Follow TV Tropes


Western Animation / CB Bears

Go To
The 1970s have a lot to answer for. (Left to right: Hustle, Bump, Boogie.)
The popularity of citizens band radio in the 1970s inspired this hourlong Animated Anthology from Hanna-Barbera, which ran on NBC in 1977/78.

The series' headliners were crime-solving bears named Hustle, Bump and Boogie (voiced by Daws Butler, Henry Corden and Chuck McCann, respectively). They traveled in a garbage truck and received orders via citizen band radio from their female boss, "Charlie" (voiced seductively by Susan Davis).

Supporting segments in the CB Bears show were:

  • Blast-Off Buzzard, a cartoon similar to Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner, and the only H-B cartoon whose soundtrack had no human voices at all;
  • Heyyy, It's the King!, an all-animal parody of Happy Days;
  • Posse Impossible, a Spin-Off of the series finale of Hong Kong Phooey featuring a sheriff and his three quirky deputies;
  • Shake, Rattle and Roll, in which a trio of ghosts inhabited an abandoned hotel, and
  • Undercover Elephant, about a secret-agent pachyderm and his mouse partner.

At mid-season, the show was absorbed into a two-hour block on NBC titled Go Go Globetrotters which included repeats of 1970's The Harlem Globetrotters, 1967's The Herculoids, and 1969's Motormouse & Autocat. Blast-Off Buzzard and Crazylegs would later appear in two episodes of Tom & Jerry Kids now with the ability to talk.

CB Bears provides examples of:

