Secret Squirrel

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Secret Squirrel
Secretsquirrl.jpg
Title card
GenreComedy
Adventure
Created byWilliam Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Written byMichael Maltese
Dalton Sandifer
Warren Foster
Tony Benedict
Directed byWilliam Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Voices ofMel Blanc
Paul Frees
Theme music composerTed Nichols
ComposersTed Nichols
Hoyt Curtin (stock music, uncredited)
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes26 (original)
13 (revived)
39 (total)
Production
ProducersWilliam Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Production companyHanna-Barbera Productions
DistributorScreen Gems (original)
Turner Entertainment (revival)
Release
Original networkNBC
TBS (revived)

Secret Squirrel is a cartoon character created by Hanna-Barbera and also the name of his segment in The Atom Ant/Secret Squirrel Show, which debuted in 1965. He was given his own show in 1966, but was reunited with Atom Ant for one more season in 1967. Secret first appeared in a prime-time animated special called The World of Secret Squirrel and Atom Ant, which aired on NBC on September 12, 1965.[1] The show's half-hours included three individual cartoon segments: "Secret Squirrel", "Squiddly Diddly" and "Winsome Witch".[2]

Secret Squirrel was a parody of the spy genre, and most of the shorts parodied elements of the James Bond films. Secret Squirrel was also known as "Agent 000". In 1993, 13 new Secret Squirrel cartoons appeared in-between the 2 Stupid Dogs episodes, with the updated title Super Secret Secret Squirrel and a new cast.

Character profile[edit]

Secret Squirrel (voiced with a slight lisp by Mel Blanc) serves as a secret agent, taking orders from his superior, Double-Q (voiced by Paul Frees), of the International Sneaky Service. His designation is Agent 000.[3] Secret Squirrel is assisted in his adventures by his fez-wearing, bespectacled sidekick Morocco Mole (also voiced by Paul Frees impersonating Peter Lorre).[4]

The pair fights crime and evil enemy agents using cunning and a variety of spy gadgets, including a machine gun cane, a collection of weapons kept inside Secret's trench coat which is also bulletproof, and a variety of devices concealed in his purple fedora (which has eye holes cut in it and which he almost never removes).

Secret's recurring archenemy is Yellow Pinkie (also voiced by Frees), a parody of both Auric Goldfinger from Goldfinger and of Sydney Greenstreet's portrayal of the Kasper Gutman character from Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon. He also tangles with such enemies as the Masked Granny, Captain Kidd and Robin Hood and his Merry Mugs.[5] The last three episodes introduced Hi-Spy (again voiced by Frees), a master of scientific criminology.

Super Secret Secret Squirrel[edit]

The 1993 revival cartoons saw several changes in characters and artwork compared to the 1960s original cartoons, including the recasting of Jess Harnell as Secret and Jim Cummings as Morocco. All the characters inhabiting the world are now animals (except for a gingerbread man and a quark). Double-Q (voiced by Tony Jay), now simply called "the Chief" in these shorts, is a Cape buffalo with a cherry-scented calabash pipe. Yellow Pinkie has been replaced by a sea lion named Goldflipper (voiced by Jim Cummings) who, despite being Secret's archenemy, only appears in one episode of the revival series. These new cartoons also introduce Penny (voiced by Kimmy Robertson), a female squirrel assistant to the Chief (à la Miss Moneypenny) and a possible love interest for Secret (as hinted at in the episodes "Queen Bea" and "Quark").

Secret's art design remains relatively intact, but looks more modern than the original 1960s version of the character, featuring hard lines and sharper angles, giving him a leaner and more slick style. His trademark hat looks slightly different. Secret also loses his signature lisp given to him by Blanc that was similar to that of Sylvester from the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons from Warner Bros. (although it was paid homage to in the episode "Goldflipper", where Secret spoke with it to mock Morocco's sudden lisp in that episode). Harnell's portrayal gives Secret a suave voice in reminiscence of him sometimes breaking into his Wakko Warner voice without the Scouse accent, most notably when he is screaming.

