Costra NostraCostra Nostra (1964) by Dave Koch
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- Jay Ward Productions
- Animated Characters: Hoppity, Fillmore, Waldo, Costra, Nostra, Clyde, Clem.
- Originally Released in 1964.
- Production Number: 4-A
- Running Time: 3 minutes.
Cartoon Production Information:
One of the most underrated animated shows of all time, The Adventures of Hoppity Hooper debuted in 1962, brought to you by Jay Ward, the man who gave the world Crusader Rabbit and Rocky and Bullwinkle. Like his anthropomorphic predecessors, Hoppity was an intelligent animal (a frog, to be precise) who hooked up with a couple of shady characters and was swept along on a series of comic misadventures. The show, while every bit as fun as the other classic Jay Ward offerings, has managed to elude mainstream success for the last three decades.
The character of Hoppity Hooper had been through several incarnations before he ever appeared on his own show. The amicable amphibian first came to life on a popular segment of The Bullwinkle Show entitled Fractured Fairy Tales, which took a classic story and bent it in that inimitable Jay Ward fashion. Using "The Frog Prince" as its source material, a frog named Filburt was introduced as the title character. Writer Bill Scott, who had worked with Jay Ward before, thought he could make a star out of the frog, and so he and "Frog Prince" scripter Chris Jenkyns wrote a pilot called The Green Hopper. The title was then changed to Hippity Hooper before the writers were told that the name was too similar to "Hippity Hopper," the kangaroo on the Sylvester and Tweety cartoons. So once more, the name was changed slightly, and finally, to Hoppity Hooper.
The pilot episode featured a conniving fox, the traveling "professor" Waldo Wigglesworth, and his sidekick, the bugle-blowing bear Fillmore, as they wandered through Foggy Bog, Wisconsin, with the town sheriff on their tails. The mischievous pair hoped to hide in the home of Hoppity Hooper, so they convinced the unsuspecting frog that they were his long-lost uncle and cousin. Hoppity allowed them into his home, and never seemed to question just how an amphibian like himself would ever be related to a fox and a bear. The series also included Susan Swivelhips, Waldo's Mae west sound-alike girlfriend.
Each episode contained two segments of a four-part adventure, a classic Ward method of presentation. The show also included scenes from Ward's "Fractured Fairy Tales" and "Peabody's Improbable History," as well as "Commander McBragg" from Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales. In 1965, while The Adventures of Hoppity Hooper was still running weekly on ABC, the show was sold into syndication as Uncle Waldo and His Friends.
Trivia buffs might be interested to know that joining Hans Conreid as Waldo, and Chris Allen as Hoppity, for the pilot of the show, was Alan Reed as Fillmore Bear. But as fate would have it, by the time the show was picked up for the 1964 season, Reed had already been cast as Fred Flintstone. Co-creator Bill Scott, who had already voiced Bullwinkle and Dudley Do-Right, then became the voice of Fillmore. Also, Paul Frees served as narrator for 25 of the 27 episodes. The last two were taken over by William Conrad, whose unmistakable voice could be heard as the narrator for The Bullwinkle Show.
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