Milton and the professor.


Medium: TV animation
Produced by: Hal Seeger Productions
First appeared: 1965
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In the entertainment industry, when something is done twice in the same year, both times successfully, it's a trend, and people start jumping on the bandwagon. When …

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The Addams Family and The Munsters both made it as prime-time sitcoms in 1964, it wasn't long before Dell Comics was publishing Melvin Monster, Gold Key was publishing The Little Monsters, and ABC was airing Milton the Monster.

Milton the Monster hit the airwaves on Saturday, October 9, 1965. It was the first cartoon from Hal Seeger Productions (later responsible for Batfink) to be seen on TV, and the only one picked up by a network. Seeger's animation career went back to the old Fleischer studio, as did quite a few of the people who worked with him on Milton. Writer Jack Mercer, for example, voiced Popeye for Fleischer, and animators Shamus Culhane and Myron Waldman also animated for that studio. Another writer on the series was Kin Platt, the cartoonist who created Supermouse. Seeger also moonlighted in comics, writing DC characters such as Nutsy Squirrel and Binky.

Milton was a more-or-less Frankenstein-style monster, created by Professor Weirdo and his assistant, Count Kook. Weirdo had a slight accident when concocting Milton. As recounted each week in the theme song, after spooning in liberal doses of essence of terror and sinister sauce, he was supposed to put in just a tiny touch of tincture of tenderness so the monster didn't turn right around and destroy him. His arm got jostled and too much went in, so Milton came to life with gentle manners and a kind heart. Even the smoke that was always being exhausted through the top of his head wasn't enough to make him scary.

Because of his goodness, Weirdo and Kook repeatedly tried to kick him out of the mansion on Horrible Hill where all three lived, as did Milton's fellow creatures, Heebie and Jeebie (whom he referred to, with himself, as "The Three Monsterteers"). But they never succeeded in ejecting their errant creation. Other elements driving plots were rival monsters Fangenstein and Abercrombie the Zombie, and the fact that Kook plotted to get rid of Weirdo and take over the operation for himself.

Milton's half-hour show remained on ABC for three years, during which the same 34 episodes were shown over and over. Milton shared the show with a rotating roster of five different back-up segments. The one most frequently seen was Fearless Fly, with 26 appearances, in which a mild-mannered insect named Hiram Fly got super powers by putting on a pair of spectacles. Others were Flukey Luke (a western hero whose faithful Indian companion had an Irish accent), Penny Penguin (a funny animal kid), Stuffy Durma (a hobo who inherits millions, but like Jiggs, remains the same sort of guy he was before) and Muggy Doo, Boy Cat (a moocher and con-artist).

Milton's voice, done with a Southern accent that has been compared to Gomer Pyle, was provided by Bob McFadden, whose other roles include Cool McCool, Slythe in Thundercats, and Frankenberry. The Professor was Dayton Allen, who also did Deputy Dawg, Mr. Bungle in Winky Dink and both Heckle and Jeckle. The Count was Larry Best, who did several voices on this show, as well as in a few earlier Seven Arts cartoons, but isn't well known in the voice field.

Aside from the 34 episodes, there was a comic book from Gold Key, which lasted all of one issue. Fearless Fly appeared in the back pages, but the other segments weren't represented. There was also a board game from Milton Bradley. Both came out in 1966.

After three years on the network schedule, Milton the Monster went into syndicated reruns. It was frequently seen until well into the 1970s, but has since faded from view.


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Text ©2004-08 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Hal Seeger Productions