|“It’s time for Farmer Al Falfa and his Terrytoons pals…”
Paul Terry’s silent Terrytoons creations found new life with the dawn of the television era. Farmer Al Falfa, Ignatz Mouse, Kiko the Kangaroo and other bouncy, lively creations had gone out of style once the “talkies” took over in the late 1920’s, but with TV programmers hungry for material to fill their broadcast schedules, the original Terrytoons got a second chance at the big time.
Farmer Al Falfa and the gang first appeared on network television in CBS’ 1953 series Barker Bill’s Cartoon Show. New titles and new sound effects were added to the old shorts, and Farmer Al Falfa was renamed Farmer Gray. Even with the changes, the old bits were timeless—animals playing tricks on Farmer Al, a cow going on an alcohol-fueled rampage, the farmer’s puppy getting into mischief with pipes, trucks and a fighting rooster, and so on.
After Barker Bill’s Cartoon Show went off the air, Farmer Al Falfa got his old name back for a new syndicated package, Farmer Al Falfa And His Terrytoon Pals. Along with Al’s regular stable of barnyard shenanigans, the package included other Terrytoons shorts like the “Aesop’s Fables” series, many of which starred Al himself.
The syndicated series was still a hit with kids, and Farmer Al continued to tickle the funnybones of several generations, turning up everywhere from video compilations to Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. Still today, wherever classic cartoons are loved and admired, Farmer Al Falfa and his Terrytoons pals will be found.