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FFA 1 Wanda Kay Breckenridge by DavidCMatthews FFA 1 Wanda Kay Breckenridge by DavidCMatthews
Forgotten Females of Animation #1: Wanda Kay Breckenridge

(first of an occasional series)

Over the years, animated cartoons have spawned female stars that rival their live-action counterparts in familiarity and popularity. Wilma and Betty of The Flintstones, Jane and Judy (The Jetsons), Velma and Daphne of Scooby Doo, Where Are You?, to name just a few. And even some of the lesser-known women of animation, like Tara of The Herculoids, still manage to accumulate a cult following.

But when a cartoon series slips into obscurity, its female leads suffer similarly. They are the "Forgotten Females of Animation", and I hope to draw attention to some of them through this series of occasional illustrations.

The first subject of the "FFA" series: Wanda Kay Breckenridge, of Filmation's 1969 animated series The Hardy Boys.

"Whut? There was a Hardy Boys cartoon?" Exactly. Produced in the wake of the phenomenal success of The Archie Show, and the hit single "Sugar Sugar" by The Archies, The Hardy Boys was Filmation;s attempt to make lightning strike twice, by taking a property popular with youngsters of the time (the "Hardy Boys" series of detective novels published under the pseudonym "Franklin W. Dixon") and grafting onto the format the concept that the Hardy Boys, like The Archies, were a rock band in addition to being teen crime-solvers. Brothers Frank and Joe Hardy, and their friend Chet Morton (nicknamed "Chubby" in the cartoon) came over from the novels; to fill out the cast (and the band's lineup), two original characters were created: Pete Jones, who holds the distinction of being the first black character featured as a regular in an animated cartoon series (yes, even before Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids), and the "obligatory" female, Wanda Kay Breckenridge.

So why Wanda Kay to start the "FFA"? She was, as I recall, my first crush on a cartoon babe. Yes, I've written often of my affection for Tara of The Herculoids, but I came to that appreciation some years after the show left the air. At the time I wasn't all that infatuated with Tara, perhaps because a.) I was probably just a little young to be looking at girls "that way", or b.) I may have had the subconscious idea that Tara was "unavailable" (and not just because she lived on a far-away planet "somewhere out in space"): she was Zandor's wife, after all, and she was someone's mom as well.

But Wanda Kay? She was a little closer to my age, (well, closer than Tara, anyway); and even though she hung out with the four guys in their crime-solving adventures, she didn't seem to be involved with any of them, so she was "available". Wanda Kay was featured more prominently than Tara was in their respective shows, and Wanda Kay spend quite a bit of the screen time dancing (during the "music video" segments of the show wherein the band would "perform" the songs produced for the series). And… well, as I said, Wanda Kay was my first "cartoon babe" crush.

(And that's why I chose "Breckenridge" as Tetsuko's last name.)

Here's a clip - from a poor quality VCR tape, but it gives you an idea what was going on - of Wanda Kay (and the rest of the Hardy Boys) performing "One Time in a Million". WARNING: '60s-style psychedelia ahead! (And no, I have no idea why the announcer at the beginning of the clip introduces the Hardy Boys as "those country favorites"…)

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:iconhhallart:
Hhallart Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
BTW, The first series to star black characters were H/B's The Harlem Globetrotters (1970)
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:iconhhallart:
Hhallart Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
RIP Hal Sutherland (Jan. 2014)

RIP Lou Schiemer (Oct. 2013)
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:iconname-already-chosen:
name-already-chosen Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2011
This is wonderfully well done!
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:iconjess-foxx-quinn:
Jess-Foxx-Quinn Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2011  Professional General Artist
I barely recall this toon back when I was a kid. But these were the days of great cartoon features. Thanks for keeping the memory alive.
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:iconloenror:
loenror Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2011
Those shows were amazing considering how they use optical resources to do everything. Completely psicodelic and, why not to say? so innocent portrait of life, compared with our times.
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:iconactionman81:
actionman81 Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2011
I wish I remembered the show; but I watched reruns and VHS tapes of The Archie Show. I always pictured Archie sounding different before I saw that show; he squawked like a speaker. I can still remember Jughead's voice, and a strange episode where Reggie wanted to be class president and had a van with a mechanical Reggie vigorously shaking people's hands. I was a big Archie comics fan- I think Betty was one of my first crushes, along with Lynda Carter's WW, and Jem from Jem and later Raya and the Holograms.
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:iconblackkusanagi:
BlackKusanagi Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2011  Student General Artist
When I first saw the last name, I was like, "Thats probably how Tet got hers."
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:icondavidcmatthews:
DavidCMatthews Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2011  Professional General Artist
And you were right!
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:iconblacksandrock10:
BlackSandrock10 Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2011   Digital Artist
Cool!
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:iconpaleodon:
Paleodon Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2011
With that kind of animation, it's no wonder the show was forgotten. Your drawing is far superior.
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:icondavidcmatthews:
DavidCMatthews Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2011  Professional General Artist
Yeah, Filmation made Hanna-Barbera look like Disney.

