Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales is a semi-educational animated cartoon TV series that originally aired on CBS from 1963 to 1966. It was produced by Total Television Productions, the same company that produced the earlier King Leonardo and the later - but existing, The Underdog Show, and primarily sponsored by General Mills. (Tennessee Tuxedo debuted on CBS on the same day that King Leonardo last ran on NBC.) The title is a play on “tuxedo and tails” formal wear.
The cartoon series revolved around Tennessee Tuxedo the penguin (voiced by Don Adams), and his best friend Chumley the Walrus (voiced by Bradley Bolke). The pair lived (not always willingly) at the Megapolis Zoo, under the control of the ill-tempered zoo director Stanley Livingstone (voiced by Mort Marshall), and his zookeeper assistant Flunky (voiced by Kenny Delmar). It was on one of Stanley’s journeys that Tennessee met Stanley. It was Chumley that Stanley had wanted, as Chumley was at the South Pole and was thus one of a kind: a South Pole walrus. Tennessee agreed to accompany Chumley and Stanley back to the zoo.
At the zoo, Tennessee and Chumley had many friends to help them out, such as Yakkety Yak and Baldy the eagle (both also voiced by Kenny Delmar) amongst other inhabitants of the zoo. Three episodes also featured Howler, a dog that Tennessee got from his Uncle Admiration. Stanley was against Tennessee's having Howler on zoo grounds until Howler saved Stanley when he fell into a lake upon spying on Tennessee and Chumley's housing project for Howler.
Tennessee and Chumley had a rival, Jerboa Jump the kangaroo rat (also voiced by Bradley Bolke). Jerboa later gained a henchman in a boxing tiger named Tiger Tornado (voiced by Kenny Delmar impersonating Muhammad Ali). Some of the episodes centered around Tennessee's trying to outsmart Jerboa at his own game, and succeeding in the end.
Tennessee and Chumley were constantly bedeviled by Rocky Maninoff (voiced by Jackson Beck impersonating Humphrey Bogart), a gangster who often called them “bo-bos” and ordered them to do his will at the point of his machine gun (which he sometimes referred to as his "violin"). Rocky Maninoff's name is an obvious pun on that of the composer and musician Sergi Rachmaninoff.
Tennessee and Chumley regularly escaped from the zoo, only to find trouble in the outside world. Whenever Tennessee would propose a hare-brained scheme, Chumley was usually skeptical at first. Typically Tennessee would assure the dim-witted Chumley that the former's superior intelligence would carry the day, often with his catchphrase, "Tennessee Tuxedo will not fail!" More often than not, however, he did. Chumley would respond with his own catchphrase, "Duh, OK Tennessee." When faced with more trouble than they could bear, the pair would turn to their friend Phineas J. Whoopee (voiced by Larry Storch), the “Man with All the Answers” (as described on a newspaper ad about him). Mr. Whoopee, as he was known, was extremely knowledgeable on all subjects, and would frequently lecture the pair on diverse topics, from the physics behind the hot air balloon to how musicians become popular. His lectures were illustrated and animated on the Three-Dimensional Blackboard (3DBB for short), that he would retrieve out of an avalanche of junk from his overstuffed hallway closet. Other times, Tennessee and Chumley would have to overcome a personal problem to which children could relate, such as Chumley's requiring treatment for a toothache but fearing the dentist. At the end of each lecture from Mr. Whoopee, Tennessee praised his mentor with the line, “Phineas J. Whoopee, you’re the greatest!”
The pair would then attempt to use their newly gained knowledge to get out of the trouble they had created, but would invariably end up in more trouble with Stanley Livingston, who'd punish them in different ways, ranging from having the police arrest them to making them scrub pots and pans in the Zoo Cafeteria for six months. Stanley even threatened to skin them alive many times. Some episodes end merely with Stanley chasing Tennessee and Chumley around the Zoo. A few times, they managed to succeed, including an episode in which the pair (along with Baldy) formed a musical group that gained so much popularity that they managed to star in Stanley's music show, while Stanley was reduced to carrying out his threat to eat his hat.
On a Boing podcast, Underdog creator Joe Harris explained that after F.C.C. commissioner Newton Minow declared television a "vast wasteland" in terms of educational material, efforts were made to include education in programming. He added that in this show, Tennessee and Chumley were portrayed as the ones who were being educated, so children would not feel that they were being lectured to, even though they were.
Occasional back segments included The World of Commander McBragg, Klondike Kat, Tooter Turtle, The Hunter and The King and Odie (the last three were re-run from the earlier King Leonardo show).
For the voice of the “small penguin, who tries but can’t succeed-o,” Don Adams used his already-well-known “clippy” voice characterization, which he said was an exaggeration of actor William Powell’s voice.
The episodes originally air on CBS from 1963 until 1966. As of 1967, Tennessee Tuxedo reran as part of The Underdog Show until 1973. Later rebroadcasted in 2014 as part of The Tom & Jerry Hour.
