Sunday, October 5, 2008

Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist & Friends

Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist are possibly Hanna-Barbera's strangest creations.

They're not strange because they are obscure, or creepy Addams Family-like creations. They're strange because they only appeared as supporting characters in three Hanna-Barbera shorts, never had a show of their own, and yet still managed to get their own comic book "series."

Let's take a look at the three Hanna-Barbera cartoons that Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist appeared in. For comparison sake I've included a frame grab of each character. This way you can see how the designs change from cartoon to cartoon.  Once upon a time I embedded a YouTube video of each cartoon, but they inevitably got yanked.  So now I've simply posted the title cards from each cartoon - you're on your own if you want to watch these somewhere.

The Evil family's first appearance in Surprised Party 12/03/1960



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Looking very green in Fraidy Cat Lion 02/20/1961



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The design of the "Evil" family changes once again in Chilly Chiller 10/6/1961


Junior seems to be the only one doing any science


It's funny, for a family named Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist, the toddler Junior, is the only one depicted doing any sort of "evil scientist" type stuff in any of their cartoon appearances.

All the Hanna-Barbera cartoons featuring Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist were written by the famous cartoon writer Michael Maltese. Michael Maltese worked with Chuck Jones on some of the most memorable Bugs Bunny cartoons, and it's here I suspect some of the roots of the J.Evil Scientist character began. Oh sure, the Addams Family single panel cartoon in The New Yorker are certainly the biggest influence (the Evil's were on on the tube years before the ABC TV show), but not the only I think.

Chuck Jones directed Hair Raising Hare in 1946. It was written by Ted Pierce, and featured a Evil Scientist without a name that looked and sounded exactly like Peter Lorre.

Hair Raising Hare 1946


In 1952 Jones directs Water, Water Every Hare which was written by Michael Maltese. The Evil Scientist in this cartoon no longer looks and sounds like Peter Lorre. Nope the Scientist is now short and greenish, and sounds like Boris Karloff. Although the Evil Scienti still has a flashing neon sign outside on his castle.

Water, Water Every Hair 1952


Take these two Evil Scientist characters mix together, take the "J" from Michigan J. Frog, from One Froggy Evening which is another cartoon written by Michael Maltese, and you have J. Evil Scientist.

So is that a total crackpot theory for the origins of Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist or what?

All 4 covers grouped in one convenient picture

Now we come to my exclusive addition to the internet - an entire Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist comic book story. Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist had four issues of thier own comic published right around Halloween time from 1963 to 1966.

However, I don't know which comic this story originally appeared in. "A Visit from Granny" was reprinted in a issue of a Flintstones comic from 1970. Here I present it to you in all its four page glory.





Well there you have it. It's a shame Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist never had their very own show. It's certainly fun to think what it might have been like. I don't know maybe some animation historian will turn up some lost footage or something one day about these almost forgotten characters.

If you wish to read more about Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist, you can check the Wiki entry,  fellow blogger I'm Learning To Share post, and last but certainly not least, there's a number of posts over on Monsterama.

UPDATE:  I've come across mysterious evidence of a lost Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist show, and I have the TV promo for it right here.

1 comment:

Jay Amabile said...

i love the bugs bunny cartoons you mentioned. Especially the one with Gossamer!

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