Beany and Cecil began in 1949 as a kids' puppet show titled "Time For Beany". It was created by legendary Warner Bros. cartoon director Bob Clampett and featured the voices of Daws Butler and Stan Freberg. The series followed the hijinks and adventures of the crew of the Leakin' Lena: Captain Horatio Huffenpuff, Beany (a little boy with a beanie cap), Beany's pal Cecil the Sea Sick Sea Serpent, and Dishonest John, their arch-nemesis. The show acquired a following of such luminaries as Jimmy Stewart, Albert Einstein, Frank Zappa and Groucho Marx during its seven-year run.
In 1959, Clampett's studio, Snowball Productions, made an animated short, "Beany & Cecil Meet Billy The Squid," featuring these characters, which was screened in Canadian theaters (released by United Artists). In 1962, ABC ordered a weekly series which was aired in primetime as "Matty's Funnies With Beany & Cecil" (sponsored by Mattel toys, of which Matty and sister Sisterbelle were mascots). It featured characters such as Tearalong the Dotted Lion, Little Ace from Outer Space, Cecilia McCoy (Cecil's girlfriend), Careless the Mexican Hairless, Hare-cules Hare, William Shakespeare Wolf (who began on the puppet show as Willy the Wolf), Thunderbolt the Wonder Colt (also a holdover from the puppet show) and So What & The Seven What Nots. That and references in similar episodes (especially "Beanyland", the show's original pilot) were blatant enough to give the Disney company pause (but the references were no less funny for the cause). Bob Clampett himself wrote the outlines for all 78 cartoon shorts and supervised the scripts, which were rich in puns (visual and verbal) and wordplay. It ran only one season in prime time and then migrated to Saturday mornings in 1963 where it enjoyed a five-year run. In the fall of 1989, the show was syndicated weekly, the first time since 1968 that the series had been shown in any capacity. In 2003, selected episodes were screened on Cartoon Network's spotlight series The Bob Clampett Show.
In 1988, ABC commissioned DIC to produce an all-new series of Beany & Cecil cartoons under the direction of John Kricfalusi (who worked on Mighty Mouse the season prior and would be responsible for Ren & Stimpy three years later). This version was dropped after five weeks due to Kricfalusi's hands-on approach to cartoon making conflicting with ABC's interference with the story process.moreless