Mr. and Mrs., with Junior. From their first comic book.


Medium: TV animation
Produced by: Hanna-Barbera
First Appeared: 1961
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At first glance, Mr. & Mrs. J. Evil Scientist look like a rip-off of the 1960s Addams Family TV show. Lending credence to this supposition is the fact that the …

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Hanna-Barbera studio, where the Scientist family originated, frequently ripped off TV shows. The classic example is The Flintstones (from The Honeymooners), but they also derived Top Cat from Sgt. Bilko, Ruff & Reddy from Crusader Rabbit and The Roman Holidays from All in the Family.

But the dates tell a different story. The Addams Family started in 1964, whereas J. and the Mrs. were first seen in 1961. If The Addams Family was their source, they had to have been based on the cartoons Charles Addams had been drawing for The New Yorker since 1937. Which is equally credible, as Hanna-Barbera also ripped off comic strips (e.g., The Jetsons from Blondie), other studios' cartoons (e.g., Yogi Bear from Disney's Humphrey Bear) and even themselves (e.g., Punkin' Puss & Mushmouse from Tom & Jerry).

Be that as it may, the Scientists (J. Evil, Mrs., and Junior) debuted on February 20, 1961, when Snagglepuss knocked on the door of a creepy old mansion and wound up contending with a giant mouse (no relation) created by J. Jr. Later, Junior was baby-sat by Snooper & Blabber, and a "modern stone-age" variation on J. and family, named The Gruesomes, turned up as The Flintstones' next-door neighbors.

The family made its first comic book appearance in the second issue (January, 1963) of Gold Key's extra-large anthology title, Hanna-Barbera Bandwagon. Here, as in their first animated appearance, they played second banana to Snagglepuss. But in the next (and final) issue, they were in story of their own — their first, in any medium. Several months later, they had their own comic, just in time for Halloween. Three more issues followed, published for Halloween of 1964, '65 and '66.

Despite the popularity of the property that no-doubt inspired them, they never did have an animated series of their own. They weren't quite the only Hanna-Barbera property to appear under their own logo only in comic books — Gold Key published Cave Kids, a Flintstones-era kid gang, from 1963-67.

But with only four issues published, Mr. & Mrs. J. Evil Scientist was surely the most obscure Hanna-Barbera series of the 1960s. In fact, when asked years later (by cartoonist Scott Shaw!, co-creator of Captain Carrot), even Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera themselves didn't remember them.


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Text ©2005-08 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Hanna-Barbera.