Morocco's color scheme has been redesigned, his wardrobe's palette has been swapped and he wears sunglasses. Cummings' portrayal of Morocco makes his voice less of a Peter Lorre impersonation: the Moroccan accent remains, but the voice is higher-pitched. He also now has an evil twin brother named Scirocco Mole (voiced by Jess Harnell).

Apparently, in the 1993 revival cartoons, the personalities and traits of Secret and Morocco have been switched as opposed to their original 1960s personalities. Morocco was more of a chauffeur and used to be quite intelligent, while in the revival cartoons he is more independent as a sidekick, becomes more of a bungler and is more childlike, often getting injured (which was Secret's department in the 1960s series), and often using his catchphrase "Okay, Secret!". Secret was portrayed as a bumbling secret agent in the original, while in the revival version he is actually capable of doing his job right. He can be both a workaholic and more easygoing, while still able to get the job done. Like the original, Secret has a gadget for almost everything, but also relies on his mixed martial arts combat skills. Most of his injuries either come from his job or from Morocco's bumbling.

The Chief speaks with a British accent now, as evidenced by his catchphrase "Good show, Secret."

Despite the changes, the revival cartoons still had a big fan base and a cult following, with the conventional wisdom that the revival cartoons have superior humor compared to the somewhat drab original cartoons.

Broadcast history[edit]

The series' debut was on September 12, 1965 in The World of Atom Ant and Secret Squirrel prime-time special on NBC.

The original series, The Atom Ant/Secret Squirrel Show, was broadcast from October 2, 1965 to September 2, 1967. Secret Squirrel had his own show in 1966 and was then reunited with Atom Ant in 1967-1968. Episodes were broadcast in syndication and as part of The Banana Splits variety and compilation series.

Super Secret Secret Squirrel[edit]

Secret Squirrel and Morocco Mole were revived in 1993 for back-up segments of TBS Superstation's animated series 2 Stupid Dogs. Titled Super Secret Secret Squirrel, these new cartoons featured Secret Squirrel (voiced by Jess Harnell) and Morocco Mole (voiced by Jim Cummings). 2 Stupid Dogs creator Donovan Cook was asked by then-new Hanna-Barbera president Fred Seibert to choose a classic studio cartoon to revive within the main show, and Super Secret Secret Squirrel was the result. The reason to revive Secret Squirrel was because it was one of Cook's favorite Hanna-Barbera shows.

After Cook guided the updated design with artists Paul Rudish and Craig McCracken, supervising producer Larry Huber, the "adult supervision" assigned by Seibert, was responsible for all further aspects of these cartoons. He assigned animator David Feiss to the storyboards.

This new series seems to have fallen under the villain of the week formula. With the exception of "Egg" and "Agent Penny", every episode is named after the enemies Secret and Morocco encounter.

Secret and Morocco make an appearance in a 2 Stupid Dogs episode titled "Let's Make a Right Price", in which they star in a commercial for Granny's Joybone Doggie Treats. The Little Dog and the Big Dog from 2 Stupid Dogs appear in the Super Secret Secret Squirrel episode "Scirocco Mole" as contestants in a game show.

Voices[edit]

  • Mel Blanc as Secret Squirrel (original series)
  • Paul Frees as Morocco Mole, Double-Q, Yellow Pinkie, Hi-Spy (original series)
  • Jim Cummings as Morocco Mole, Goldflipper (Super Secret Secret Squirrel)
  • Jess Harnell as Secret Squirrel, Scirocco Mole (Super Secret Secret Squirrel)
  • Tony Jay as Double-Q/the Chief (Super Secret Secret Squirrel)
  • Kimmy Robertson as Penny (Super Secret Secret Squirrel)

Production credits[edit]

