August 01, 2015

SECRET SQUIRREL

SECRET SQUIRREL
(NBC, October 2, 1965-November 26, 1966)


Hanna-Barbera Productions

MAIN CAST:
Mel Blanc – Secret Squirrel, various
Paul Frees – Morocco Mole, Double-Q, Yellow Pinkie, Hy-Spy, Squiddly Diddly
John Stephenson – Chief Winchley
Jean Vander Pyl – Winsome Witch

            In the 1960s, the viewing audience was gripped by the action and adventure found in the burgeoning spy genre, thanks to the James Bond film series and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Hanna-Barbera took their own leap into the genre by creating Secret Squirrel.

Secret being helped by his trusty sidekick, Morocco.

            Secret Squirrel (Mel Blanc, with a lisp similar to his portrayal of Sylvester the Cat), designated Agent 000, was a super spy who wore a trench coat and a hat that covered his face like a mask. Both articles of clothing contained a virtual armory of weapons and comedic devices used to combat his foes and escape various traps. His partner was Morocco Mole (Paul Frees impersonating Peter Lorre), a glasses and fez wearing mole who served as comic relief. Together they worked for the International Sneaky Service and answered to their human boss Double-Q (also Frees). Secret’s primary villain and arch-enemy was Yellow Pinkie (Frees again), a play on the character Auric Goldfinger from Goldfinger with a bit of Kasper Gutman from The Maltese Falcon (1941 version) thrown in.

Episode title card screen.

            The character and his world debuted in Hanna-Barbera’s first production for NBC, the prime-time special The World of Atom Ant and Secret Squirrel on September 12, 1965. The following month, the special was spun-off into a show called The Atom Ant/Secret Squirrel Show. The show was an hour long, broken up into two parts of three segments each. The second half featured Secret Squirrel, Squiddly Diddly and Winsome Witch.

Chief Winchley and Squiddly Diddly.

            Squiddly Diddly focused on Squiddly (Frees), a purple squid in a sailor hat and shirt that resided in a tank in the water park Bubbleland. Squiddly often aspired to be more than a park attraction and would frequently try to escape and have grand adventures. Usually, his plans were thwarted by the head of the park Chief Winchley (John Stephenson), or by the realization that his new life wasn’t much better than his old one. There were times where Squiddly and Winchley would work together to solve problems that arose in the park. Winsome Witch was about a friendly, though sometimes inept, witch named Winnie (Jean Vander Pyl). Winnie rode a magic broom and cast spells by reciting the chant “Ippity-pippity-pow!” Of course, like most comedic witches, her spells didn’t always solve the problems as they were meant to.

Winsome Witch.

            In 1966, Atom Ant and Secret Squirrel were split into their own separate half hours. Both ran a total of two seasons and 26 episodes before reuniting in 1967 for an additional season of reruns. After 1968, Secret Squirrel was shown in syndication or during episodes of The Banana Splits. During the show’s run, Hanna-Barbera Records released a record for all three segments: Super Spy, Surfin’ Safari and It’s Magic. Each featured an audio adventure and several songs, although Daws Butler voiced Morocco mole rather than Frees.

The new Secret and Morocco.

            In 1993, Secret Squirrel was revived as Super Secret Secret Squirrel and shown during episodes of 2 Stupid Dogs. Then-president of Hanna-Barbera Fred Seibert asked Dogs creator Donovan Cook to choose a classic creation to revive within the show, and Cook chose Secret, one of his favorite shows growing up. Secret (Jess Harnell, sans lisp) and Morocco (Jim Cummings) were given new designs by Paul Rudish and Craig McCracken with David Feiss providing the storyboards. All of Secret’s supporting characters were replaced by animals, particularly Yellow Pinkie who became a sea lion named Goldflipper (Cummings). Double-Q was called simply “Chief” (Tony Jay), and was rendered as a cape buffalo who smoked a pipe. Introduced in the series was the Chief’s assistant Penny (based on Miss Moneypenny from Bond and voiced by Kimmy Robertson), a female squirrel who served as a love interest for Secret. The series ran for 13 episodes and had become a cult favorite with fans, often heralded as taking the formula of the original and improving upon it.



