1960s

Television: Beany and Cecil

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

When I was a kid there was always this peculiar doll in my room; he wore a propeller hat and blue overalls. My mother explained to me that this was Beany Boy and he was from a cartoon she watched as a child and that's all I knew. One day, years later, Mom happened upon a tape of Beany and Cecil and bought it to show me her favorite cartoon from the early 60s.

Beany Boy Doll


Expecting something along the lines of Bugs Bunny, my mind was blown by this cartoon. Filled with slapstick, puns and obscure, cool, cultural references that were likely beyond any child of the 60s, this cartoon was neat!

Originally, in 1949, Beany Boy and his pal Cecil the Sea-Sick Sea Serpent could be found as part of a televised puppet show. Ten years later the characters reappeared as part of an animated series that was featured on Matty's Funday Funnies and eventually got its own show entitled Beany & Cecil.

Here is the opening for the show, note that Cecil, though animated, is actually still a sock puppet. In fact an animated forearm often appears below Cecil, a throw back to how the show got its start.



The cartoon is based around the adventures of crew of the Leakin' Lena as they discover new civilizations and search for artifacts. Often the ship is pursued by Dishonest John, the quintessential villain whose business slogan, "dirty deeds done dirt cheap" was inspiration for the AC/DC song by the same name.
Dishonest John and Cecil


Besides the title characters and the villain, there are a host of other interesting members of the Beany and Cecil cast. One of my favorites is Go Man Van Gogh who is a beatnik. Check out Go Man in this clip and pay close attention to the backgrounds and music in this clip, they're wild!


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