  • Produced and Directed by: William Hanna and Joseph Barbera
  • Story: Tony Benedict, Warren Foster, Dalton Sandifer, Michael Maltese
  • Musical Direction: Ted Nichols
  • Story Direction: Alex Lovy, Lewis Marshall, Paul Sommer, Art Scott, Steve Clark, Art Davis
  • Voices: Mel Blanc, Paul Frees, John Stephenson, Jean Vander Pyl, Henry Corden, Don Messick, Allan Melvin, Howard Morris, Janet Waldo, Dick Beals, Gerry Johnson
  • Animation Direction: Charles A. Nichols
  • Production Supervision: Howard Hanson
  • Animation: Ray Abrams, Ed Barge, Robert Bemiller, O.E. "Lefty" Callahan, Emil Carle, Hugh Fraser, George Germanetti, George Goepper, Anatole Kirsanoff, Hicks Lokey, Kenneth Muse, George Nicholas, Don Schloat, Larry Silverman, Ralph Somerville, John Sparey
  • Layout: Cornelius "Corny" Cole, Jerry Eisenberg, Jack Huber, Lance Nolley, Bill Perez, Tony Sgroi, Bob Singer, Iwao Takamoto
  • Background: Fernando Arce, Ron Dias, Rene Garcia, Bob Gentle, F. Montealegre, Richard H. Thomas
  • Camera: Gary Milton, Roger Sims, Clarence Wogatzke, Norman Stainback, John Pratt, John Aardal
  • Sound Direction: Richard Olson, William Getty
  • Secret Squirrel
  • Approved MPAA Certification No. 21205
  • RCA Sound Recording
  • This Picture Made Under the Jurisdiction of IATSE-IA Affiliated with A.F.L.-C.I.O.
  • A Hanna-Barbera Production

Episodes[edit]

Season Episodes Originally aired
Season premiere Season finale
1 20 October 2, 1965 (1965-10-02) February 12, 1966 (1966-02-12)
2 6 September 10, 1966 (1966-09-10) November 26, 1966 (1966-11-26)
Super Secret Secret Squirrel 13 September 5, 1993 (1993-09-05) November 28, 1993 (1993-11-28)

Other appearances[edit]

  • Secret Squirrel and Morocco Mole in their original (1965) forms appear as part of the cast in Yogi's Ark Lark and its spin-off series Yogi's Gang, but the two characters have no dialogue in either the TV movie or the TV series.
  • Secret Squirrel appeared in the Yogi's Treasure Hunt episode "The Moaning Liza", where he boos a wrongly sentenced Snagglepuss.
  • Secret Squirrel appears as a child on Yo Yogi!, voiced by Kath Soucie. He has an uncle named Uncle Undercover (voiced by Greg Burson) who owns the Invention Dimension store in Jellystone Mall.
  • Secret Squirrel makes a cameo appearance in an episode of Squirrel Boy in which his hat was seen on a gravestone.
  • Secret Squirrel and Morocco Mole can be seen in a Cartoon Network rap in 1995.
  • Secret Squirrel in his original (1965) form made numerous appearances for Cartoon Network during its early years on the air.
  • Secret Squirrel in his revived (1993) form made two appearances for the Cartoon Network station IDs in 2000.
  • Secret Squirrel and Morocco Mole appeared in their revived (1993) forms (i.e., from 2 Stupid Dogs) in an ad for Cartoon Network Asia with Cummings and Harnell reprising their roles.
  • Secret Squirrel and Morocco Mole appeared in both their original (1965) and revived (1993) forms in some Cartoon Network U.K. ads.
  • Secret Squirrel appeared in his revived (1993) form in a Cartoon Network Cinema bumper. He can be seen in the far corner.
  • Secret Squirrel makes an appearance in the show The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy in an episode with Hoss Delgado, who is driving in his monster truck and almost runs over him.
  • Secret Squirrel and Morocco Mole appear in Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law with Secret Squirrel voiced by Bill Farmer and Morocco Mole voiced by Maurice LaMarche. Secret Squirrel first appears in the Season 2 episode "Blackwatch Plaid" as a client of Harvey's arrested for flashing people (a play on Secret's famous trench coat). Secret Squirrel then appeared again in the Season 3 episode "Bird Girl of Guantanamole", hiring Harvey to get Morocco Mole out of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. Secret Squirrel also has a brief cameo in the series finale "The Death of Harvey".
  • Secret Squirrel appeared in the DC Comics book Scooby-Doo! Team-Up #11 in September 2015.
  • A "rebooted" version of Secret Squirrel and Morocco Mole was a backup feature of the DC comic book series Scooby Apocalypse from issues #16-29.
  • "Secret Squirrel" by Allan Banford, released in July 2019, is a "remix" version of the Secret Squirrel and Morocco Mole soundtrack.
  • Secret Squirrel and Morocco Mole will both appear in the upcoming HBO Max original series Jellystone!

