Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Perry Gunite

Does anyone remember Perry Gunite from the first season of the Flintstones? I love that character! The cool detective with Cary Grant's voice, a funny walk who was always surrounded by hot chicks?

In 1985 Bill Hanna told me I could have any job I wanted in the whole studio, so I said "Bill, I would like the same opportunity that Fred Quimby gave you and Joe back in 1939. The opportunity to write and direct my own cartoons without any interference from story editors or department heads. I want to have all the creative work done by cartoonists and I want to use a character you created from the Flintstones. I want to do this the old way - the way you guys did it that won you so much love and awards and fame in the first place!"

Bill jumped out of his seat and smashed his fist on his desk. "Damn right!! That's the way to do it! Like we used to do!" Then he switched on his intercom and called the head of the writing department:"Jeannie, get in here. John has a great idea he wants to tell you about!"

Then Jean McCurdy (sp?) skulked in, her tail between her legs. "Hello Mr. Hanna."

Bill was beaming. "Sit down Jeannie. You know John here don't you?"

She shot me a less than friendly glance and squeezed out "Yes, Mr. Hanna, between her gritted teeth."

Then Bill leaned in real close to her and said, "John has a great idea and I want him to tell it to you. Go ahead John."

I cracked out..."Uh...well, you see Jean, I wanna do a cartoon series the old way, without scripts and have all the artists write the stories on storyboards like Bill and Joe did ."
Bill's eyes lit up and he practically sat in Jean's lap with glee. "Well what do you think of that idea, Jeannie?" He wiggled his eyes at her.

She squinted and swallowed hard and gurgled, "I think it's a great idea Mr. Hanna."

Bill said "I knew you'd like it! Yeah John wants to make the cartoons himself! Without having to run it through your department! Well you can go now. I just wanted to be sure you'd approve!"

Jean scurried out of the room and Bill shook my hand with great vigor.

"John, you bring me your ideas anytime. I haven't had this much fun in years!"

So he set me up in a trailor in the parking lot and let me hire Mary Fitzgerald to work with. We did a presentation with some art and wrote some stories. Charlie Howell - one of the writers in Jean's department who was a friend of mine contributed too. And so did Tom Minton. It was fun for the whole 2 weeks it lasted!Please excuse my 1985 pitch-writing style above. God, so cheesy, but that's how I thought you had to sell stuff then.

This last story is actually written in much more detail somewhere. I'll have to dig it up.

tomorrow maybe:
Jetson stories


  1. Hey John - any ideas who animated Perry Gunite's walk? My vote goes to Carlo Vinci.

  2. John.

    This is so freaking awesome. Lifing in FInland, where this kind of pitching was never practiced, as the popular culture fallout didn't reach us soon enough, how were you able to do it? Seriously, this is so cool and part of me wants to get the script written so atl east i could animate few scenes myself, just to get this thing done!

  3. All three stories raised a smile, and the art forgery one got a few solid laughs. Imagine what it could do if it was more than just ink on paper!

    Beautiful pictures as well.

  4. so, what happened at the end of 2 weeks ?

  5. Guys like Charlie Howell and Gordon Bressack remind me of some of the rock stars of the 70s

    they may not have been where they were for the right reasons, but they were honest about what they did and the level of talent they had was genuine talent, not the same "talent" that most cartoon writers have.

  6. 1985! Gawd, animation just about stank on ice. This show would have been a breath of fresh air and probably had the same legs as The Simpsons - but instead, some executive managed to shitcan the whole thing. Thank goodness it's 2009, where there are other possibilities.

  7. I don't remember any Perry Gunite but this is pretty interesting! Ii hope you have some secret episodes to share!

  8. That would have been a good cartoon.Got anymore Hanna-Barbera stories?

  9. Pretty sad this never made it to the screen. I wonder if there's any hope for it? I don't really know how things in "the industry" go, but it would be a shame for the concept to just rot.

  10. Kirk Rockless... hilarious. That's a really great caricature of Mr. Douglas too.

  11. Compared to what they actually did spin out of the Flintstones, this would have been high art. I'm sure you would have brought back Kirk Rockless a few more times.

    It does seem like something's missing here though. How we got from sitting at Bill Hanna's desk as he offers practically any job in the place to "while it lasted" seems to gloss over a point or two. And I can't even get sitting at his desk in the first place, I guess to me just getting noticed by such a figure is like the petrified brazil nut of tough nuts to crack.

    I know even sweets deals can sour quickly in the show biz, but how do you go from fist pounding DAMN RIGHTs from the big cheese to lasting two weeks? Did you accidentally bean him with a coffee mug? Go for a high five but miss and slap him in the kisser?

  12. Seems like you forgot someone. I wonder who?

  13. Holy Hokey Shootmamas! Hanna Barbera/Warner/Whatever it's Called Now could still use a show like this! You should try tossing it at them again, I'm sure they've been scratching their heads for years on what to do with the Flintstones franchise. I mean heck, they let a Duck Dodgers spinoff show happen, and as much as I love Daffy (and that Green Lantern episode), I think this could make for a much more entertaining ride.

  14. Babs Borax is adorable! I'd watch the show just to see her.

  15. Perry Gunite is actually mentioned in several epsiodes of the original series. In "Alvin Brickrock Presents" Arnold the paperboy mentions a comic book called "Perry Gunite and the Bald Blonde Caper". If you were ever to get to do this series, as you should (Cartoon Network should beg for it), you'd have to make an episode with that title! Gives a lot to work with. Also, you could have Arnold as a recurring character, a wannabe detective as he was always interested in detective work, and as a nod to the original he could constantly change age and appearance.

  16. I'm surprised that NOBODY brought up Perry's debut./\

    Perry Gunite [voiced by John Stephenson aka Mr.Slate] was a character in "Love Letters on the Rocks" [1961, 1st season.] It's been avaible since 2004 on WHV's "Flinstones [Hanna-Barbera collection] Volume 1 [1960=1961]".