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Cartoon Dump #5: Spunky and Tadpole


A little boy and his brain challenged teddy bear.

Spunky and Tadpole was one of the worst cartoon shows ever made. Originally distributed in 1958 by Guild Films, the show was quickly outclassed in every department by Hanna-Barbera’s Huckleberry Hound and trounced by all other kiddie competition. Your tip off that this going to be awful is the cheesy title card touting “Beverly Hills Productions.” There is nothing Beverly Hills about this production!

On the plus side, it does feature Don Messick doing voices… however, the ugly artwork, minimal animation and shoddy production values justify its place in the Cartoon Dump. The fifth episode of our original live-action/animation podcast is now up on CartoonBrewFilms.com

  • Thank you! I love “Cartoon Dump!”

    “Spunky & Tadpole”!!!……..i had always heard of the duo….but never saw an inch of it!!

    Sorta makes Crusader & Rags look like Barney Bear & Droopy, eh?

  • I REMEMBER this one! At least I vaguely remember it; nothing about it stood out, though I remember one or two lines of dialogue in a dream-state sort of way. Visually it never registered, which probably says a lot about why it found its way to the dump.

  • good heavens, I’ve GOT to see this thing!

  • fishmorgjp

    Isn’t “Spunky & Tadpole” a great name for a series? Even if you were being satirical, you could hardly do better.

  • I just about lost my coffee all over the laptop when Moodsy started singing about dry heaves.

  • Luke

    I remember this one. Even as a kid, I knew something was rotten in Florida, which turned out to be a toxic waste dump for film production, except for Disney. Or maybe not.

  • Christopher Cook

    I duly recalled Spunky & Tadpole as a child as well (Curse you, KHJ, now KCAL!). Of course I tuned in regularly because (a) it was serialized and I wanted to see what happened next, and (b) at five years old I was particularly undiscriminating. Its sole value to me today is that of harkening back to 1961 Riverside, California.

  • Joan Gardner was also active in voice acting. She was Tiny Tim in “Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol.”

    She was credited in some cartoons as Joan Janis. I believe she was married to Ed Janis, the producer for “Spunky and Tadpole” (can you confirm, Jerry?)

  • Luke

    Not to be confused with Spunky the donkey, or Spunky the dog from Rocko’s Modern Life, even though I think Guild Films had a UM&M connection.

  • Doug Drown

    I had heard of this from time to time, but had never seen an episode till now. I don’t remember it from my childhood (and I think I would, because I seem to recall all the other dreck that was out there).

    No doubt about it: This is awful. But, you know, I think if “Spunky and Tadpole” had had the right people behind it, it could have been creative and charming. As noted by fishmorgjp above, the name of the series is clever, and so is the premise: a little boy whose teddy bear comes alive. What a great concept! UPA, in its early years, could have done wonders with this. Someone still could. Who holds the copyright now?

  • Change the teddy bear into a tiger and you’ve got Calvin and Hobbes.

  • jl

    I remember this show as previous comment on KHJ I think it was on Engineer Bill’s Show. There was another one, I don’t remember the name but it was some sorta futuristic being that looked like Tweety bird and its sidekick who was some kinda hairy creature like a bear but was kinda like Patrick on Spongebob, he lived on the planet Futura or something like that, anyone else can fill in the details?

  • Rich Angehr

    Jl, Are you thinking of Colonel Bleep, another serialized cartoon of the era? He hung out with a caveman and a puppet. I bought a few DVD’s at the dollar store including Spunky and Tadpole, Colonel Bleep, Diver Dan and Tobor the 8th Man – all put out byEastWestDVD.

  • Charles Garofalo

    I remember Spunky and Tadpole in a weird way. While I gobbled up all the J. Ward cartoons, I used to wait for the Spunky and Tadpole cartoon to finish, so they’d put on the Three Stooges; Laurel and Hardy; or Edgar Kennedy short the series inevietably preceded on the local channel. Next to those guys, Calvin and the Colonel were high art.
    Charles Garofalo