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History Detectives

A few weeks ago I recieved a call from the fine folks at the PBS show History Detectives. Seems they had someone who found a cache of animation cels, but couldn’t figure out who the characters were, and wondered if these cels had any historical significance. I met up with history detective Tukufu Zuberi and took a look at what they found: rare cels from the first Buddy cartoon, Buddy’s Day Out (1933). Pretty cool – and pretty rare. If you haven’t heard of Buddy, you are not alone. He’s probably the least known, and least respected, Looney Tunes star.

Next week, August 30th, the show will air on PBS stations across the U.S. (check your local listings for time and channel). Schlesinger ink-and-paint veteran Martha Sigall also appears in the segment. I hope you’ll tune in to watch the mystery unfold. Heck, this’ll mark Buddy’s first appearance on a broadcast television in over 40 years – that alone should warrant your recording this event. Click thumbnails below to see a few of the cels they uncovered. Click here to see a promo for the next episode – don’t blink or you’ll miss the back of my head!

  • Jorge Garrido

    Bosko in whiteface!

  • Stephen

    An intriguing peek into one of Warner’s worst cartoons. Who thought Tom Palmer could direct?

  • OMG I am such a huge fan of that show that’s awesome!

  • Thomas Hatch

    I’m gonna watch! Mostly to see more of Jerry’s head.

  • Bill

    I saw the promo for this after last weeks episode. For a fraction of a second I could see the back of your head and knew it was you. I’ll be watching!

  • Sat

    They haven’t took the prettiest pic of the Looney Tunes crew for that promo : D
    That’s cool though, is it streaming somewhere for the poor TV-less Canadian folks like me?

  • Jingles

    Bill is gonna wear your skin someday, Jerry.

    • Bill

      Ehhh, could be…

  • Congratulations, Jerry.
    Pretty sure Buddy was shown on the Cartoon Network back in the 1980’s—I think I taped a few.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      Nickelodeon used to show these cartoons on it’s “Looney Tunes on Nickelodeon” program as early as 1988.

  • Robert Barker

    Were there any ‘Buddy’ cartoons on the LTGCs? I don’t remember any, but it doesn’t seem the series was all that memorable.

  • Ben

    Wow, I’ve never heard of “Buddy” before! Thanks for the link to the short though, it was fascinating. Sure, not the best cartoon ever, but it was remarkably well preserved, and I did laugh at several of the gags. It was definitely more pedestrian than some of the other “talking animal” shorts of the day. This was more situation comedy. I liked what I saw.

  • Bryan

    Cool! I’ll definitely catch it!

    Why can’t I ever find a stash of 1930’s WB cels? Huh?

  • Kevin, CN didn’t exist in the 1980s—and when they did start (1992), they didn’t have access to the black-and-white Warner-owned Looney Tunes package for many years.

    But Nickelodeon did—and they ran Buddy cartoons frequently in the early years of their Looney Tunes program (pre-1993).

    Robert, there are a couple of Buddy shorts on LT Golden Collection 6, including BUDDY’S DAY OUT. I wouldn’t call them the highlight of my viewing experience.

    • That’s it- thanks for the clarification, David.
      I knew I’d seen them SOMEPLACE.

  • First appearance on brodcast TV in 40 years? Excuse me, but I just watched the Yakko, Wakko, and Dot’s 65th anniversary show on Animaniacs Volume 3, and it was centered around Buddy!

  • Randy Koger

    Buddy’s Day Out is on one of the LTGC collections for sure – I watched the cartoon at a friend’s house just a couple of months ago. The print of it on the LTGC DVD is really nice too. Nicely restored.

    It’s a strange cartoon….the baby in the cartoon keeps changing size and shape from scene to scene…obviously drawn by different artists. And Buddy’s girlfriend is pretty bland. But the cartoon is such a period classic! And in glorious B & W!

  • looniINmiami

    Those cells look like they were painted yesterday-no cracking of paint and the plastic still has its sheen.

    • NC

      I thought the same thing too, whoever owns them is taking really good care of them.

  • Yeah, a pretty poor cartoon. WB head office in New York even complained about its quality back in 1933, and a spooked Schlesinger, just starting up on his own as a cartoon producer, poached Friz Freleng from Harman-Ising Productions to “creatively” save his skin. When Friz produced a reasonably good Buddy story…it was bye bye Tom Palmer, who ended up back East at Van Beuren – from Buddy to Molly the Moo Cow!

  • If you could find out anything about Cookie’s last voice artist, Bernice Hansen, that would be real history detective work.

  • “History Detectives” don’t show in Brazil (as far as I know). But it seems to be fun!

    • Chris Sobieniak

      Well it’s a PBS series that’s really only available up here unless it has been marketed to other countries now.

  • Jed G Martinez

    The only thing I can recall about “Buddy’s Day Out” was the fact that it opened with individual credits of its ‘cast of characters’, just like many WB live-action films of its day in the early 1930s. Even Buddy’s dog (which wasn’t even Bruno or Towser in later flicks) got a screen credit!

    • Chris Sobieniak

      Just like what would be done later in “I Haven’t Got A Hat” when they wanted to introduce their new “Animal Our Gang” to the audience.

  • Jerry, I saw the animation part and it was great and informational. I know now that Charlotte Darling inked on “Buddy’s Day Out”, the Ted Eshbaugh cartoon “The Snow Man” and the Mickey Mouse cartoon “Puppy Love”. That might have all (except the get-well cel) from 1932-33 (maybe 1934). Nice to see you and Van Eaton on there.

    Keep animation history going!