The Ruff and Reddy Show
The Ruff And Reddy Show was the very first network Saturday morning cartoon show made specifically for TV and the very first production of the Hanna-Barbera studio. It aired on NBC.
Bill Hanna and Joseph Barbera opened their studio in 1957, the same year that the studio they made Tom and Jerry cartoons for, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, closed down. Taking a nod from 1949's Crusader Rabbit, they'd create a serialized cartoon starring two mismatched animal characters, a kitten (Ruff) and a dog (Reddy). Columbia chief Harry Cohn summarily dismissed the initial pencil tests but he was overruled by John Mitchell, chief financer for Columbia. Their television unit, Screen Gems, financed H-B's early efforts, and they sold Ruff and Reddy to NBC. However, they could get only $2700 per half-hour of cartoon budgeted (it had been $3000 as per a proposal Hanna had submitted to Columbia, who was skittish about TV animation as being viable), meaning that all the details used to make Tom & Jerry were scaled down to the bare minimum. Where a typical Tom & Jerry cartoon used 25,000 to 30,000 drawings, a five-minute episode of Ruff & Reddy only used around 3,000 to 3,500 drawings. To offset these artistic liabilities, the studio created appealing heroes and captivating storylines. Everyone at H-B and Columbia was afraid the show would bomb from the start, but fortunately viewer and critical response was very positive.
The Ruff and Reddy cartoons would appear as features on a show with live action host segments. Jimmy Blaine was host of the first run, in which the Ruff and Reddy episodes were mixed with Columbia's theatrical cartoon releases from the 1940s. The show was canceled in 1960 but returned in 1962 for a two-year run of repeats. It had new host segments this time, Captain Bob Cottle and cut-out characters Jasper and Gramps. The show was initially sponsored by Post Cereals (a division of General Foods).
The Ruff and Reddy cartoons themselves pitted the two heroes in episodes squaring off against the likes of Scarey Harry Safari, Captain Greedy and his giggling stooge Salt Water Daffy and the Terrible Twins from Texas, Killer and Diller. Assisting Ruff and Reddy on their exploits many times was kindly scientist Professor Gismo. Thirteen episodes comprised a story arc, and four story arcs made up a season of shows. Charles Shows wrote the scripts, Dan Gordon provided storyboards, and Bob Hultgren was director for the live action segments.
|Salt Water Daffy||1||2||3|
|Scarey Harry Safari||1||2||3|
|Captain Bob Cottle||Host||4||5|
|Season One||December 14, 1957||April 12, 1958||52|
|Season Two||December 13, 1958||April 11, 1959||51|
|Season Three||December 12, 1959||April 9, 1960||52|
- At a Glance: Additional information about the series
A release of the complete series on DVD/Blu-ray has yet to be announced. It was considered at one point, but Warner Home Video declined it as the Yogi Bear and Huckleberry Hound DVD sets sold so poorly. Selected episodes of Ruff and Reddy were released on VHS on the Animal Follies volume of the Hanna-Barbera Personal Favorites home video collection.