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"My parents wouldn't let me have a dog when I was a kid. All I had was Huck."

- W.J. Flywheel, Webporium Curator

HUCKLEBERRY HOUND

Huckleberry Hound is a fictional cartoon character created by Hanna-Barbera, and the star of the late 1950s animated series The Huckleberry Hound Show, Hanna-Barbera's second series made for television after The Ruff & Reddy Show. The Huckleberry Hound Show was probably the series that truly made Hanna-Barbera a household name, thanks to Huckleberry (or "Huck" as he was sometimes nicknamed, referencing the novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn) and the two supporting segments of the show: Yogi Bear and his sidekick Boo Boo, and Pixie and Dixie, two mice who in each short found a new way to outwit the cat Mr. Jinks. After Yogi Bear was given his own show in 1961, his segment was replaced with one featuring Hokey Wolf and his sidekick Ding-a-Ling.

Voiced by Daws Butler, Huckleberry was a blue dog that spoke with a southern drawl, with a relaxed, well-intentioned personality. The term "Huckleberry" can be a slang synonym for a rube or an amateur, and that seems to fit Huck's personality. Most of his shorts consisted of Huck trying to find employment in different fields, ranging from policeman to (ironically enough) dogcatcher, with backfiring results, yet usually coming out on top, either through slow persistence or sheer luck. Another trademark of Huck was his tone deaf (as well as inaccurate) rendition of "Oh My Darling, Clementine," often used as a running gag.

Various Hanna-Barbera characters were known for frequently turning to the viewing audience to make little comments and asides. Huck took this to somewhat of an extreme, as a significant part of a typical cartoon was his running narrative to the audience about whatever he was trying to accomplish.

Although the voice Butler gave to Huckleberry Hound resembles that of Andy Griffith (who had recently become famous in movies, though not yet on TV), Butler had already developed and used the voice in earlier work (such as the dog character in Ruff and Reddy, and earlier characters in the MGM cartoon library). It was based on the neighbor of his wife, Myrtis; Butler would speak with said neighbor when visiting North Carolina. Because some of Hanna-Barbera's early shows (The Flintstones, Top Cat) are acknowledged to be take-offs on celebrities and shows of the day, it is possible that the studio was partly capitalizing on Griffith's popularity in making use of the voice, but this was not its origin.

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After his original series ran its course, Huck continued to make appearances in other Hanna-Barbera series, mainly as a supporting character for his former costar, Yogi. Huck appeared in such series as Yogi's Gang, Yogi's Space Race, Laff-A-Lympics and even as a teenager in the series Yo, Yogi!. Huck was also the star of the 1980s made-for-television movie, The Good, the Bad, and Huckleberry Hound.

Today, Huck's television appearances, like those of the rest of the early Hanna-Barbera characters, are rare, though his shorts can often be found on Cartoon Network's sister cable TV channel Boomerang, which are broadcast around the world. In addition, some of Huck's cartoons are also featured on various VHS and DVD home video releases. An episode of the prime-time animated TV show The SImpsons ("Behind the Laughter") parodies Huckleberry Hound, having him state, "I was so gay ... but I couldn't tell anyone."

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