Time for Beany
Time for Beany is an American television series, with puppets for characters, which aired locally in Los Angeles starting on February 28, 1949 and nationally (via kinescope) on the improvised Paramount Television Network from 1950 to 1955. It was created by animator Bob Clampett, who later reused its core characters in the animated Beany and Cecil series. 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; 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, the pigheaded Captain Horatio K. (for Kermit) Huff'n'puff (whose name is a play on Horatio Hornblower), who would blow on the sails of the 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 clearly identified him as the 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 obvious reference to "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 rough and tough cowboy actor). Another character, a circus clown aptly named Clowny, appeared in early episodes but was later dropped.
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 left the show in 1952 or 1953 Jim MacGeorge and Irv Shoemaker handled the voice work and puppeting duties. Bob Clampett himself did the voice of Cecil for the puppet series after Freberg left, and reprised his own voice for Cecil for the animated series Beany and Cecil in the 1960s.
Time for Beany recounted the exotic voyages and landfalls of the ship Leakin' Lena under the at times inept command of "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. It was a show done at two levels, one for children who laughed at the silliness, and one for adults who laughed 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 held a puppet show called "The Meany Show" starring Meany and Treacle (both voiced by Maurice LaMarche), as part of an unsuccessful scheme to gain loyal followers in the distant future. Pinky and the Brain are mice in Einstein's laboratory in 1954, and the episode references Albert Einstein as a fan of Time for Beany.
- Science fiction writer Larry Niven created an alien race called 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 prominent 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.