(Thanks for the compliment!)
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:iconchwen-hoou:
Chwen-Hoou Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2011
Damn! That is a hell of a revelation in terms of animation. I'm surprised that the Hardy Boys even had an animated series. Thanks for showing this long forgotten character. =D
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:icondeathstarshotput:
deathstarshotput Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2011
And there's the psychadellic '60's colors in the background.
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:icondinaminzer:
dinaminzer Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2011  Hobbyist Artist
Until now,:O_o:
i knew nothing about that cartoon, :no:
i only had seen the serie with Shaun Cassidy :hmm:

Therefore i wish to thank for your new serie, :nod:
now all we'll remember so many FFA. :D
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:icon50percentgrey:
50percentgrey Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That's an interesting tidbit, Dave. But did you know they made a REAL Hardy Boys band to resemble the one in the cartoon?

And just from seeing that video you linked there, I can believe how you feel seeing Wanda sway like that.

As for me, my first toon crush was Alice Pleasance Liddell (as depicted in the Disney feature).
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:icondavidcmatthews:
DavidCMatthews Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2011  Professional General Artist
I did know that. When The Archies' "Sugar Sugar" became a big hit, Filmation was caught flat-footed because all the Archies tracks were recorded by session musicians, and the original performers couldn't be assembled into a touring band that could play concerts. They hoped to avoid that situation again by hiring a band whose members (somewhat*) resembled the animation designs; these were the actual performers of the songs, and they did play a few gigs as "The Hardy Boys".

Sadly, lightning didn't strike twice, and all of Filmation's efforts to cover its bases came nearly for naught. The show is all but forgotten, and it's not even clear these days who owns the rights for release on home video. (Although I did find Here Come the Hardy Boys, the first of two albums of the songs from the show, on iTunes last night. That was a surprise!)

*I say "somewhat" because they chose a dark-blonde singer, Devin English, to play a character whose hair was always colored white (platinum-blonde, perhaps?), and Bob Crowder needed an inch or two more thickness on his Afro as "Pete Jones".

BTW, Reed Kailing, who played "Frank Hardy", went on to join The Grassroots and Badfinger, was instrumental in formed Player ("Baby Come Back") and is now a solo act.
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:icon50percentgrey:
50percentgrey Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That's quite a mouthful of facts, Dave, but thanks anyway. =)
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:icondavidcmatthews:
DavidCMatthews Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2011  Professional General Artist
Well, what's the point of knowing useless trivia like that unless you can show off that you know it?
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:icon50percentgrey:
50percentgrey Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The point of such is if it holds a deep meaning to you and no one else. That I know.
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:iconlonzo1:
Lonzo1 Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2011   General Artist
I used to watch that show....I was six but i remember it fondly......here's the opening theme o those interested.
[link]

Believe it or not ....Like The Archies ...The had a couple of album out...Some songs were hits...just so you'd know.^^
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:iconstrangerataru:
Strangerataru Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
That explains a lot.
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:iconlorddaroth:
LordDaroth Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm gonna further reduce your food ratios if you keep inventing reasons not to draw Tetsuko:)
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:icondinaminzer:
dinaminzer Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2011  Hobbyist Artist
^^; But i like the new idea of Dave, :nod:
:hmm: and surely Tetchan will get more cosplay from this. ;P
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:iconfellania-bloodclaw:
Fellania-BloodClaw Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
that's great to know DCM, you definitely are paying homage to a fledgling muse/crush! What an interesting tidbit of history... so now then...who or what exactly 'inspired' Dr. Gannon exactly? >.> *don's cub reporters hat and gets out a pad and pen* inquiring minds want to know!
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:icondavidcmatthews:
DavidCMatthews Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2011  Professional General Artist
The inspiration for Sonya is here [link]
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:iconactionman81:
actionman81 Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2011
Your early Sonya reminds me a LOT of Katy Keene (another Archie comics entity) - but its good; 'cause I liked Katy; heck I like a LOT of Marvel gals. Several DC gals too. :D I just like gals. :D A lot.
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