Friday, February 13, 2009

Aniforms: The Great Foodini and Pinhead



The Great Foodini and Pinhead were puppet characters that evolved from The Lucky Pup Show, created by puppeteers Morey and Hope Bunin. (At some point they incorporated as Aniforms, Inc.) Akin to the likes of The Howdy Doody Show and Kukla, Fran and Ollie, the original show aired on CBS and ABC in the early days of television. The show was produced in New York City and ran in a handful of major cities across the United States. The Bunins and Foodini have an interesting history, right on through at least the 1960s, including a collaboration with David Seville, of Chipmunks fame.

(After prowling the internet, the best single site I could find on this subject is HERE, and my information above is very intensively cribbed and extremely concentrated from it. There's much more, including a clip of the show's opening, music, and comics.)




I'm not precisely sure what was happening with Foodini in 1961, but apparently they needed a "traditional" animated cartoon: enter Irv Spector. Personally I find it interesting, although not necessarily surprising, that my dad drew this with one foot planted in the Paramount/Famous style and the other crossing the line into UPA territory. At the time this was made, my father was bouncing between the coasts, freelancing for the former and developing ideas for the latter. This was aside from the commercial and other work he was doing, and at least one freelance job that I know of for Hubley. So, to my amatuer eyes, while Foodini has a decent dose of Paramount, Pinhead's construction is reminiscent of that UPA style -- eyes on one side of the head, form/shape, etc. Anyone out there who remembers this show, please drop a comment. The six board pieces in this post are all I have...





...as well as his billing invoice itemizing story adaptation, storyboard and direction...

...and a page from his personal freelance ledger.

6 comments:

Mark Newgarden said...

Fascinating; as always. Did your dad retain a print of whatever this is?

p spector said...

Thanks, Mark. I wish. Usually he'd never even get his boards returned -- from any studio or production house -- let alone a print. My feeling is that the panels I posted are not even from the final that he turned in. The website I cited stated there are kinescopes of the show, although I'm not sure if they're as late as 1961. I haven't checked Youtube, et al. - Paul

Mark Newgarden said...

Since your dad directed this (whatever it was) I thought there was a ghost of a chance that he may have gotten a print to use for his director's reel. My wild guess is it was a short pilot to reintroduce the puppet characters as cartoons ala BEANY AND CECIL and probably never aired.

p spector said...

Your wild guess is as good as mine. My take is that is was used somewhere along the line -- the Bunins dropped too much money on it. It might have aired, if only in passing. I'm no Foodini expert, but 1961 seems to me like a minor lull in the Bunin's career arc. They were hot in the 50's, and then about 1965 they had some cool patented effort combining video with live action, over the airwaves.

Good take on your part re Beany and Cecil. I have a letter to my dad from Clampett from that era, in reply to my dad hitting him up for some work. And, coincidentally (without me pulling the letter out) I think Bob was working on merchandising his puppet stuff and looking into a live action process. Don't quote me -- I'd have to double check on that.

Re a director's reel, he didn't really have one, per se. Another story for another time re him and that era.

Richard Sutor said...

I am someone who saw the "Lucky Pup" program when it originally aired on a local Philadelphia tv station. Don't want to stuff this comment with information that can be learned elsewhere but would be happy to provide my recollections of the program, its format, and characters. Never knew there was an attempt to move the presentation away from the hand puppets used by the Bunins. As I recall one of the pressures brought to bear on the Bunnins was the arrival of Bil and Cora Baird. Their hand puppet series using marionettes "Snarky Parker" and their hand puppet "Charlemagne" had so much more action and expression making Foodini and Pinhead look a bit dated. Still I was a big fan of both and was most sorry when the Bunins left television.

p spector said...

Richard,

Recollections are cool. Let 'er rip.

Paul