The Hanna-Barbera Happy Hour (lost puppet variety show TV series; 1978)
|A promotional behind-the-scene photo from a newspaper.|
The Hanna-Barbera Happy Hour was an hour-long weekly variety TV series that was hosted by two female puppets called Honey and Sis, who are meant to be sisters and teenage star characters.
It aired on NBC in 1978, and was produced by Ken and Mitzi Welch. Only four episodes were shown; The first episode aired on April 14 and the last on May 11th.
It was possibly cancelled due to low ratings as it competed with NBC's Welcome Back, Kotter and ABC's What's Happening, and variety shows becoming an aged formula. It was replaced in its timeslot with reruns of the CHiPs series.
Honey (voiced by Udana Power) is the the tall blonde one, age 19, who would think of herself as highly talented, while Sis (voiced by Wendy McKenzie - her only listed role), her younger redheaded sister, 17, would be the one who actually is gifted. They got into a musical career after being convinced by their voice teacher (played by Betty White), who was drunk due to too much alcohol-laced candy. They first audition for a musical, whose director (played by Melissa Sue Anderson) is being condescending.
Honey and Sis would sing, do regular sketches such as "The Disco of Life" - where they'd meet people in a disco club - or "The Truth Tub" - where they relax in a hot tub and do parodies of popular TV shows at the time, such as Laverne and Shirley and Three's Company.
There were guest stars such as Abe Vigoda, Anson Williams, Tony Randall, Dan Haggerty, Melissa Gilbert, Linda Lavin, Connie Stevens, and Twiggy. They would introduce themselves instead of an announcer.
Actors in costume impersonating famous Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters would cameo, such as Yogi Bear, Snagglepuss or Huckleberry Hound, being voiced as usual by Daws Butler.
Honey and Sis were designed by Iwao Takamoto and their costumes were created by fashion designer Bob Mackie. They were manipulated by a team of six puppeteers who would wear full-body blue leotards in front of a blue screen, so that the two characters would be chroma-keyed on a different background. Takamoto remembered that the puppeteer's extent of movements was "very impressive".
The episodes have never resurfaced anywhere, and no copies are known to exist. All that remain now are stories from crew and viewers, some pictures and ads that would describe the premises.