Q & A: Where’s Huddles?

I get a lot of e-mails from people asking me about television shows, made-for-TV movies or miniseries they remember from years or decades past. I try to answer each question as best I can. Every now and then I like to dig through my inbox and pull out a few choice e-mails to answer here at Television Obscurities for everyone to read. Keep reading for today’s questions and answers.

I remember a cartoon that had the voice that sound so much like the Fred Flintstone characters. This character was a football coach. I can’t remember if the coach was for a high school or professional. I believe it was in the late 1960’s. Thank you for this site.
Penny

Alan Reed, who voiced Fred Flintstone, had a recurring role as a football coach another Hanna-Barbara called Where’s Huddles?, which premiered on Wednesday, July 1st, 1970 on CBS as a summer replacement for Hee Haw (along with repeats of Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.). It was the first prime time animated series to debut since The Flintstones went off the air in 1966. Where’s Huddles? followed the lives of two football players, Ed Huddles (voiced by Cliff Norton) and Bubba McCoy (voiced by Mel Blanc), friends and neighbors, as they battled on and off the field. Their wives were voiced by Jean Vander Pyl (who voiced Wilma Flintstone) and Marie Wilson, respectively. Paul Lynde voiced Claude Pertwee, neighbor to the Huddles and the McCoys.

According to Joe Barbera, Where’s Huddles? wasn’t like other cartoons: “The difference is that backgrounds are suggested instead of filled out in detail. And the voices of our characters aren’t gimmicky or cartoon-types” [1]. Furthermore, he explained that “we have visual fun with the show as well as funny situations. Because we’ll be on at 7:30 we’ve tried to combine sophisticated humor for adults, along with visual gags for children. Going into a loose type of art work is more acceptable to older, nighttime audiences–and even to our ever more sophisticated kids” [2].

Fred Ferretti of The New York Times noted the obvious similarities between Where’s Huddles? and The Flintstones and criticized the show’s blatant laugh track and the dialogue of the only black player on the team, voiced by Herb Jeffries [3]. Edward L. Blank of The Pittsburgh Press was also less than impressed with the series, writing that “it’s one thing to offer family programming that isn’t taxing on the mind and quite another to offer something mindless” [4].

In the premiere, Ed and Bubba agree to split the bill for a new swimming pool, only to run out of money and have to finish building it themselves. To make matters worse, Pertwee has filed an injunction due to the noise, meaning the two have to work clandestinely. When the pool is finally completed, the neighbors beginning fighting over who gets to use it and their argument carries over onto the field. Other episodes saw Ed and Bubba lose a mattress filled with money, develop a glue to prevent fumbles, look after Pertwee’s fancy new car while he is on vacation and purchase a business and resign from the team only to find themselves scrambling to retrieve their letter of retrieval when the business goes belly-up.

A total of ten episodes of Where’s Huddles? were broadcast, the last of which aired on Wednesday, September 9th. However, repeats would resurface on CBS during the summer of 1971, airing on Sunday afternoons.

Works Cited:

1 Scott, Vernon. “Cartoon Series in Prime Time.” Norwalk Hour [Norwalk, CT]. United Press International. 11 Jun. 1970: 14.
2 Ibid.
3 Ferretti, Fred. “TV: Today’s ‘Flinstones’: ‘The Huddles’ Transfers Oafish but Lovable Pair to California.” New York Times. 2 Jul. 1970: 71.
4 Blank, Edward L. “‘Huddles’ Missing Its Mark; ‘Hillbillies’ Appeal Grows.” Pittsburgh Press. 13 Jul. 1970: 40.


7 Comments

  • It was the first prime time animated series since The Flintstones.

    I’m sure you didn’t intentionally mean to shorten the history of animated cartoon series, but you left out Top Cat, The Jetsons, Jonny Quest–not to mention the non-Hanna-Barbera shows like The Bullwinkle Show, The Bugs Bunny Show, The Alvin Show, Calvin and the Colonel, etc.

  • RGJ says:

    What I meant to say — and what I have edited my post to reflect — is that Where’s Huddles? was the first prime time animated series to debut since The Flintstones went off the air following the 1965-1966 season. Plenty of other animated series were aired in prime time following the success of The Flinstones, but all were off the air by the time The Flintstones came to an end. Or at least that’s my understanding.

    I believe Where’s Huddles? was also the last animated series to air in prime time on a broadcast network until The Simpsons; Wait Till Your Father Gets Home was syndicated.

  • Plenty of other animated series were aired in prime time following the success of The Flinstones, but all were off the air by the time The Flintstones came to an end. Or at least that’s my understanding.

    I’m not sure if The New Adventures of Huck Finn would qualify–I suppose it would depend on how much of a purist you are. Technically, the three main leads were live-action actors but everything else on that show was animated.

    I believe Where’s Huddles? was also the last animated series to air in prime time on a broadcast network until The Simpsons; Wait Till Your Father Gets Home was syndicated.

    CBS ran The Bugs Bunny-Road Runner Show in prime-time for five weeks in the summer of 1976, but you could probably dismiss that on the basis that it was originally a Saturday morning series.

    I enjoyed this post because I have only a vague memory of Huddles–I caught the Sunday afternoon reruns in 1971. The only thing about the show I remember was Lynde’s characterization and a show where the Bubba character is put on a diet because he’s deemed too heavy to play for the team.

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    There was also a VERY brief Hanna-Barbera series that aired on NBC in early 1982- “JOKEBOOK” (primarily Joe Barbera’s idea), which featured “experimental” animated shorts from all over the world, as well as some conceived by the H-B studio itself. I’m one of the few viewers who actually remembers it…

    • Troy Lee Turner says:

      I was all hyped about Jokebook, knowing it was coming from H-B, but I tuned in with a WTF? I was naive then. Today, I’d probably dig it…

  • OM says:

    …The episode everyone remembers is the one where the boys decided to moonlight as a football quartet. THe only problem is that they dont have a good ldead singer. THat is,until they pull into the showers and find Freight Train cutting a perfect impression of Barry While, It’s a classic ep, and had the restof the series kept that quality absurdiness it would had lasked a few more seasons at leat.

  • Troy Lee Turner says:

    More Huddles info-Dick Enberg was the voice of the announcer for the team. Reruns were also shown as part of USA’s Cartoon Express in the early 90’s. And yes, Lynde was cast as the perfect horses’ rump/foil, with a poodle named Claude, no less… Definitely a departure for H-B, definitely ahead of its’ time…

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