            In years following the original series, the characters from the show made appearances on other programs. Secret and Morocco both appeared in Yogi’s Ark Lark and Yogi’s Gang, and Secret appeared alone in Yogi’s Treasure Hunt. Teenaged versions of both appeared on Yo Yogi!, voided by Kath Soucie and Neil Ross, respectively. Secret and Morocco appeared in various commercials and program bumpers during the early years of Cartoon Network, and made guest-appearances on the network’s show Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law voiced by Bill Farmer as Secret and Maurice LaMarche as Morocco. Secret also had cameos in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, The Angry Beavers, and his hat appeared in an episode of Squirrel Boy.

The Sonic Broom.

Squiddly also joined Yogi’s Gang, this time voiced by Messick, and later in Yogi’s Treasure Hunt with Winchley. Squiddly also appeared in cameos on Yo Yogi!, The Ricky Gervais Show, 2012’s MetLife commercial “Everyone”, and in the graphic novel Nemo: River of Ghosts by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill. Winnie appeared in the Fender Bender 500 segment of Wake, Rattle and Roll driving a cauldron-shaped monster truck dubbed “the Sonic Broom.” In that series she gained a black cat named Lucky (Messick) and a skeleton named Axel (Ross).

Hanna-Barbera Presents #1

            In 1966, Reddy Kilowatt Inc. published the Secret Squirrel Kite Fun Book; a promotional comic about kite safety. Gold Key also produced a single comic book issue starring Secret, which had a back-up story starring Squiddly. In 1967 Secret received his own coloring book while in 1968 he appeared in the United Kingdom comic Atom Ant Annual by Atlas Publishing. It wouldn’t be until 1995 when Secret would appear again in Hanna-Barbera Presents #1 by Archie Comics, with Squiddly appearing in issue #6. In 2015, Secret appeared in Scooby-Doo! Team-Up #11 by DC Comics, teaming up with the titular canine. The new version of secret made an appearance in DC’s Cartoon Network Presents #20 in 1999.

Funko POP! Secret Squirrel.

            Amongst the earliest merchandise based on the program were bubble clubs featuring Squiddly and Winnie by Purex and Secret on a tricky trapeze and as a push puppet by Kohner. The Roalex Company made a sliding squares puzzle featuring all four main characters of the series, and Whitman made a tray puzzle of Secret and Morocco. The main cast of Squiddly and Secret even appeared together on a tin lunchbox, and with Atom Ant in a View-Master slide set. In 1985, Secret was turned into a plush, and again in 1999 by the Warner Bros. Studio Store along with Morocco and Squiddly. In the 90s, a Secret, Morocco and Squiddly were featured in a Spanish series of connecting toys playing instruments. In 2000, Secret was included in the series of Hanna-Barbera plush dolls featured as a Dairy Queen premium. Funko produced Secret, Morocco and Squiddly as part of their Wacky Wobblers and POP lines, and Secret alone in their Funko Force series. Jazwares released a Secret figure that featured limited articulation, but had hat-gadget action. Nodnik and Big Head Company released collectible versions of Secret and Morocco.

Character model sheet.

In 1985, The Video Collection released 8 Secret Squirrel and Winsome Witch segments onto VHS as part of their Kaleidoscope collection, while Hanna-Barbera Home Video released 13 in 1988. In 1986, 8 Squiddly segments were released by Worldvision Home Video Inc. as part of their Kids Kollection. “Squid on the Skids” was featured in the 1989 compilation video Hanna-Barbera Super Stars Courtin’ Cut-Ups. The segments “Sub Swiper” and “Way Out Squiddly” were both made available on DVD in 2009 on Saturday Morning Cartoons: 1960s Volume 1


EPISODE GUIDE:
Season 1:
“Sub Swiper / Way Out Squiddly / Have Broom Will Travel” (10/2/65) – Secret and Morocco have to find a stolen atomic submarine. / Aliens kidnap Squiddly thinking he’s a typical Earthling. / Winnie’s hunt for a job leads her to babysitting two troublesome toddlers.

