Heckle and Jeckle

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Heckle 6994.jpg

A classic Terry Toons cartoon, this animated show stars two identical wisecracking magpies, Heckle and Jeckle. One has a British accent, the other a New York one, and they are fast friends who are able to overcome foes by outwitting them, breaking the rules, and generally having fun at other people's expense.

Many characters on other shows are known to enjoy watching Heckle and Jeckle, including Fonzie, Lenny and Squiggy, and Jack, while imprisoned by the Others.

Together with the rest of the classic Terrytoons package, Heckle and Jeckle vanished from American TV in about 1990—because the USA Network, owner of the license, changed management and decided to simply sit on the cartoons. Ever since, the characters have slowly been sliding down the memory hole. Today, there are many who misremember the black birds as having been black stereotypes (much like Buzzy The Crow of Famous Studios or the crows in Dumbo), even though their characterizations aren't actually ethnic at all.


Filmography
  • The Talking Magpies (1946)
  • The Uninvited Pests (1946)
  • McDougal's Rest Farm (1947)
  • Happy Go Lucky (1947)
  • Cat Trouble (1947)
  • The Intruders (1947)
  • Flying South (1947)
  • Fishing by the Sea (1947)
  • The Super Salesman (1947)
  • The Hitch Hikers (1947)
  • Taming the Cat (1948)
  • A Sleepless Night (1948)
  • Magpie Madness (1948)
  • Out Again In Again (1948)
  • Free Enterprise (1948)
  • Goony Golfers (1948)
  • The Power of Thought (1948)
  • The Lion Hunt (1949)
  • The Stowaways (1949)
  • Happy Landing (1949)
  • Hula Hula Land (1949)
  • Dancing Shoes (1949)
  • The Fox Hunt (1950)
  • A Merry Chase (1950)
  • King Tut's Tomb (1950)
  • Bulldozing the Bull (1951)
  • The Rainmakers (1951)
  • Steeple Jacks (1951)
  • 'Sno Fun (1951)
  • Rival Romeos (!951)
  • Off to the Opera (1952)
  • House Busters (1952)
  • Moose on the Loose (1952)
  • Movie Madness (1952)
  • Hair Cut-Ups (1953)
  • Pill Peddlers (1953)
  • Ten Pin Terrors (1953)
  • Bargain Daze (1953)
  • Log Rollers (1953)
  • Blind Date (1954)
  • Satisfied Customers (1954)
  • Blue Plate Symphony (1954)
  • Miami Maniacs (1955)
  • Pirate's Gold (1957)
  • Wild Life (1959)
  • Trapeze, Pleeze (1960)
  • Mint Men (1960)
  • Deep Sea Doodle (1960)
  • Stunt Men (1960)
  • Thousand Smile Checkup (1960)
  • Sappy New Year (1961)
  • Messed Up Movie Makers (1966)

Tropes used in Heckle and Jeckle include:
  • American Accents
  • British Accents
  • Butt Monkey: The lugubrious Dimwit Dog. And to some extent, the bulldog (who was named Chesty in the St. John's comic books which were drawn by Terrytoons artists).
  • Deranged Animation: Any scene animated by Jim Tyer. Check out the scene in "Goony Golfers" as Jeckle uses a putter to move the hole around as Chesty tries to putt it in, and Chesty's subsequent loss of temper.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The first cartoon listed, "The Talking Magpies," was actually a Farmer Al Falfa cartoon. The two magpies shown at the start are a married couple whose squabbling over their nest disturbs Al Falfa and his dog (an early version of Dimwit). As Heckle and Jeckle took their more known forms in "The Uninvited Pests," they were voiced by Syd Raymond (Jeckle's voice wasn't the familiar British accent; that would come when Ned Sparks took over as the birds' voices).
  • Face Heel Turn: As much of con artists, vagabonds and reprobates they were depicted as, Heckle and Jeckle could also use their wiles to combat bad guys. "Blue Plate Symphony," "Sno Fun" and "Hair Cut-Ups" are good examples. "Hair Cut-Ups" had them as barbers in the old west facing the outlaw Dangerous Dan. As noted in verse three of the cartoon's song:

One day towards the town he came ridin' real fast,
A-lookin' for some harmless cowboy to blast.
And so met his downfall as all bad men should
By two tenderfoot barbers who trimmed him for good.

    • Zig-zagged in "Sappy New Year." The boys sign a pledge to give up practical jokes as a New Year's resolution, but when their attempts to do good deeds are misinterpreted as mischief, Heckle starts to revert back.
  • Filmation: Produced the New Adventures of Mighty Mouse and Heckle & Jeckle.
  • The Golden Age of Animation: Averted to an extent with the TV-budget cartoons made from 1959 to 1961. The last Heckle & Jeckle cartoon, Messed-Up Movie Makers, was released in 1966.
  • Happy Rain: Done in The Rainmakers, when they make it rain after a drought, and are given a parade in the rain.
  • Heterosexual Life Partners: Are they ever!
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: Fred Jones voices Heckle and Jeckle in the Filmation series. Radio comedian Dayton Allen voiced them in their Terrytoons finale, Messed Up Movie Makers.
  • Landmark Sale: Someone tries to sell the magpies the Brooklyn Bridge, and they turn him down—because they already own it!
  • Name and Name
  • One for Sorrow, Two For Joy
  • Reality Warper: The magpies realize in The Power of Thought that they're just in a cartoon, and can do anything they want.
    • Yet in Pirate's Gold, after making off with a buccaneer's treasure, the taxman comes in at the end and glomps 99% of it:

Heckle: Ya can't escape it. Even in a cartoon.

    • The Lion Hunt has them changing scenes and modes of transportation four times in a fifteen second spurt en route to Africa:

Jeckle: My, things sure happen quickly in a cartoon, don't they?