Sunday, April 14, 2013

From Comics to Toons: Snuffy Smith (1961)

Several months back, we reviewed two-thirds of the King Features Trilogy, those being Krazy Kat & Beetle Bailey. Now, it's time to discuss the other part of that anthology package, Snuffy Smith.

Originally a supporting character behind Billy DeBeck's Barney Google, Snuffy proved so popular, such that he pushed his good buddy Barney off the comics pages, leaving him with just the occasional guest appearance in what used to be his own star vehicle. To that end, when Snuffy was chosen by King Features, Barney ended up getting 2nd billing, but only appeared in a handful of shorts, including the 1961 pilot, "Snuffy's Turf Luck", which ultimately made it to air a couple of years later. 50 cartoons in all were produced between 1961-4, with the omnipresent Paul Frees voicing both Barney & Snuffy, and, in "Turf Luck", the sheriff and some other supporting characters. So, yes, that is Paul, as Snuffy, singing the theme song.

We bring up "Turf Luck" simply because there has been a recent Barney sighting, as he guest-starred, along with his beloved race horse, Spark Plug, in the series finale of IDW's Popeye maxiseries, billed as a first-ever team-up of the two comic strip legends. Right now, however, it's post time for "Snuffy's Turf Luck".

It's just a coincidence that when this finally saw the light of airtime, it was after primetime television had been indundated with rural comedies such as The Beverly Hillbillies and The Real McCoys.

Rating: B-.

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