Heckle and Jeckle

Heckle and JeckleHeckle and Jeckle is one of the cartoons that became popular during the post-war era, solidifying its status as a classic and one of the frontrunners of animation. As the most successful cartoon produced by Terrytoons animation studio, Heckle and Jeckle’s run lasted for more than three decades, producing more than 50 episodes until its last appearance in 1981. To learn more about this magpie duo, continue reading this article.

 

Fast Facts
  • Creator: Paul Terry
  • Production Company: Terrytoons
  • Run: 1946 to 1981
  • Species: Magpie
  • Gender: Male
  • Voiced by: Sid Raymond, Ned Sparks, Roy Halle, Dayton Allen, and Frank Walker from 1946 to 1981

Heckle and Jeckle Cartoon

Talking Magpies

Talking Magpies

The Heckle and Jeckle cartoon series started in January 1946 with its prototype episode, The Talking Magpies. This episode title also became a famous moniker for the two. It was still unclear what the two magpies were named during the first episode, although one of them was allegedly called Maggie. They also had white beaks, in contrast to the established yellow beaks that Heckle and Jeckle have. The two magpies were also cast as a bickering husband and wife pair, which is in contrast to the established friendship between Heckle and Jeckle.

 

Since it was still in its developmental stage, Heckle and Jeckle underwent revisions while it was being shown. In the subsequent episodes, both magpies have been depicted as males, possessing the same characteristics that Heckle and Jeckle were known to have. The show also featured impromptu song routines and impersonations of Hollywood and radio personalities.

 

When the first animated cartoon network, CBS Cartoon Theatre, premiered on televison, Heckle and Jeckle was one of their earliest cartoons aired, together with Dinky Duck, Gandy Goose, and Little Roquefort.

 

Cartoon Crows Heckle and Jeckle

Prison

Prison

Heckle and Jeckle centers around the adventures and mischief-making of two troublemaking magpies or crows named Heckle and Jeckle. Since they are identical in appearance, it is hard to differentiate the two. They came from the crow family, so both of them have black bodies with a huge white spot on their chests. They have elongated yellow beaks and oval eyes.

 

They are also very similar in attitude because they are often united against a common enemy, except for one episode (Rival Romeos in 1951), where they had to battle each other for the affection of a single female magpie. Both are impatient, rude, and pessimistic, and both engage in slapstick violence. They love creating pranks for the other characters in the cartoons. Almost all their episodes feature a chase sequence interlaced with witty banter, although they are often punished in the end because of their cheekiness.

 

In spite of their similar appearance, they do have distinct characteristics that make it easier for viewers to know which is which.

Heckle

Heckle

Heckle

Heckle’s voice is his most distinct feature. He speaks in a slang vernacular New York accent. He refers to Jeckle as “pal” or “chum”, and is more openly confrontational than his best bud. He is more straightforward compared to Jeckle, often making his intentions known from the beginning. He is also physically stronger than his friend.

Jeckle

Jeckle

Jeckle

Jeckle, on the other hand, has a falsetto British accent. He speaks in a more refined manner than Heckle. His style of mischief is also different, as he often treats his adversaries in a polite manner at first in order to lure them before the duo starts creating mayhem. He calls Heckle “old chap”, “old boy”, “old featherhead”, and “old thing”.

Other Characters

Although every episode features new characters, the regular ones are Dimwit and Chesty, dogs that serve as the duo’s adversaries. Even though Chesty could not be found in the pilot episode, Dimwit’s prototype was shown as a small dull dog.

Heckle and Jeckle Quotes

  • “We cartoon characters could have a wonderful life if we only take advantage of it.” – Jeckle
  • “You’re pretty tough, chum. You must like your vitamins. What you need is a bowl of Super Duper Crackly Pops! One bowl of Super Duper Crackly Pops with vitamins! You’ll like these, chum. They’re loaded with vitality!” – Heckle
  • “And so ends the story of Dangerous Dan/ No longer is he the same desperate man/ And if you should visit the barber someday/ You’ll find poor ol’ Daniel a-workin’ away/ Yippee-dee, yippee-do, yippee-kidilly-i-de-day/ Dan had lived by a gun, will go the same way.” – from The Legend of Dangerous Dan, one song from the series

Heckle and Jeckle Collectibles

Shirt

Shirt

Just like many cartoon characters, Heckle and Jeckle have also invaded the merchandise scene. There are lots of toys, games, costumes, dolls, puppets, coloring and activity books, and t-shirts featuring the duo. These collectibles and consumer products have been sold for decades under the license of CBS Television, Terrytoons, and Viacom.

 

Collectible comic books featuring the duo and other Terrytoons characters have also been published by various publishers, such as St. John Publications (1951 to 1955), Pines Comics (1956 to 1959), Dell Comics (1962), and Gold Key Comics (1962 to 1967).

 

The last Heckle and Jeckle cartoon came out in 1981, but its place in the history of animation can never be replaced. It is certainly one of Paul Terry’s legacies to the world of animation.

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