PRECIOUS PUPPMedium: TV animation
Produced by: Hanna-Barbera
First Appeared: 1965
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In the mid-1960s and earlier, the average half-hour Hanna-Barbera cartoon had two back-up series to go with each title character. When they launched Atom Ant
and Secret Squirrel in an hour-long show with two title characters, it was necessary to come up with no less than four second bananas. Fortunately, they had a tried and true method of generating such characters — swiping them from TV shows (e.g., turning Sgt. Bilko into Top Cat), comic strips (Blondie transferred into the future as The Jetsons), other studios Humphrey Bear into Yogi Bear) or even themselves (Yogi Bear into Magilla Gorilla). One of the four, Precious Pupp, was highly reminiscent of Warner Bros.' Tweety Bird.
The hour's main stars debuted in a half-hour special, while the four lesser stars (besides Precious, they were Winsome Witch, Hillbilly Bears and Squiddly Diddly) debuted with the regular show, on Oct. 2, 1965. Precious's voice was done by Don Messick, whom the studio generally relied on for non-anthromorphic animals such as Kaboobie the Camel and Sebastian the Cat. For Precious, Messick did a kind of wheezy snicker, which he drew on later for Muttley and still later for Mumbly. His co-star, Granny Sweet, who corresponded to Warner's Granny character, was voiced by Janet Waldo (Penelope Pitstop, Lana Lang in Filmation's version of Superman).
This Granny character differed from Warner's in that she was a "hip granny lady" of the sort that were popular at the time, until the type became badly overused. Granny Sweet surfed, rode motorcycles and drag raced. Also, she was wealthy, which only provided additional motive for Precious to hide his true nature from her, which he did infallibly. As for Precious himself, he differed from Tweety in that the latter displayed his sadistic nature only in self-defense. While Precious did defend himself against, say, the dog catcher, he also antagonized the perfectly innocent mailman and even his pal Spike, also a neighborhood pet.
He did this for two seasons, a total of 27 episodes. In the second, Atom and Secret temporarily split up into two half-hour shows, and Precious went with Atom Ant. A third season consisted entirely of reruns. Later, those 27 episodes, along with several other minor Hanna-Barbera cartoons, were made part of a syndicated package anchored by The Banana Splits.