LP album[edit]

Hanna-Barbera Records released an LP album called Secret Squirrel and Morocco Mole in Super Spy (HLP-2046) in 1966. It featured an adventure with four songs - "Secret Squirrel" (based on the show's theme song) and "Morocco Mole" on the beginning and the end of Side 1, respectively and "Agent O Double O" and "Super Spy" on the beginning and the end of Side 2, respectively. Mel Blanc reprised his role as Secret Squirrel, but Daws Butler voiced Morocco Mole instead of Paul Frees.

Home video[edit]

The episode "Sub Swiper" is available on the DVD Saturday Morning Cartoons 1960s Vol. 1.

On November 3, 2015, Warner Archive released The Secret Squirrel Show: The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1 as part of their Hanna–Barbera Classics Collection. This is a Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) release, available exclusively through Warner's online store and Amazon.com.[6]

The Secret Squirrel Show: The Complete Series was made available for download via iTunes in August 2016.

On August 14, 2018, Warner Archive released 2 Stupid Dogs/Secret Squirrel Show Volume 1 on DVD, which includes all of the episodes of Super Secret Secret Squirrel. Again, this is an Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) release, available exclusively through Warner's online store and Amazon.com.

Cultural influence[edit]

The phrase “Secret Squirrel stuff” is used by people working in U.S. intelligence to lightheartedly describe material that is highly classified, usually as a non-answer to a question.[7] It may likewise be used in a pejorative manner to mean someone who is unlikely to have actually had a job as a special operations soldier, spy or mercenary, or to have performed the actions they claim to.

The history of the name "Secret Squirrel" for special operations forces and spies appears to predate the television show, as one story states that the word "squirrel" was using during World War II as a test to root out German spies.[8]

The name "Secret Squirrel" is police slang for an agent of the United States Secret Service.[9]

The 1990s alternative rock band Marcy Playground recorded a song as an homage called "Secret Squirrel" on their album Shapeshifter.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Woolery, George W. (1983). Children's Television: The First Thirty-Five Years, 1946-1981, Part I: Animated Cartoon Series. Scarecrow Press. pp. 27–29. ISBN 0-8108-1557-5. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
  2. ^ Erickson, Hal (2005). Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1949 Through 2003 (2nd ed.). McFarland & Co. pp. 99–100. ISBN 978-1476665993.
  3. ^ Mansour, David. From Abba to Zoom: A Pop Culture Dictionary of the Late 20th Century, Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2005, p.423.
  4. ^ Stephen D. Youngkin The Lost One: A Life of Peter Lorre, Lesington: University Press of Kentucky, 2005, p.451
  5. ^ Rovin, Jeff (1991). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Cartoon Animals. Prentice Hall Press. p. 238. ISBN 0-13-275561-0. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  6. ^ "TVShowsOnDVD.com - Goodbye". www.tvshowsondvd.com. Archived from the original on October 31, 2015.
  7. ^ Ewing, Philip (26 May 2018). "The Russia investigations: What just happened?". NPR News. Retrieved 26 May 2018.
  8. ^ "How a tongue twister led to spies being called 'secret squirrels'". Sofrep. 2016-11-10. Retrieved 2018-06-27.
  9. ^ "MILTERMS: SIERRA'".

External links[edit]