'s duck head to reveal a Porky Pig-esque mask) And you're not Quain Quacker!Dishonest John: (removes Thunderbolt's rabbit mask to reveal a dog mask) And you're not Harecules Hare!Thunderbolt: (removes D.J.'s pig mask to reveal a smiling Beany Boy mask) And you're not Frankenswine!Dishonest John: (removes Thunderbolt's dog mask to reveal another Beany Boy mask) You're not Rin Tin Can! (now imitating Beany's voice) Beany? You're not Beany Boy!Dishonest John and Thunderbolt: (unmasking each other in unison) IMPOSTOR!Thunderbolt: (as himself once again seeing D.J.'s true face) A HUMAN!
- Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: A Mickey Mouse-esque doll appears in one episode on Cecil's head. Also in "Beany & Cecil Meet Billy The Squid" (first produced in 1959 and screened in Canadian theatres), Uncle Captain is wearing Mickey Mouse ears.
- In "The Seventh Voyage of Singood," when Captain Huffenpuff tells the crew to watch out for Singood the Sailor Man (actually Dishonest John), Cecil's face turns into Popeye.
- In "The Wildman of Wildsville," Go Man Van Gogh paints a TV test pattern on Cecil's face and turns one of his nostrils. Cecil's eyes conjoined to form the CBS eye.
- Leitmotif: Dishonest John has one, in the form of a piano rendition of "Mysterioso Pizzicato" (a.k.a. "The Villain's Theme").
- Like Is, Like, a Comma: Go Man Van Gogh, being a Beatnik, talks this way a lot, along with the "Batniks" in "The Rat Race For Space."
- Longer-Than-Life Sentence: In "Grime Doesn't Pay", Dishonest John informs the warden that he's serving a sentence of 199 years. The warden quips that it could've been worse and that Dishonest John could've gotten life.
- Meat-O-Vision: "Beany Meets the Monstrous Monster" has the titular Monstrous Monster see the Leakin' Lena and Cecil as an ice cream sundae with a spoon.
- Medium Awareness: Frequent examples, such as the one given for Big Ball of Violence above.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Plenty of examples!
- "So What and the Seven Whatnots" has the Whatnots all based off well-known celebrities of the time, including Stacsh-do, Elfis, Harpsy McChord, Dizzy R. Neznote , Fred McFurry (reimagined as a Scotsman due to his name), Screw-Loose Latrec and Loverachi.
- "Beany and Cecil Meet the Invisible Man" has Edgar Allen Po's Shadow, who is based off Alfred Hitchcock (but talks like Elmer Fudd).
- "The Phantom of the Horse Opera" has the titular phantom's voice and mannerisms based off comedian Jerry Colonna. Then at the end when he's smashed into a pile of rocks and shaped into a sphinx, his face takes on Colonna's likeness, completing the resemblance.
- No Fourth Wall: Most of the characters take their time to address the audience.
- Painted Tunnel, Real Train: Go Man Van Gogh can paint things in mid-air that become real, such as a vine to swing on.
- Rebus Bubble: The little alien Beepin' Tom (featured in Ain't I A Little Stinger?), whose dialogue consists of rebuses, as shown in standard comic book dialogue balloons ("O", buoy, arrow pointing towards a Joker card and a "s" and some nuts, which reads as "Oh boy, this joker's nuts," referring to Dishonest John).
- Recycled Soundtrack: Some of the shorts recycle music from Leave It to Beaver and the Walter Lantz cartoons.
- Road-Sign Reversal: The New Adventures episode "The Brotherhood of B.L.E.C.H." has Dishonest John attempt to ruin things for Cecil and company by switching signs that read "Deadman's Falls" and "Calm Seas".
- The Scrooge: Captain Huffenpuff is implied to be this in "So What and the Seven Whatnots", given that the years salary he gives to Cecil consists of a measly nickel.
- Sea Serpents: Cecil is a benevolent example of this trope.
- Self-Deprecation: In the New Adventures episode "Framed Freep", Dishonest John asks if "Help, Beany, help" is all Princess Princess is ever going to say in the episode. Princess Princess answers that it is and provides Dishonest John with a copy of the script to prove it. After seeing for himself, Dishonest John remarks "What kind of jerk wrote this?"
- Shout-Out: AC/DC's title "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" is a reference to a phrase used by Dishonest John.
- Harecules the Hare wears a long red sweater with his initial on it. He also wears horn-rimmed Nerd Glasses similar to Simon's.
- After Cecil's face (with a Mickey Mouse doll on it) gets mauled by a cat, he says, "I tawt I taw a putty tat!". Since Clampett also created Tweety, this doubles as a Creator In-Joke.
- Cecil gets wrapped up in a strait-jacket meant for the Wildman of Wildsville, and the sleeves are raised up making him look like a rabbit. He quips "Eh...What's up, pops?". The Wildman paints a giant carrot for him and says "Don't 'Bugs' me, man...don't 'Bugs' me!"
- "Super Cecil" and "So What and the Seven Whatnots" both contain a reference to the classic Anacin pain reliever commercials (by cutting away to inside Cecil's head, where a hammer is striking and an electrical spark is arcing, etc.) Speaking of which, you get one guess what Super Cecil is a reference to.
- "Beanyland" is a tongue-in-cheek spoof of Disneyland and includes attractions such as "Slipping Beauty Castle" and "Day After Tomorrow Land".
- "So What and the Seven Whatnots" is a reference to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, with Dishonest John playing the part of the witch who gives So White the poisoned apple.
- The three little pigs in "Sleeping Beauty and the Beast" resemble the Disney versions.
- Signature Laugh: Dishonest John's "Nya-ha-HAH!".
- Totem Pole Trench: In "Beany and the Boo Birds", the titular Boo Birds disguise themselves as Cecil's conscious by standing on top of each other and hiding in a hand puppet resembling Cecil with wings and a halo.
- World of Pun: Wordplay is absolutely everywhere in this show.
- Your Size May Vary: How big Cecil is in relation to Beany varies quite a bit, sometimes within the same cartoon.