After Jay Ward gave us Rocky and Bullwinkle, he created a trippy cartoon about a frog, a fox, and a bear called Hoppity Hooper. It almost never airs any more, and for that matter neither does the original Rocky and Bullwinkle,, but Hoppity Hooper had the same satiric and even cynical edge that Ward used in his more successful creation. In this pilot episode, Hoppity meets Uncle Waldo, a con man who eventually convinces Hoppity that he’s his long lost uncle. Fillmore is Waldo’s none-too-bright sidekick, and they find themselves a get-rich-quick scheme …. and a whole lot of trouble:
Cartoon enthusiasts might recognize two voices. The great Hans Conried played Uncle Waldo, while Paul Frees provided the narration, just as he did for Bullwinkle and the holiday cartoon Santa Claus is Coming to Town.
As I recall, Hoppity Hooper‘s plots got more and more unusual, which probably didn’t lend itself to the elementary school set and likely led to its retirement to cartoon oblivion. Even when I was a kid, this played on our local UHF channel rather than the more established TV stations in Los Angeles. For those who remember Hoppity, this YouTube discovery will be a pleasant flashback.
Update: How trippy did it get? Check out this spoof of The Twilight Zone and see for yourself. Frees does his best Rod Serling in this one.