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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

A schtick is a terrible thing to waste...

(Here are some postings, originally sent as emails to Irwin Chusid and Don Brockway. The first was sent some months back, in reply to Chusid's emailed query: "who the f_ck is Puddy the Pup?" Irwin had seen several Castle Films reels featuring "Puddy" on eBay, but had never heard of the character.

The subsequent entries are more recent; Irwin and Don sent messages regarding the deaths of Thurl Ravenscroft (Tony the Tiger's voice as well as many Disney cartoon and ride voices) and the great Paul Winchell. We in the amateur comedy writing racket refer to the followup entries as "callbacks." Write that down.

There are all manner of contemporary references, the significance of which will surely fade with time, but we at Sport Spiel feel that this should not detract from their inestimable value as humorous documents of our era. The impact of these hilarious satires is blunted by their "anthology" presentation here, intended as they were to be read as a series of email messages in the context of related news items. However, this is part of the price you, reader, must pay for not being Irwin Chusid or Don Brockway. The entire sequence is, nonetheless, proudly presented below, immortalized forever in this noble amd justly famed web log.)


(found on ...odd how your subject line turns out to be spot-on:)


Feisty sidekick to Disso / Nance Studio's largely forgotten "Pity the Fool" character, Puddy also frolicked through two of his own shorts. Puddy was a unique - if bizarre - creation: a mutt with one front leg, one hind leg and an ever-tumescent "puddy." The central gag was Puddy's recurring shock and alarm whenever confronted with the fact that he was, in fact, a pup. Puddy, it seems, wanted to be a businessman but could never get his cockamamie schemes off the ground due to the revulsion he'd inspire in prospective clients. Each pitch Puddy offered would be met with the stock response: "You're a PUP! A no-good, two-legged HORNY ALBINO PUP! YECCH!" With this, Puddy would stammer "Me? A P--p-pup?" and freeze in terror, bringing the cartoon to an uncomfortable, abrupt and unsatisfying end.

In CIRCUS CAPERS Puddy attempts to sell jars of pickled capers outside a three-ring roadshow, but is repeatedly humiliated and mauled by goons in the employ of the circus. Eventually a "sympathetic" clown buys out his entire stock for pennies on the dollar, and Puddy watches helplessly as the briny treats become a huge hit with tots and parents alike. He realizes he is but a pup, and freezes in terror.

In FOOLISH FABLES, our hero tries to "one-up" Aesop by submitting his own "hep" morality tales to various publishers, all of whom send form rejection letters, leaving Puddy no option except the vanity press. As luck would have it, Puddy is successfully sued for plagiarism by the very same clown who'd double-crossed him in CIRCUS CAPERS. An embittered Puddy, realizing he is a mere pup, feezes in terror.

Upon the theatrical failure of these shorts, the character was retired until a surprise revival on late 50's children's TV. "Garbageman Gus" Pinzarrone hosted "Puddy the Pup Playhouse" for 2 seasons on local Philadelphia station WYOY. Never popular, the show endlessly rotated the same two shorts day after dreary day, with live intros by the charmless and belligerent Pinzarrone amid constant advertising for the host's own hardware store. In every respect, the venture was as ill-considered and futile as any cooked up by Puddy himself. Irony not being Gus Pinzarrone's longsuit, he spent long stretches of the show's final episodes weeping silently on air.

Despite all the gloom (obviously) implicit in "Puddy the Pup Playhouse", it was the only program broadcast locally at 5:30 am, so many young "early risers" who endured the show in their formative years can still ruefully recall, word for word, the Puddy The Pup theme...