“Masked Granny / Show Biz Squid / Prince of a Pup” (10/9/65) – Secret and Morocco have to protect the Bombay Bomb from the Masked Granny. / Squiddly is jealous over the fame of the dolphins. / Winnie tries to help get rid of Snow White for the Queen.

“Scotland Yard Caper / The Canvas Back Squid / Operation Broom Switch” (10/16/65) – Secret’s recovery of the crown jewels lead to his being accused as the thief. / A wrestler tricks Squiddly into taking his place in a match. / Two spies steal Winnie’s broom.

“Robin Hood & His Merry Muggs / Nervous Service / The Hansel and Gretel Case” (10/23/65) – Thieves use the Robin Hood television show to hide their activities. / Squiddly accidentally joins the Navy. / Hansel and Gretel pay Winnie a visit.

“Wolf in Cheap Cheap Clothing / Westward Ha! / The Little Big League” (10/30/95) – Secret and Morocco have to stop Wily Wolf from smuggling sheep. / Squiddly gets more action than he bargained for in the Wild West. / Winnie replaces a sick player on a little league baseball team.

“Royal Run Around / Sea Grunt / School Teacher Winnie” (11/6/65) – Pasha Panchabaggie doesn’t want Secret and Morocco’s protection and flees on his flying carpet. / Squiddly tries to get the role of the squid in a show being filmed at Bubbleland. / Winnie becomes a teacher.

“Yellow Pinkie / Chief Cook and the Bottle Washer / Good Red Riding Hood” (11/13/65) – Enemy agent Yellow Pinkie outsmarts Secret and Morocco at every turn. / Squiddly runs away and ends up on a pirate ship as a virtual slave. / Winnie helps Little Red Riding Hood escape the Big Bad Wolf.

“Five is a Crowd / Squid on the Skids / Winnie’s Baby” (11/20/65) – Dr. Dangit creates Secret duplicates in order to commit crimes and frame the real one. / Squiddly must fight for the love of a female squid. / Winnie adopts a baby left on her doorstep.

“It Stopped Training / Double Trouble / How Now Cinderella” (11/27/65) – Yellow Pinkie steals the Silver Streak Express train with a shrink ray. / Squiddly ends up switching places with a man in a costume on the way to a party. / Winnie tells the story of how she met Cinderella.

“Wacky Secret Weapon / Squid Kid / Have Broom Will Zoom” (12/4/65) – Yellow Pinkie steals the secret weapon Secret and Morocco are guarding. / A kid takes Squiddly home as his new pet. / Winnie encounters alien visitors and is taken to their planet.

“Cuckoo Clock Cuckoo / Booty and the Beast / Winnie the Sheriff” (12/11/65) – A giant steals Big Ben in order to make it into a cuckoo clock. / Squiddly and Winchley go on a treasure hunt. / Winnie is made the sheriff of an all-male western town besieged by bnadits.

“Catty Cornered / Clowning Around / Welcome Wagging” (12/18/65) – A dog makes it difficult for Secret and Morocco to capture a cat with explosive atoms inside. / Squiddly runs away to join the circus. / Unable to find a puppy a home, Winnie adopts it herself.

“Leave Wheel Enough Alone / Surprise Prize / Shoo Spy” (12/25/65) – Yellow Pinkie steals all the gold from the mint, and Secret has to enter a race to catch him. / Squiddly and Winchley end up on an island where Squiddly is worshipped as a god. / The Pentagon calls on Winnie to defeat enemy spy Dr. Zero.

