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Linus the Lionhearted

USA



Original Air Date:
1964
Channel:
CBS
Prod. Co.:
Ed Graham Productions
Genre:
Series
 

4.00

Great
2
Votes
Characters & Voices
Linus - Sheldon Leonard
Sacha Grouse - Carl Reiner
Dinny Kangaroo - Carl Reiner
Billie Bird - Carl Reiner
Rory Raccoon - Bob McFadden
Loveable Truly - Bob McFadden
So - Hi
Sugar Bear - Gerry Matthews
Granny Goodwitch - Ruth Buzzi
The Giant - Jonathan Winters
The Mockingbird - Ed Graham
C. Claudius Crow - Jesse White
 
Linus was a lion who ruled the jungle and all of the animals in it. He also happened to be the mascot of Post's Krispy Kritters cereal, and therein lies the rub.

Linus the Lionhearted was created in a time when the line between commercials and programs had not yet clearly been defined. The entire cartoon was a forum for General Foods to promote their cereals. Aside from Linus, the show included segments starring Sugar Bear, So-Hi, Rory Raccoon, and Loveable Truly, all spokesmen for different General Foods cereals.

Linus' own segments were extensions of the animated commercials he had starred in with pals Sacha Grouse, Billie Bird, and Dinny Kangaroo in earlier years.

In Sugar Bear's segment, each and every episode consisted of the Bear's trying to con Granny Goodwitch into giving him a free breakfast, including some delicious Sugar Crisp Cereal.

So-Hi, a stereotypical young Chinese boy, would present his segment in the form of a fable. At the end of each cartoon, the Rice Krinkles spokeperson would pose the question, "Moral of story, honorable children friends?," then give the witty answer.

Postman Lovable Truly spent most of his time protecting his dogs from the villainous Richard Harry Nearly, a silent movie star and part-time dogcatcher. After Nearly was defeated through his own efforts, Lovable would sit down to a delicious bowl of Alpha-Bits in the commercial breaks.

The final cartoon spokesperson, Rory Raccoon, spent his segments defending a cornfield against invading crows, keeping the world safe for bowls of Post Toasties everywhere.

The other remarkable aspect of this show was the voice talent. Linus himself was voiced by veteran TV producer Sheldon Leonard, creator of such classic comedies such as The Danny Thomas Show, The Andy Griffith Show, and Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C.. Leonard's friend and co-worker Carl Reiner, who created The Dick Van Dyke Show, also did voices for the cartoon. Other notable voices were Laugh-In's Ruth Buzzi as Granny Goodwitch and Jonathan Winters as a Giant in So-Hi's segments.

Despite the high-caliber talent and witty writing, the FCC eventually decided the show was little more than a half-hour commercial for cereal, yanking it off the air after five successful seasons.
 
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In 1956, DC Comics executive Paul Levitz was born.