Desmond “Hap” Blodgett, 92, Cartoon Voice Artist

On Monday, June 27, Veteran voice actor / marketer Hap Blodgett, professed bit performer in RKO comedy shorts and self-described occasional talk show guest evidently held a press conference in which he claimed to be “very much alive” and well. According to an alleged transcript of the obscure press conference, Blodgett feels that the recent deaths of Thurl Ravenscroft and Paul Winchell have left a void he's eager to fill. Blodgett: “These guys were a bunch of damn homos, all of them. Whiners. Pussyboys. Good riddance to ‘em. I’m here, and randy as a he-goat. It’s these vegetable shakes what do the trick. I can do at least 4 voices. Let me at ‘em! I’m entitled to make a living too, I guess!”

Although a check with turns up no mentions for Mr. Blodgett, the mysteriously forwarded transcript cites his as the voice of “Puddy the Pup,” the star of an apparently short-lived series of animated shorts from the 1930s. “I WAS Puddy the freakin’ Pup, don’t let anyone bullshit ya” Blodgett avers. “Good Ol’ Hap” - as he refers to himself in the frequently incoherent transcript - supposedly left the entertainment business after an unpleasant on-air fracas (he is unspecific as to the date or nature of the so-called incident) with “that scummer” Arthur Godfrey. “The best years of my life, and that fat drunk ruined me! RUINED me”

Thereafter, he insists, he eked out a living selling “Huge Mouth Sammy Sturgeon,” a novelty wooden fish with a series of detachable “word balloons” imprinted with parody lyrics of popular tunes. “It was a million dollar idea,” he purports, “we just didn’t have the bugs worked out, and then these two-bit son-of-a-bitches did the same thing, only with sound.” A footnote on this transcript offers a sketch of Blodgett's original, rejected patent, to be faxed to any interested parties upon request. When asked about the transcript, noted entertainment writer Leonard Maltin replied “I have to admit I’m stymied; neither Mr. Blodgett nor his cartoon character have ever come to my attention, but I’m glad to hear he is hale and hearty, and uh… I wish him well.”

Blodgett continues his “press conference” with a succession of mysteriously lecherous, obviously fantasy-based references to 50s star Dagmar, and concludes with a challenge to Casey Kasem, whom he refers to as a “snake in the goddamn grass.” After goading the famed radio and television personality to “put up or shut up” Blodgett ends the transcript with an abrupt “Ah, what’s the use… piss on you all.” Kasem, contacted by telephone for comment, simply sighed and said, “The world is full of troubled people. Whoever this ‘Happy Whatshisname’ is, he must have me confused with someone else. Good day.” Repeated attempts to contact the source of the transcript for further information were considered, but rejected in favor of watching a little television before bed.



Sally Goodin, correspondent
Hernando, Florida, June 28

It’s been a tough summer so far on the Florida panhandle, and things took a turn for the worse yesterday with a multiple shark attack that left 3 dead and 1 wounded. The incident occurred during an outing of the “Cartoon Voiceover League, ” a fraternal organization of retirees from the animation industry. The 4-member “league” met here to enjoy the sun and surf at Foley Park, where, in the words of survivor Agnes Trubell (68), “An awful sound came up from the beach. I was at the concession stand ordering lunch while the others decided to take a little dip… I heard what sounded like 30 or 40 people screaming, but you must understand, these were very gifted artists with a wide repertoire of voices.”

The “30 or 40” voices Ms. Trubell heard actually belonged to Sam DeBucca (73), Jennifer Armbruster (81), and Desmond Blodgett (92), her three companions and fellow voiceover artists. “We picked Foley Park because nobody ever goes there anymore and we like our privacy.” A fatal decision, as the beach had recently been closed due to shark activity. “You’d think the guy at the hot dog truck would’ve said something” kvetched Ms. Trubell. Hector Attilio, the concession vendor, claims “I was happy for the business. I never know nothing about no sharks, but it has been a slow couple weeks since they put them chains up.”

DeBucca and Armbruster sustained major injuries to the remaining parts of their bodies, and later died at Shriner’s Memorial Hospital, babbling very convincing animal sounds and foreign dialects as death overtook them. Mr. Blodgett’s remains were never recovered, and there is in fact some doubt as to his existence. “I only see 2 people go in the water,” said Attilio, “but what do I know? Sounded like many more. Very impressive.”

