HECTOR HEATHCOTEOriginal Medium: Theatrical animation
Produced by: Terrytoons
First appeared: 1959
Creator: Eli Bauer
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Mr. Peabody wasn't the only cartoon character who, starting in 1959, traveled back in time to participate in recorded historical events. Hector Heathcote, who first appeared
in The Minute and a Half Man, released by Terrytoons in July of that year, was a much less famous one.
Hector started out as a scientist who invented a time machine to take him back to America's War for Independence. Unlike Peabody, who flitted from one event to another, Hector mostly stayed when he landed and made the Revolution his usual setting, continuing to use "The Minute and a Half Man" as a subtitle. He built the boat that enabled Washington to cross the Delaware, prepared the horse to enable Paul Revere to make his famous ride, and was similarly instrumental in setting the stage for any number of other notable events. Somehow, tho, posterity neglected to note his many pivotal roles, and he remained unknown to students of history — except, of course, those who saw his cartoons.
Hector's creation is attributed to writer Eli Bauer, whose credits also include 1960s cartoons from Famous Studios and MGM. The director was Dave Tendlar, a veteran animator whose work went back to the Max Fleischer days. His voice was done by John Myhers, who had many live-action credits as an actor, writer, producer and director, but did very little other voice work.
The character appeared in a few more Terrytoons productions over the next few years. He didn't make a very great splash, tho like some of the studio's other characters (e.g., Deputy Dawg, Tom Terrific), he appeared in a couple of Wonder Books (a Little Golden Books knock-off). Unlike most, he got his own TV show, which debuted October 5, 1963, on NBC. The show's back segments were occupied by a couple of other minor Terrytoons characters, Hashimoto-San (a martial arts mouse) and Silly Sidney (a neurotic elephant). The show ran two seasons, but hasn't had much of an afterlife in reruns.
While the show was running, Hector was merchandised on lunch boxes, toys and elsewhere. Gold Key published him in comic book form, but only one issue (dated March, 1964) came out.
Hector continued to appear in an occasional cartoon until 1971. After that, he was more-or-less forgotten.