Monday, February 16, 2009

Hanna-Barbera: Devlin

I know what you're thinking. Thoughts along the lines of: What, no ancient storyboards?; How come no President's Day Coogy?; and not least, What's with the 1970's crap?! Personally, I think the 70s were the nadir as far as Hollywood animation goes. The two most common gripes I remember from my dad throughout the 1960's-70's were: 1) seasonal layoffs, and 2) having to write "Seize them!" in every other panel of a Filmation board -- I've no doubt he'd rather have been back at 1930's Mintz, sweeping pencil shavings while peering over the shoulder of an animator, scoping tricks of the trade.

Yet, you can't fault a guy or gal from still trying to do their best work, no matter the circumstances or era. That's why I like these model sheets for H&B's Devlin (1974). Someone -- not my dad -- did a bang-up job on them. Someone with talent took the time to think it out and lay it out and draw it out, regardless of the gig. It's been a long time, and I might be totally off the mark, but I think that someone was a Bruno: John or Joe. The former worked on the show and I believe is still working (so John, if you read this, drop a line), and the latter (by the looks of imdb) might have saved his own soul and gotten out of animation while the gettin' was good. But whomever, this van is rockin' and you can indeed bother knockin' (with your comments) . What I do remember is my dad bringing home some motorcycle drawings that he thought were totally boss, and I thought so too. Why motorcycles? The character Ernie Devlin was based on the famed daredevil stunt-cyclist Evel Kneivel. Ernie and the other Devlins got involved in the world's socio-dramatic ills and tried to help make our planet -- well, The United States, anyway -- a better place for you and me. Kind of like The Mod Squad, but with better wheels.

So go ahead. Take a tour of the Devlin van.

My dad did (surprise) storyboard on this show. According to the episode guide, below must be from episode 3, Save That Lion. As was his style, a trip to the library was in order, on this occasion to check out a book on Clyde Beatty, at one time the world's most famous circus lion tamer.

I'm not positive but by the looks of his drawings below, Beatty would seem to be represented in this particular cartoon.

Here's some color cels from the show to liven up the blog. My thought is that perhaps I could get a fancy embossment stamper made to give them an official look, and if someone out there knows how to forge imitate a fCaHmUoCuKs cJaOrNtEoSonist's signature, we could sell them for lots of dough at some fancy-pants gallery.

This first one with the immigration officers must be from episode 13, The Stowaway. You can make up your own dialogue for the guy with his hand up. I go for "Adios amigo."

What do you make of this final drawing of Devlin characters? My dad, for reasons we will never know, spontaneously has them accompanied by the Pink Panther. Was he making a connection between the lions and PP? Today's educators tell us that making connections is a stroke of...I dunno...something. (Dad, what the hell were you doing?) Pink was a DePatie-Freleng Enterprises production. My dad had already done some work for them. I got some boards. That's my connection, and you can expect one in the future.


Will Finn said...

I am smiling at your lampoon of nincompoop boho philosopher Malcom Gladwell, (too perfectly named) in that last paragraph. That's the connection I made anyway.

I am notorious for somehow never having a blank piece of paper handy and will also scribble notes on roughs from something wholly un-related. Nothing as cool as an old Pink Panther rough though.

p spector said...

Hey Will, I wasn't thinking of Gladwell but he'll do, especially at $40,000 per lecture (according to his 15 minutes on Wiki, which I have the feeling he wrote himself). I know the name -- never read him (and cancelled my script to The New Yorker over 20 years ago.)

I did however notice that the final two words in your comment are "rough" and "though". Whilst spelt almost identical, they are yet pronounced arhymical, so to me that's one tough connection, and cooler than a Pink Panther.

Brubaker said...

I'd be interested in the boards your dad did for DePatie-Freleng (obviously!). Interesting to compare the boards to the final animation.

Any recollections of John Dunn, who pretty much did the boards for every other DFE films?

p spector said...

Bru, I went over to your site a few days ago looking for your email, because I wanted to ask you for a title I.D. on a PP board. I didn't see your email address. If you want, click on my blogger profile and get mine off of there and send it to me.
Sorry, I've no knowledge of Dunn, or really much at all about his days at DFE except for what he himself worked on.
- Paul

Will Finn said...

Paul, being vaguely familiar with G.B. Shaw's dabblings in "esperanto" I noticed that strange word combination as I tyeped it, too.

Stop me if you've heard this one, but Shaw had a classic example of our native tongue's randomness: taken their relative pronounciations from the words "rough", "women" and "nation", the letters "goti" should by all rights be pronounced "fish."

Would that relevant knowledge (like 'where did I leave my keys?') stuck with me this well...

Will Finn said...

I meant to type "ghoti"

no spell check for esperanto as of yet.

p spector said...

Hey Will -- Thanks. I knew you meant "ghoti", although I never knew the example was by way of Shaw. An English teacher from my younger years once wrote it on the chalkboard and asked the class how to pronounce it. Maybe the teacher didn't even know it's origin. Some teacher!

Jack said...

Do you know the origin of the series concept? My grandfather's cousin, Charles Devlin, performed as "Daredevil Devlin" in a circus act for years in the early 20th century. His son, Patrick Devlin, became a movie actor known as David Street. David Street died in the early 1970s.