Time for Beany
Time For Beany is an American children's television series, with puppets for characters, which was broadcast locally in Los Angeles starting on February 28, 1949 and nationally (by kinescope) by the improvised Paramount Television Network from 1950 to 1955. It was created by animator Bob Clampett, who later reused its main characters for the animated series Beany and Cecil. The show won three Primetime Emmy Awards for best children's show.
|Time for Beany|
Characters from left to right: Beany, Capitan Huffenpuff, Dishonest John, Hopalong Wong, Honey Bear, Cecil.
|Created by||Bob Clampett|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Running time||15 minutes|
|Original network||Paramount Television Network|
|Original release||1949 – 1955|
The principal characters were Beany, a plucky young boy who wears a beanie cap; the brave but dimwitted Cecil the Seasick Sea Serpent, who claimed to be 300 years old and 35 feet 3 inches tall; another serpent named Common Dragon (named after Carmen Dragon, a famous conductor); Beany's uncle, Captain Horatio K. (for Kermit) Huff'n'puff (whose name is a play on Horatio Hornblower), who would blow on the sails of the ship Leakin' Lena (see below) to make it go faster, familiarly called Uncle Captain; Dishonest John, a/k/a "D.J." whose cape and handlebar mustache identified him obviously as a villain; another sometimes villain named Dudley Nightshade (named after Deadly Nightshade, a poisonous member of the Solanaceae family); Tear-a-long the Dotted Lion (who always had a fast entrance and whose name is in reference to the phrase "tear along the dotted line"); Mouth Full of Teeth Keith (a lion with false teeth); and Hopalong Wong (a Chinese version of Hopalong Cassidy, a tough cowboy actor). Another character, a circus clown aptly named Clowny, appeared in early episodes but was later unused.
The principal voice actors and puppeteers were Daws Butler and Stan Freberg. The writers were Charles Shows, Bill Scott, and Lloyd Turner. The puppets, created by Maurice Seiderman, were presented against simple sets or crude background drawings. After Butler and Freberg quit the show during 1952 or 1953 Jim MacGeorge and Irv Shoemaker did the voice work and puppeting duties. Bob Clampett himself did the voice of Cecil for the puppet series after Freberg quit, and reprised his own voice for Cecil for the animated series Beany and Cecil during the 1960s.
Time for Beany recounted the exotic voyages and landfalls of the ship Leakin' Lena as commanded by the sometimes inept "Uncle" Captain Huffenpuff. The daily episodes, each fifteen minutes in length, frequently contained topical references, usually of a satirical nature. One episode portrayed President Harry S Truman in puppet form, accompanying Cecil's singing. Other characters spoofed popular entertainers; examples are Dinah Saur and The Red Skeleton, parodies of Dinah Shore and Red Skelton. Children could laugh at the silliness, and adults could laugh at the political and social satire.
Albert Einstein was a fan of the show. On one occasion, the physicist interrupted a high-level conference by announcing, "You will have to excuse me, gentlemen. It's Time for Beany." Musician and composer Frank Zappa was also a fan, as was Curly Howard, Harpo Marx and Brian Wilson.
- The Animaniacs segment "Pinky and the Brain" paid homage to the show. In the episode "Puppet Rulers", Pinky and the Brain had a puppet show called "The Meany Show" featuring Meany and Treacle (both voiced by Maurice LaMarche), as part of an unsuccessful scheme to gain loyal devotees in the distant future. Pinky and the Brain are mice in Einstein's laboratory during 1954, and the episode references Albert Einstein as a fan of Time for Beany.
- Science fiction writer Larry Niven created an alien race he named Pierson's Puppeteers. The creatures are so called because they have two one-eyed heads on the ends of tentacle-like necks, giving them a faint resemblance to Cecil the Seasick Sea Serpent. A member of this race plays a major role in Niven's novel Ringworld.
- Bob Clampett's Beany and Cecil: The Special Edition (Image Entertainment, 1999) (4 episodes)
- "Tested TV Programs at Prices You Can Afford" [1952 Paramount syndication ad], Broadcasting-Telecasting, 12 February 1952, 54. http://americanradiohistory.com/Archive-BC/BC-1951/BC-1951-02-12.pdf
- "OT: Bob Clampett's TIME FOR BEANY". Forums.goldenagecartoons.com. Retrieved 2012-09-27.
- "Today's Video Link". Newsfromme.com. Retrieved 2012-09-27.
- Freberg, Stan (1988). It Only Hurts When I Laugh. Times Books. ISBN 978-0-8129-1297-5.
- "Frank Zappa - Lost Interview - Beatles, Stones & Censorship (4-7)". YouTube. January 20, 2009. Retrieved December 23, 2010.