Sunday, August 1, 2010

Apache on the County Seat (1973)

Filing under "something I'd never thought would show up", Hulu recently added Hoot Kloot to their ever-increasing lineup.

Hoot Kloot was a theatrical series produced by DePatie-Freleng and distributed by United Artists for a year from 1973 to '74. The titular character is a sheriff of a small town, his only assistant being an elderly, talking horse named Fester (both voiced by Bob Holt). Occasionally they would encounter Crazy Wolf (Larry D. Mann) as their recurring "bad guy".

The series is considered to be the weakest of the DFE lineup and was often shunned when TNT and Cartoon Network reran them for years on their Pink Panther show. However, there were a few that's worth watching. One of them is Apache on the County Seat (1973), directed by Hawley Pratt.

While Apache was released as the second in the series, it was actually the first one made, as a pilot. It was originally pitched for TV on NBC as a back-segment on the Pink Panther half-hour show that was on air at the time. However, NBC took a pass due to one scene in the short which showed Kloot encountering a tribe of Jewish Indians celebrating Bar Mitzvah.

Its a shame that the rest of the series doesn't have this energy. The layouts by Dick Ung are great and the splotchy background painting by Dick Thomas gives a nice atmosphere to the setting. The animation by Bob Richardson, Manny Gould, Warren Batchelder, and Don Williams aren't bad either. However, considering that most studios stopped doing short subjects by the seventies, as well as the fact that DFE started focusing more on creating content for Saturday Morning TV, maybe it was to be expected regarding the lack of energy.

Watch the short below (sorry, only available to anyone in the US):


cartoonjoe said...

Dear God, THAT was excrutiating!!

Will Finn said...

This character was a direct knock off on a popular character actor named Joe Higgins who had a brief ubiquitous presence in TV ads (although I forget what the original ad was--something car related, I think). He played a redneck sheriff whose catchphrase was always: "You' in a heap o' trouble boy!" By the time these shorts came out his 15 minutes of fame were more or less up, though people still remembered the catchphrase, which I don't think they were allowed to use.

A lot of people think Jackie Gleason's SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT character came first, but Higgins was prevalently stumping featured in ads as early as 1969, years before the movie.

Brubaker said...

Thanks, Will. I knew he was based on a certain actor, but I couldn't remember his name.

He often appeared in advertisements to Dodge automobiles.