Buford in breakneck action.


Original Medium: TV animation
Produced by: Hanna-Barbera
First Appeared: 1978
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By the late 1970s, Hanna-Barbera, which had been a powerhouse in TV animation for 20 years or more, was getting some of its new shows by recycling old ones — which also had the salutary effect …

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… of keeping its less up-to-date characters, who might otherwise have slipped into obscurity, in the public eye where they could continue to generate licensing revenue. For example, Yogi's Space Race, which began on NBC on September 9, 1978, was an ensemble show collecting Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, Jabberjaw and others who had once starred in their own shows into a single large cast.

Sometimes these ensemble shows would have multiple segments, in which new stars could be introduced. One of the back segments of Yogi's Space Race was called "The Buford Files" (possibly influenced by the contemporary private eye show The Rockford Files). It featured Buford, a lazy bloodhound living in the American Southeast. The exact location was unclear — it looked like Louisiana, and the local sheriff's name (Dupres) would seem to reinforce that identification. But the area was called Pendike County, and Louisiana calls its political divisions parishes rather than counties.

The fact that it had a fixed location at all distinguished it from Scooby-Doo, the studio's most popular show of that decade, in which a bunch of kids and a dog traveled around the country and solved mysteries. Quite a few Hanna-Barbera creations of the time were direct imitators — Captain Caveman, The Funky Phantom, Speed Buggy … even the licensed version of The Addams Family was strongly influenced by that source. In "Buford", however, the kids (Cindy Mae and Woody) and their dog solved their mysteries right at home, invariably managing to one-up the incompetent Sheriff Dupres and Deputy Goofer.

Buford's voice was done by Frank Welker, whose other canine characters include Dynomutt; Calamity Coyote in Tiny Toon Adventures; Inspector Gadget's niece's dog, Brain; and Jimmy Neutron's robot companion, Goddard. Cindy Mae was Patty Parris (Kanga in Winnie the Pooh), Woody was David Landsberg (mostly a face actor), Dupres was Henry Corden (Fred Flintstone), and Goofer was Roger Peltz (also more of a face actor).

The ensemble show ran only one season, but Buford outlasted it. His segment and one other, "The Galloping Ghost" (spirit of an old prospector, Nugget Nose, helps kids who inhabit a modern dude ranch), were spun off into — what else? Buford & the Galloping Ghost. NBC ran this one for one season, starting in 1979. After that, it was oblivion. Buford wasn't even revived for new ensemble shows.


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Text ©2005-09 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Hanna-Barbera.