August 6, 2009

Shout Out to: Lippy the Lion

One of the most overlooked characters on the Hanna-Barbera roster, Lippy the Lion was a cartoon short that served as one-third of The Hanna-Barbera New Cartoon Series that premiered in 1962. (The other two shorts comprising the show were Touche' Turtle & Dum Dum, and the slightly better known Wally Gator.)

Lippy the Lion was significant because it was one of a handful of cartooons that featured voice characterizations by arguably the two greatest cartoon voice actors of all time --
Daws Butler (Yogi Bear, Woody Woodpecker) and Mel Blanc (Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and all the other Warner Brothers favorites.)

Lippy the Lion is also memorable for having perhaps the most comedically ironic sidekick ever -- Hardy Har Har, a laughing hyena suffering from depression. Now I don't know if he was ever clinically diagnosed, but I do remember Hardy being constantly dreary and pessimistic, and having this sort of general, neverending malaise. Perhaps they should have done one of those "very special" episodes of Lippy, where Hardy tries to kill himself, then finally agrees to see a shrink and gets a Zoloft prescription.

On a side note, Lippy the Lion was yet another one of those cartoon characters that never wore pants. Seems like animators love to have cartoon animals wearing clothing, as long as it's not pants. Think about it...

Lippy the Lion - Hat, no pants.
Donald Duck - Shirt, no pants.
Bugs Bunny - Classy white gloves... but no pants.
Quick Draw McGraw - Hat?... Check... Neckerchief?... Check... Gun holster?... Check... Pants?... Nope.
Top Cat has a hat and a snazzy vest... and no pants.
Huckleberry Hound has a hat and a tie (but no collar or shirt to go with the tie)... and no pants.
And Hardy Har Har somehow has a collar but no shirt... and of course, no pants.

What the hell? Is there something inherently difficult about drawing pants? Or did every animator somehow miss that day of class?

Anyway, as I check YouTube, I see tons of Lippy and Hardy videos. Glad to see that they've finally been given their due.

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