Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Beany and Cecil
Beany and Cecil was a cartoon that ran from 1962 to 1967. It was created by Warner Brothers cartoonist Bob Clampett based on the original puppets. It ran in prime time during the 1962 TV season, and the 78 shows were then repeated on Saturday mornings for the next five years. The cartoon featured Beany, a boy, and Cecil the Sea-Sick Sea Serpent embarking on a series of adventures, often to discover ancient civilizations and artifacts. These escapades were rife with cartoon slapstick and countless puns.
- Beany, a young, cherub-faced boy with a propeller beany that allows him to fly. Beany is a good-hearted, upbeat lad, and is somewhat obnoxious at the same time. In most episodes, Beany would be kidnapped by the villain, crying "Help, Cecil! Help, help!" to which Cecil would reply "I'm comin', Beany-boy!" as he raced to the rescue. This has become something of a catchphrase.
- Cecil, a large green sea serpent who is fiercely loyal to Beany but not too terribly bright. Cecil's trusting good nature invariably winds up with him being taken advantage of by the villains, and he often ends up absorbing a great amount of physical abuse (getting smashed flat, losing his head, having his skin burned off, being shattered to pieces), all within the laws of cartoon physics.
- Captain Hufnpuf, also called "Uncle Captain", is Beany's kindly uncle and the Captain of the Leakin' Lena, which takes the pals from one destination to the other. The Captain is always willing to instruct Beany and Cecil on their latest assignment, but refuses to put himself in any personal jeopardy, locking himself in the belowdecks for most of the episodes.
- Crowy, the navigator of the Leakin' Lena. He is a crow, and unsurprisingly spends most of his time in the crow's nest. He speaks in a squawky voice and has a tendency to faint dead away whenever the ship encounters some sort of hazard.
- Dishonest John, the villain of the piece. He is dressed like a Simon Legree character, and he is constantly scheming to foil Beany and Cecil's adventures. His catchphrase is a sinister "Nya ha ha!". Whenever Dishonest John's schemes are revealed to the heroes, Cecil tends to respond with an aghast "What the heck! D.J., you dirty guy!". When Dishonest John receives his inevitable comeuppance, it is usually just as painful as the abuse Cecil has endured in the rest of the episode. Dishonest John also has a supervillain alter-ego known as The Billious Beetle. In this guise, he can fly under his own power and sports a painful stinger.
The puppet origins and the form of Cecil inspired the famous Science Fiction author Larry Niven to invent an important extra-terrestrial race called Pierson's Puppeteer within his Known Space series of novels and short stories.
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