The Funny Company
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The Funny Company is an American animated cartoon produced in 1963 and seen in syndication. Ken Snyder and Charles Koren produced 260 six-minute-long episodes (they later would create the cult favorite Roger Ramjet). The Mattel Corporation provided financial backing. Snyder conceived the program in response to then-Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Newton N. Minow's call for more educational children's programs.
The Funny Company group resembled a club not unlike a Junior Achievement organization, and most of the time, the stories would revolve around the Company being hired for various jobs to make a little money (doing yardwork, house cleaning, baby sitting, etc.) or doing something for charity (such as putting on shows). As time went on, the Company decided to make Shrinkin' Violette a movie star and were on their way to Hollywood.
Members included leader Buzzer Bell (rarely seen without his Funny Company visor), inventor Jasper N (for National) Park, club secretary Polly Plum, rotund Merry Twitter (the giggly Betty Boop-soundalike club treasurer), club mascot Terry Dactyl (an actual pterodactyl), shy Shrinkin' Violette (who could literally become smaller if she became embarrassed), and two Native American adults--Super Chief (named after the Santa Fe Railroad's crack passenger train) whose voice was an air horn of a single-chime railroad locomotive, and his translator Broken Feather. Another adult lending a hand was Professor Todd Goodheart with his supercomputer, the Weisenheimer.
Villainous Belly Laguna (who was modeled after Bela Lugosi in his Dracula role) always tried to thwart the Funny Company's plans (for his own profit), but never with any success. Another, less frequently seen adversary was a German-accented mad scientist type, Professor Werner Von Upp.
Each segment included a two-minute live-action short educational film, reinforcing the topic being discussed. Initially produced in black and white, the series switched after one season to full color.
The series originally was syndicated to local stations all over the country—usually with the segments as part of a locally produced children's show. Formerly, The Funny Company aired on TBN's owned Smile of a Child TV network (now Smile TV) (early Monday mornings and late Friday nights) until June 2016. This series was also best known as a Chicago Television tradition. especially on WGN-TV's Garfield Goose And Friends and in the 1980s on WPWR-TV.
- Dick Beals—Buzzer Bell, Jasper N. Parks
- Robie Lester—Polly Plum
- Nancy Wible—Merry Twitter, Shrinkin' Violette
- Ken Snyder—Terry Dactyl (also producer)
- Tom Thomas—Broken Feather
- Hal Smith—Dr. Todd Goodheart, Belly Laguna, Dr. Von Upp
- Executive Producer: Kenneth C.T. Snyder
- Producer: Sam Nicholson
- Co-Producer: Leo Salkin
- Written and Created by Kenneth C.T. Snyder
- Musical Direction: Jack Fascinato
- Animators: Bob Bemiller, Brad Case, John Sparey, John Walker
- Layout: Norm Gottfredson
- Backgrounds: Rosemary O'Connor
- Animation Checking: Maggi (Alcumbrac) Raymond
- Picture and Sound Editor: Norm Vizents
- Production Coordinator: Dave Hoffman