How Winsome Witch gets around.


Medium: Television animation
Produced by: Hanna-Barbera
First Appeared: 1965
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By 1965, the Hanna-Barbera cartoon factory had produced quite a few certified stars, such as Yogi Bear, Quick Draw McGraw and Huckleberry Hound. But since each of its half-hour shows up until …

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… then had three segments, it also had a lot of lesser lights, such as Hokey Wolf, Wally Gator and Augie Doggie. When Atom Ant and Secret Squirrel shared billing in an hour-long show, starting Oct. 2, 1965, the task of coming up with back segments was doubled. It took four new series to fill up the time — Squiddly Diddly, Precious Pupp, Hillbilly Bears and this one, Winsome Witch.

Winnie was as ugly an old hag as a cartoon witch ought to be, but personality-wise, she was a lot more like a grown-up version of Wendy the Good Little Witch than, say The Old Witch in EC Comics or the one with the cauldron that Archie Comics had done. She'd putter around her primitive little cottage deep in the woods, using witchly powers to do the household chores, with the magic words "Ippity Pippity — Pow!" (no doubt completely uninfluenced by those of the good fairies in Disney's Cinderella, "Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo"). Not once did she poison an apple or shove a succulent child into her oven. In fact, such children as she encountered (there was apparently a modern suburb within walking distance) generally called her "Aunt Winnie".

Winnie's voice was done by Jean Vander Pyl, who is best known for Wilma Flintstone. Her other roles include Rosie the Robot in The Jetsons, Marge Huddles and Mrs. Finkerton in Inch High, Private Eye. There were no other regular characters in Winnie's segment.

In its second season, the hour-long, two-star show briefly split into two half-hours. Winnie went with Secret Squirrel. Later that same season, the two merged back together. There were 26 episodes altogether.

Like a lot of Hanna-Barbera characters, Winnie got a new lease on life as part of an ensemble show, but it took her until 1990. On September 17 of that year, Wake, Rattle & Roll debuted with two cartoon segments — Monster Tails featured all-new characters (pets of classic movie monsters), but Fender Bender 500 featured Winnie, along with Snagglepuss, Peter Potamus, Ricochet Rabbit and several other '60s relics, in a remake of Wacky Races. Vander Pyl reprised her role as Winnie's voice.

Wake, Rattle & Roll didn't last long, and after it folded, Winsome Witch was gone for good.


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Text ©2006-10 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Hanna-Barbera.