“Jester Minute / Naughty Astronaut / Hollywood or Busted” (1/1/66) – Yellow Pinkie steals the king’s crown from under Secret’s nose. / Squiddly crashes in the desert and is mistaken for an alien. / Winnie wins a trip to Hollywood to star in a horror movie.

“Not So Idle Idol / The Ghost is Clear / Wolfcraft vs. Witchcraft” (1/8/66) – Yellow Pinkie steals a golden idol. / Squiddly is invited to a birthday party for a ghost kid. / The Big Bad Wolf learns magic to get past Winnie to the Three Little Pigs.

“Gold Rushed / Lucky Ducky / Tallyho the Hunter” (1/15/66) – Secret and Morocco’s vacations are cut short when Yellow Pinkie steals a gold bullion from the Granbovian Embassy. / A duck tries to trick Squiddly out of his tank. / Winnie transforms into different animals to outwit a hunter.

“Double-Ex Double Cross / Foxy Seal / Witch Hitch” (1/22/66) – Double-Ex petrifies the population of Okey Dokey Isle. / Squiddly tries to save a fox from a hunter. / Winnie investigates a flying saucer that lands on the White House lawn.

“Capt. Kidd’s Not Kiding / Squiddly Double Diddly / Ugly Duckling Trouble” (1/29/66) – Yellow Pinkie disguises himself as the ghost of Captain Kidd to steal gold. / A spy infiltrates Bubbleland and disguises himself as Squiddly. / Winnie tries to help the Ugly Duckling gain self-esteem.

“Bold Rush / Hollywood Folly / Witch Witch is Witch” (2/5/66) – Secret secretly keeps tabs on Morocco as he attempts to apprehend Yellow Pinkie by himself. / Squiddly is cast in a Hollywood spy movie as the villain. / Two boys Winnie babysits play with her wand as she sleeps causing magical mischief.

“Tusk-Tusk / One Black Knight / Good Little Scout” (2/12/66) – The Grand Wazir kidnaps an elephant in a plot to overthrown the Rajah. / Squiddly inherits a castle and his butler tries to scare him off. / Winnie helps Tomb Thumb get into the Boy Scouts.

Season 2:
“Robot Rout / Yo Ho Ho / Potluck” (9/10/66) – Using robots to brainwash the citizenry, Yellow Pinkie is elected President. / Squiddly ends up on a pirate ship and sees where the captain buries his treasure. / Winnie fumbles her attempts to help the chef in Joe’s CafĂ©.

“The Pink Sky Mobile / Phoney Fish / Pussycat Man” (9/17/66) – Secret and Yellow Pinkie duke it out in the sky. / Robbers disguise themselves as fish to steal Bubbleland’s box office. / Winnie takes over for hero Pussycat Man when he’s injured to stop The Thinker’s crimewave.

“Scuba Duba Duba / Gnatman / Sheriff Winnie” (9/24/66) – Secret and Morocco have to recover a missile before its used to destroy a city. / Squiddly and Winchley take up a superheroic persona. / Winnie winds up in a western town where she’s made sheriff and made to defeat a bandit.

“Hi-Spy / Robot Squid / Wee Winnie Witch” (10/29/66) – Secret can’t outsmart the evil scientist Hy Spy. / Winchley attempts to replace Squiddly with a robot that malfunctions. / Winnie gets a visit from her mischievous magical niece.

“Spy in the Sky / Jewel Finger / Sea-Dogged” (11/12/66) – Hy Spy destroys various targets using his armed satellite. / Jewel thief Jewel Finger hides his latest score in Bubbleland, where Squiddly accidentally swallows it. / Winnie is shanghaied and made into a scullery maid.

“Ship of Spies / Baby Squidder / Wild Wild Witch” (11/26/66) – Secret and Morocco have to find Hy Spy’s invisible ship. / Squiddly tries to protect a lost baby. / A tornado drops Winnie into a magical land where she must seek out the Wild Wizard.

No comments:

Post a Comment