Friday, February 11, 2005

The sad last days of Heckle and Jeckle
Bryant asks the question of the day, “So, like, whatever happened to Heckle and Jeckle?” I hate to have to be the one to have to tell him the sordid tale. The following is mostly a summary of chapter seven of “Cartoon Babylon” (New York: Permanent Press, 1997).

It was the usual story of show biz egos run amuck. Jeckle got tired of playing second fiddle and broke up the act to pursue a solo career in music. He recorded one album that was generally ignored by fans and critics alike. Heckle tried to retire, soon bored of that, and wrote a tell-all memoir of his days in toons. Both went through a series of high profile Hollywood marriages and expensive divorces.

After about ten years of obscurity, they had a tearful reunion on the "Merv Griffin Show" and tried to revive the old act. By then, however, kids’ tastes had moved on to more sophisticated fare like "The Chan Clan," “Scrappy Doo,” and "Josie and the Pussycats." Jeckle took to the bottle while Heckle tried, without luck, to sell another spicy memoir. Heckle also tried, unsuccessfully to create a new act with Baba Louie after the latter’s famous split with Quickdraw McGraw.

Throughout the eighties and nineties, Jeckle drifted in and out of rehab, became born-again, and was briefly a fixture on “The 700 Club.” Heckle paid his many alimony bills by accepting any kind paying acting gig he could get, usually undignified sitcom walk-ons. Now days they can occasionally be seen doing dinner theater on the Carolina coast or signing autographs for money at old cartoon conventions. It's really quite sad.

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