Ms. Trubell suffered minor injuries when, running to the shore in an attempt to save her companions, she fell, poking her good eye with the stick of a corn dog intended for Mr. DeBucca. “I’ll be fine,” she bravely confided, “I only wish Sammy could have tasted that corn dog. He loved corn dogs. Like a man possessed, he was, when he saw a corn dog…” she rambled, “…never did you see a happier man than Sammy DeBucca with a corn dog in his mitt!” The stick, still partially embedded in the victim’s eye, stood as a poignant reminder of a nostalgic weekend gone horribly wrong.

Detective Tony Rexroth of the Hernando Police Department told reporters: “These people were playing with fire, so to speak, even though it was water, not fire, really…” the officer metaphorized “…as far as the alleged 3rd fatality, we are mounting a full investigation as to the whereabouts of his remains, if any.” According to the officer, only Ms. Trubell claims any knowledge of his existence, and she has alerted the HPD to look for a “Dutch father and son team” who, while accosting a teenage vacationer, had earlier given the CVL group directions to the beach. “A bum steer they gave us,” complained Trubell, “But they spoke to 'Hap.' They can back me up.” Neither the Dutchmen nor the accosted female teen have been located at this time. “These others, like Mr. Blodgett, may or may not exist,” offered Detective Rexroth “…this old gal has one hell of an imagination to go with her spectacular repertoire of character voices, and with the recent rash of teenager abductions connected with visiting Netherlanders, we get a lot of these shaggy dog tales… not that there is any actual canine involvement in this incident… it’s a figure of speech.”

A memorial service will be held at the Hernando “Olive Garden” restaurant upon the first Wednesday following Ms. Trubell’s release from the hospital. “We would all often eat… all of us” she said, rather obviously, “Especially Sammy… he’d eat and eat. Corn dogs, especially.” Mourners will be advised to arrive before 3 pm: “Wednesdays is ‘senior lunchtime special’ over there…” confirms Mr. Attilio “…they load the old folks up with pasta and these huge salads for like half price. How can I compete?”

“He can’t; none of the independent food service people can, really. They have a lock on the old-timers, that’s for sure.” stated a grim Officer Rexroth.

A Tsunami, graded as 5.3 on the Tsorinsen Tscale, pummeled the coastal city of Okidoki Japan in the early hours of Wednesday morning, according to news agency Boshnet. Fatalities were limited in this largely abandoned industrial area, but damage to real estate was extensive. Eyewitness accounts describe a heartbreaking scene of utter devastation:
“Many large building
Consumed by raging water
Property all gone”

Said local resident Omei Akinbaku when interviewed by local television reporters. Confirmed deaths at this time appear limited to approximately 23 “voice artists” employed at the Joto animation studio, who were holding a memorial sunrise vigil for several U.S. colleagues who died in an appalling shark attack earlier in the week.

The Japanese government has decreed a nationwide moment of silence at the discretion and convenience of each individual citizen:
“In your own way, friends,
Consider the lost voices,
So loved through cartoons.”

The loss of these performers adds “insult to injury” in an already devastating scenario of destroyed buildings and equipment; studio heads wept openly as they trudged through soggy former soundstages, furiously punching at calculators and conferring with insurance agents on their cell phones.

Tragic as the property loss is, there is also a personal dimension to the 23 human fatalities, particularly within the ranks of their profession, already rocked by so many recent losses. Sosei Allovus, the half-American daughter of lost voice artist Wishei Hadawatamelon, choked back tears as she offered a touching comment:
“Bad time for children.
Anime mute now, as if
Pre-Steamboat Willie.”

Ms. Allovus, it may be recalled, recently made news when she narrowly escaped abduction by a yet to be apprehended father and son team from Vootoreijnie, Holland.

(Reported by J. Blair for Boshnet News Service)

Who the fuck is Puddy the Pup? Posted by Hello