Beany and Cecil

Beany and Cecil was an animated cartoon series that ran for the first time on February 28, 1949. On January 6, 1962, the series was rebroadcast as Matty's Funday Funnies with Beany and Cecil (for "Matty Mattel" the animated spokesperson for its primary sponsor Mattel Toys) which was later retitled "The Beany and Cecil Show", which aired during prime time on Saturdays, on ABC Television. The newer cartoons replaced the Famous Studios cartoons of Casper the Friendly Ghost and Little Audrey among others packaged under the previous title Matty's Funday Funnies. Beany and Cecil was created by Bob Clampett after he left Warner Bros. (where he had been directing theatrical cartoon shorts). Clampett created Cecil as a boy after seeing the top half of the dinosaur swimming from the water at the end of The Lost World. Clampett originally created the series as a puppet show called Time for Beany, which ran from 1949 to 1954. Time for Beany featured the talents of veteran voice actors Stan Freberg as Cecil and Dishonest John and Daws Butler as Beany and Uncle Captain. Clampett revived the series in the 1960s in animated form, though Freberg and Butler did not reprise their roles.

Prior to the animated series, but concurrent with the puppet show, Clampett created a comic-book series of Beany and Cecil adventures for Dell comics. These remain one of a few rare instances of a classic animator's drawings in the context of sequential comic art.

Beany and Cecil, the animated version, ran in prime time during the 1962 TV season, and the 26 shows (including 78 cartoons) were then repeated on Saturday mornings for the next five years. The cartoon featured Beany, a boy, and Cecil the Sea-Sick Sea Serpent embarking on a series of adventures, often to discover ancient civilizations and artifacts. These escapades were rife with cartoon slapstick and countless puns.

The show was revived in 1988 by DiC. Only eight episodes were ever made, and only five episodes ever aired. This incarnation of the show was produced and directed by John Kricfalusi, who would later create Ren and Stimpy.


Beany, a young, cherub-faced boy with a propeller beanie that allows him to fly (the "Beanycopter", complete with helmet and propeller, became a popularly marketed novelty). Beany is a good-hearted, upbeat lad, and is somewhat obnoxious at the same time. In most episodes, Beany would be kidnapped by the villain, crying "Help, Cecil! Help!" to which Cecil would reply "I'm comin', Beany-boy!" as he raced to the rescue. This has become something of a catchphrase. Beany was voiced by Jim MacGeorge in the original animated series, and by Mark Hildreth in the 1988 revival.

Cecil, (or "Cecil the seasick sea-serpent") a large green sea serpent with a slight lisp, is fiercely loyal to Beany but not terribly bright. Cecil's trusting good nature invariably winds up with him being taken advantage of by the bad people, and he often ends up absorbing a great amount of physical abuse (getting smashed flat, losing his head, having his skin burned off, being shattered to pieces), all within the laws of cartoon physics. The end of Cecil's tail was never seen; it always extended off-screen, or was hidden behind an obstacle. This is likely a joking reference to the original Cecil, a hand puppet whose tail was likewise hidden (because it didn't exist). Cecil was voiced by Irv Shoemaker in the original series, and by Billy West in the revival.

Cecil also has a superhero alter-ego known as Super-Cecil. In this guise, he wears a modified Superman shirt (complete with cape).

Captain Horatio Huffenpuff, also called "Uncle Captain", is Beany's kindly uncle and the Captain of the Leakin' Lena, which takes the pals from one destination to the other. The Captain is always willing to instruct Beany and Cecil on their latest assignment, but refuses to put himself in any personal jeopardy, locking himself below deck for most of the episodes. Uncle Captain was voiced by Jim MacGeorge in both series.

Crowy, the navigator of the Leakin' Lena. He is a crow, and unsurprisingly spends most of his time in the crow's nest. He speaks in a squawky voice and has a tendency to faint dead away whenever the ship encounters some sort of hazard.

Dishonest John, the villain of the piece. He is dressed like a Simon Legree character, and he is constantly scheming to foil Beany and Cecil's adventures. His catch phrase is a sinister "Nya ha ha!". Whenever Dishonest John's schemes are revealed to the heroes, Cecil tends to respond with an aghast "What the heck! D.J., you dirty guy!". When Dishonest John receives his inevitable come-uppance, it is usually just as painful as the abuse Cecil has endured in the rest of the episode. Dishonest John also has a supervillain alter-ego known as The Bilious Beetle. In this guise, he can fly under his own power and sports a painful stinger. "D.J." also appeared disguised on occasion as the mechanical robotic octopus "Billy The Squid" usually in haphazard attempts to simulate seastorms to scare away the crew of the Leakin' Lena when on a treasure hunt. He was voiced by Irv Shoemaker in the original series, and by Maurice LaMarche in the revival.

Go Man Van Gogh, a stereotypical cartoon beatnik whom lives in the jungle and often paints various things with his paintbrush, including paintings, vines to swing on, and fake backdrops to fool enemies (ala Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner). He also often plays a set of bongo drums, and scat-sings and speaks with various beatnik stereotype slang. Though he did not appear in many episodes, he was somewhat of a recurring character. He was originally voiced by Lord Buckley, but was replaced with Scatman Crothers (famous for voicing Hong Kong Phooey) following Buckley's passing.


  • One episode ("Trip to the Schmoon") had the Leakin' Lena travel in space to "the moon's moon", called the Schmoon, from Yiddish humorous formation. To present the passage as unearthly, the music played as the ship travelled was Tchaikovsky's instantly recognizable celesta piece, Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy, from The Nutcracker. Other famed pieces of the Nutcracker were used in the series as musical interludes such as the Chinese Dance and Dance of the Reed-Flutes. Many other well-known classical music pieces were featured in the show as well, including The William Tell Overture, Ride of the Valkyries and Flight of the Bumblebee.
  • Beanie and Cecil, The Jetsons, and The Flintstones, were the first three color television series on the ABC television network, appearing in September 1962.



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