The classic holiday trilogy became a Chicago tradition as they were featured on WGN-TVs Garfield Goose and Friends, Bozos Circus, and later WGN Morning News and Bozo, Gar & Ray: WGN TV Classics, bringing joy to millions of viewers for over half a century.
HARDROCK, COCO AND JOE, THE THREE LITTLE DWARFS
Oh-lee-o-lay-dee, o-lay-dee-I-oh I'm Hardrock! I'm Coco! I'm Joe!
On December 18, 1956, WGN-TVs Garfield Goose and Friends introduced Chicago area children to Santa Claus three favorite elves, Hardrock, Coco and Joe. At two-feet-high, Hardrock drove Santas sleigh while Coco navigated and Joe tagged along for fun. To create the animated short or song cartoonette, Hill & Range Songs hired Centaur Productions. The company was established in the early 1950s by Wah Ming Chang, a sculptor in Walt Disneys Effects and Model Department who created the model of Pinocchio; and George Pal, a producer and Academy Award nominee. The shorts were produced in black-and-white using stop-motion animation, a cinematic process that brings figures or puppets to life by minutely reposing and photographing them frame-by-frame, resulting as fluid movement on screen.
Bringing joy to ev'ry girl and boy!
On December 28, 1953, Chicago area kids were introduced to the whimsical story of Suzy Snowflake tap, tap, tappin on every windowpane, seen on Garfield Goose and Friends then on WBBM-TV. Like Hardrock, Coco and Joe, Suzy too was brought to life by the stop-motion animators of Centaur Productions. Norma Zimmer was Suzy's voice and the song was sung by The Norman Luboff Choir, a premier studio group who recorded with well-known artists, such as Frank Sinatra and Harry Belafonte.
FROSTY THE SNOWMAN
Thumpety Thump, Thumpety Thump!
The holiday season wouldnt be complete without the jolly, happy soul of Frosty the Snowman. Chicago area viewers were introduced to Frosty in December 1953 as he ran over the hills of snow jing-jing! Frosty the Snowman was produced for Hill & Range Songs by UPA (United Productions of America), a studio comprised of animation veterans with a new approach to cartoons, which focused on contemporary design and stylized movement (which ushered in the limited animation associated with TV cartoons). UPAs most famous cinematic creations were Mr. Magoo, Gerald McBoing Boing and the Dick Tracy cartoons.
Hippety Hop down the bunny trail!
Peter Cottontail, the jazzy cartoon short about that cool little bunny giving baskets full of Easter joy, has not been available to the public since its original airing in the 1950s. Like Frosty the Snowman, Peter Cottontail was also made by UPA. Together, they provide a great example of 50s animation and design, while exemplifying the idea of timeless entertainment.
ALL PROCEEDS BENEFIT THE MUSEUM OF BROADCAST COMMUNICATIONS.