  • All Psychology Is Freudian: In Marvel's Hanna-Barbera TV Stars series, a story has Undercover Elephant after a criminal called Pretty Boy Freud, a bodybuilder that doubles as a psychiatrist to lull his victims out of their synch. He fools Undercover Elephant into thinking he needs psychiatric help so he can make a getaway.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: The desert-dwelling chase-prone Blast-Off Buzzard and Crazy Legs are very clearly this for Warner Brothers' desert-dwelling chase-prone Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: Clyde is an orange gorilla. Boogie has blue fur.
  • Animated Anthology: Six cartoons in one package.
  • Aroused by Their Voice: Boogie is clearly captivated by Charlie's seductive voice, mentioning his love for it in almost every episode.
  • Beary Funny: The CB Bears are friendly and hilarious.
  • The Casanova: The King loves the ladies, and they love him back. The one who's most clearly interested in him is a lioness named Sheena.
  • Character Catchphrase:
    • As with most (if not all) of the characters Joe E. Ross played, Roll often says "Ooh! Ooh!".
    • Big Duke often says "Move 'em out!"
  • Clark Kenting: Undercover Elephant wore disguises that primarily relied on a single prop (a chef's hat, a pink tutu, etc.) and a thin ribbon-mask. They nonetheless worked, at least until his sidekick Loudmouse "blew his cover"... despite being, well, an elephant.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: The bears, Undercover Elephant and Shake, Rattle and Roll appeared in issues of Marvel's Hanna-Barbera's TV Stars. The C.B. Bears appeared in two stories.
  • Company Cross References: In the comic book exclusive Shake, Rattle and Roll story "Silent Knight", at one point Shake says "As a certain lion would say, 'Exit stage right!'"
  • Covers Always Lie: Marvel's Hanna-Barbera TV Stars comic book series featured The King on the cover of three issues. King and his gang never appear in any issue.
  • Dark Horse Victory: In one episode of Heyyy, It's the King!, The King runs for class president against a rival named Sterling Silver, who is not above cheating and sabotage. At the very end, the winner is revealed to be... Sheena, whose help The King casually dismissed in the beginning by telling her that politics was a man's field. She ends up rallying the other female students and wins through a write-in vote.
  • Disguised in Drag: Happens a few times.
    • Hustle very briefly does so to try and hide from the episode's villain in "The Fright Farm".
    • The King's gang dresses as hula girls in "The Great Billionaire Chase Case". Despite their flimsy disguises, they manage to fool a pair of security guards.
    • An outlaw named Punch is forced by his boss to dress in drag as part of a stagecoach robbery in Posse Impossible's "The Crunch Bunch Crashout". He protests, claiming it'll turn him into a laughingstock. Sure enough, the episode ends with the townsfolk, the posse, and even the boss who forced him into drag all laughing at him. Some friends he's got...
  • Does Not Like Spam: In a comic book story, Bump Bear hates cole slaw. This is taken from story writer Mark Evanier's hatred of cole slaw.
  • Fat Comic Relief: Big H, the bulky hippo from Heyyy, It's the King!. Numerous jokes are made about his Big Eater tendencies and his massive weight. One episode was even dedicated to his friends trying to help him slim down!
  • Freudian Couch: Undercover Elephant is after a bodybuilder/psychiatrist villain named Pretty Boy Freud in an issue of Marvel's Hanna-Barbera's TV Stars. He tricks Undercover into thinking he needs psychiatric help, using a park bench as a makeshift couch.
    Undercover: And mom used to spank me with a tennis racquet...the kids all used to call me "ol' Waffle Britches"!
  • Guinness Episode: The final Heyyy, It's the King! segment concerns The King trying to set a world record; his attempts include flagpole sitting, basketball dribbling, and trying to catch the world's largest shark. While he fails at all of them, he accidentally sets a Consolation World Record for barefoot waterskiing while escaping from the shark.
  • Greaser Delinquents: The titular King of Heyyy, It's the King!, as befitting an Arthur Fonzarelli expy. He has the accent, slang, and fashion down, although he's more interested in schemes that get him money or fame as opposed to actual criminal mischief. Also, despite his 1950s aesthetic, he still very clearly lives in the then-present day 1970s.
  • Hair-Trigger Avalanche: This happens in one of the Heyyy, It's the King! shorts. The avalanche is caused by the sound of Big H eating potato chips.
  • Haunted House: Shake, Rattle and Roll are three ghosts who run a hotel for spooks, ghouls and monsters. Sidney Merciless is the hapless ghostbuster.
  • Hell Hotel: Shake, Rattle and Roll run a hotel for ghouls.
  • Hollywood CB: Stars three ursine detectives who operated from a garbage truck and received assignments from "Charlie" via C.B. radio.
  • The Hyena: Heyyy, It's The King! has Yuka Yuka, who is both literally and figuratively one. He's always making puns and jokes, laughing right after he tells them. He even managed to crack one after learning his cousin was being held hostage by a traveling carnival!
    Sheena: If you're unhappy, why don't you leave?
    Elmo: I can't! When I'm not in my cage, I'm on a leash.
    Yuka Yuka: Then what you're looking for, Cousin Elmo, is a new leash on life! Get it? HA HA!
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: The King is self-absorbed, sarcastic, and can be very abrasive toward his friends. That said, he does genuinely care about them, and often tries to help others.
  • Malt Shop: The King and his friends often hang out at one. One of their friends, an ostrich named Zelda, is one of the waitresses there.
  • May the Farce Be with You: The CB Bears episode "Disappearing Satellites" takes a number of stylistic cues from the first Star Wars film. It has a villain loosely inspired by Darth Vader, who flies a spaceship that resembles the Millennium Falcon. His henchman is a beeping robot named X-9 heavily based off R2-D2, although he does speak actual English between his beeps. The episode debuted on December 3, 1977, barely six months after the first Star Wars premiered, making CB Bears one of the first cartoons to do this.
  • Names To Float Away From Really Fast: In Shake, Rattle & Roll, Sidney Merciless lives up to his last name, constantly causing trouble for the Haunted Inn. Many of the hotel's residents freak out at the mere mention of his name!
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: The CB Bears' garbage truck seemed to have a gadget for every single situation. Whether the Bears needed a giant fishing rod, a parachute, a giant drill, or a saltwater taffy making machine, the truck always happened to have that built in.
  • Nobody Touches the Hair: The King does not like having his mane messed with.
  • Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: While many of the villains the CB Bears faced were genuinely malicious, there were quite a few who weren't. They either didn't realize their inventions were causing harm, or did their plans with the belief they were genuinely doing something good.
  • Private Detective: Undercover Elephant was a segment. A detective pachyderm who was usually hindered by his own fallibility or his rodent sidekick Loudmouse.
  • Prone to Tears: Posse Impossible has Blubber, who cries in just about every situation. It doesn't stop him from performing his heroics, though.
  • Reckless Sidekick: Loudmouse is this to Undercover Elephant, usually blowing the hero's disguises or covers in front of the villain.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: Its theme song was also used for the end credits of Skatebirds, another Hanna-Barbera show that debuted on another network on the exact same day. It was later reused for the end credits of Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels in 1979.
  • Roadrunner Vs Coyote: Blast-Off Buzzard had the title bird in pursuit of Crazy Legs Snake. And unlike H-B shows in general, this segment was completely dialogue-less.
  • Scooby-Dooby Doors: The CB Bears go through them trying to escape the villain in "The Fright Farm".
    • Played with in the Shake, Rattle & Roll segment "Spooking The Spooks". The titular ghosts are trying to escape Sidney's ghost chasing robot, leading to one of these chases...where the ghosts float through all the closed doors, and the robot following them breaks through them.
  • "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: Used at least once. In the Heyyy, It's The King! segment "Snowbound Safari", the "Bigfoot" that harasses the main characters turns out to be a bank robber who wanted to scare people away from his hideout.
  • Shout-Out: The C.B. Bears are a crimefighting trio who receive orders from a boss named Charlie, who is only heard and never physically seen. Sound familiar?
  • Silence Is Golden: Blast-Off Buzzard uses no dialogue and allows the visuals to speak for themselves.
  • Stock Animal Diet: In his segments, Undercover Elephant's love of peanuts caused him to blow his cover.
  • Theme Naming: The bears are named for dance styles; the ghosts of Shake, Rattle & Roll are named for a rock song from the 1950s.
  • The Voice: Charlie is only heard.
  • The Voiceless: Blast-Off Buzzard and Crazy Legs Snake were both mute.
  • This Page Will Self-Destruct: While playing tennis, Undercover Elephant gets a message written on a tennis ball on how to find the required Mission Briefing tape recorder. Written on the back is a message that the ball will self-destruct in four seconds, so he throws it away—naturally another tennis player tries to hit the ball and gets shocked by his 'explosive' serve. Then after playing the tape recorder, the message says this tape will not explode in four'll explode in one second!
  • You Meddling Kids: Done in the CB Bears segment "Disappearing Satellites". After the episode's villain was caught and his plan explained, he exclaimed "And I would have done it, if you meddlers hadn't interfered!"