Saturday, July 11, 2009

Beany and Cecil, Volume Two DVD

There is going to be a new DVD collection coming along this fall. The release of "Beany and Cecil, Volume Two" will happen on September 8th. This comes on the heels of a DVD collection from nearly 10 years ago.

Photobucket In the early part of this decade there was a DVD released called "Beany and Cecil: The Special Edition" which consisted of a wide variety of Bob Clampett programs. Of course, 90% of the material was Beany and Cecil related...but a lot of the extra's dealt with other projects. In the previous collection the DVD consisted of 4 episodes of the live-action puppet show, Time For Beany, which ran for six years, 1949-1955. The puppet show ran locally, 1949-1950, but then started airing nationally later in 1950. The first volume DVD featured quite a few of the episodes of the animated version, simply called Beany and Cecil. In the animated version, the voice actors were slightly different than what viewers of the puppet show heard. In the puppet version, Daws Butler and Stan Freberg voiced the characters. In the animated version, which ran for one season of first-run episodes, but aired in reruns on the network for four more years, the voice actors for the animated version were Jim MacGeorge and Irv Shoemaker.

The cartoons usually had a sing-a-long/rhyme segment which lead up to the two characters singing together "...a Bob Clampett Cartoon" prior to the start of each episode. Beany's voice in the animated series lacked the cuteness, I think, that Daws Butler gave the character in the puppet version. The boy's voice in the cartoon is nothing like Butler's while Cecil and the villain, Dishonest John, sound somewhat close to the way Stan Freberg did the characters in the puppet version. Captain Huffenpuff, Beany's uncle, was the fourth major character. Daws voiced the puppet version while Jim MacGeorge voiced the animated version.

Much of the program's charm was the dialogue between all the characters...when the cartoon version began a lot of the charm lay in the pun's that Clampett was noted for. In one episode there was a reference to Dinah Shore as "Dina Saur" {Dinosaur, get it?}.

If you can't open that link, copy and paste it in your search box, click enter, and see if a link to the site comes up. If not, try Googling CartoonBrew and navigate their site until you come across the Beany and Cecil photo album. They have a fabulous pictorial up of both Stan Freberg and Daws Butler performing on the 1949-1955 puppet show. There's 10 pages of black and white pictures of the two! I saved quite a few of them.

In closing...

There were 26 half-hour productions that started to air in 1962. There were 78 segments...which means there were something like 3 segments per episode, of varying length, if my math is correct which it usually never is. So, these 78 segments/26 episodes aired consistently in reruns until 1967. The show remained in syndication on into the 1970's but eventually it left the airwaves. The cartoon and the puppet show have a cult following today and the DVD releases have been sparse. The first release that I wrote of earlier, "Beany and Cecil: The Special Edition", was the first DVD release of it's kind to focus on these characters with any degree of respect. Fast-forward a decade later, 2009, and we're about to have a second volume released to us. "Beany and Cecil, Volume Two"...


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