Season 1 (1963-1964)Edit
- Mixed-Up Mechanics – After Stanley Livingston brings them to the Megapolis Zoo, Tennessee and Chumley find a job outside the zoo—which will prove to be their first of many—as mechanics. Their first customer is Rocky Maninoff, who warns them to repair his car, or else. Tennessee takes advice from a newspaper ad to see Phineas J. Whoopee to learn how cars work.
- The Rainmakers – Tennessee and Chumley get jobs as weathermen. A farmer demands they make rain for his cauliflower crops or he will use his shotgun on them. Tennessee and Chumley turn to Phineas J. Whoopee.
- The Lamplighters – Tennessee and Chumley learn how lights work when the darkness prevents Tennessee from reading his book.
- Telephone Terrors or Dial ''M'' for Mayhem – Tennessee wants to have a telephone in each animal's quarters. Tennessee and Chumley turn to Phineas J. Whoopee to learn how a telephone works.
- The Giant Clam Caper – When Stanley Livingston wants to obtain a giant clam for the Megapolis Zoo, Tennessee and Chumley sneak out of the zoo to obtain one for him. Tennessee and Chumley visit Phineas J. Whoopee to learn where they can find a giant clam.
- Tick Tock* – The Megapolis Zoo receives a clock tower. Chumley accidentally shoots an arrow at the clock and Stanley Livingston orders Tennessee and Chumley to remove the arrow. Tennessee and Chumley learn how clocks work from Phineas J. Whoopee.
- Scuttled Sculpture* – The Megapolis Zoo receives a statue of Stanley Livingston that will be dedicated to him tomorrow. When Chumley accidentally wrecks it, Tennessee and Chumley turn to Phineas J. Whoopee.
- Snap That Picture – Tennessee and Chumley get jobs as photographers. Their first job is to take the picture of the Mayor of Megapolis for his poster advertisement. How do cameras work? Tennessee and Chumley turn to Phineas J. Whoopee.
- Zoo's News – When ordered by Stanley Livingston to spread the news to the other animals of an upcoming event, Tennessee and Chumley turn to Phineas J. Whoopee for ways to do so. Phineas tells them about newspapers.
- Aztec Antics – When Jerboa Jump arrives at the zoo, Stanley Livingston arranges for some archaeologists to make a trip to Mexico to find some artifacts to go with Jerboa's exhibit. Tennessee and Chumley learn about Aztecs from Phineas J. Whoopee.
- Coal Minors – Tennessee and Chumley assemble a stovepipe oven to heat their quarters. They learn how coal is obtained from Phineas J. Whoopee.
- Hot Air Heroes – When ordered by Stanley Livingston to spread the news of the town picnic at the Megapolis Zoo, Tennessee and Chumley, having already tried telephone and newspaper, turn to Phineas J. Whoopee for other ideas. Phineas tells them about hot-air balloons.
- Irrigation Irritation – During a drought, Tennessee tries to figure out how to get water to his watermelon crops. Meanwhile, Stanley Livingston is warned by the Chief of Police not to waste water during the drought on pain of arrest.
- TV Testers – Tennessee and Chumley get jobs as TV repairmen. Their first customer is Rocky Maninoff, who orders them to repair his television, or else. Meanwhile, the Chief of Police gets word from Stanley Livingston that Tennessee and Chumley have escaped from the zoo.
- By the Plight of the Moon – After getting knocked out, Tennessee dreams he's to be the first astronaut penguin to take a rocket to the moon.
- Lever Levity – In a follow-up to "Coal Minors," the tunneling that Tennessee and Chumley did for their coal mine has caused the foundation of Stanley's office to settle to one side. While Stanley and Flunky go into town to find someone to build a new foundation, Tennessee tries to straighten the foundation. When nothing seems to work, Tennessee and Chumley go to Phineas J. Whoopee for help.
- The Bridge Builders* – Tennessee and Chumley get jobs as bridge builders. Rocky Maninoff wants them to build a bridge following his gang's bank robbery, or else.
- Sail On, Sail On* – Tennessee and Chumley go up against Jerboa Jump in a yacht race to determine who will end up leading the Zoo's Yacht Club.
- Tell-Tale Telegraph* – Tennessee dreams that he, Chumley, Yakkety, and Baldy are at a fort headed by Stanley Livingston that keeps suffering Indian attacks. Tennessee and his friends must find a way to warn the fort of approaching Indians.
- Howl, Howl, the Gang's All Here* – Tennessee receives a dog named Howler from his uncle and tries to hide him from Stanley Livingston. To make a new home for Howler, Tennessee and Chumley call on Phineas J. Whoopee, who advises them on building Howler a house near a lake in Megapolis Woods.
- Getting Steamed Up – After Stanley has a steam locomotive put in the zoo to take children for rides, Tennessee tries to prove he can operate it as well...and proceeds to wreck it while Stanley is away. Phineas J. Whoopee explains how locomotives work.
- Rocket Ruckus* – Upon hearing Jerboa Jump brag that he has been in a rocket, Tennessee and Chumley visit Phineas J. Whoopee to learn how rockets work.
- Tale of a Tiger* – A new animal named Tiger Tornado appears to be a narcoleptic, but he becomes a fierce fighter at the sound of a boxing-ring bell. Jerboa Jump teams up with Tiger and the two make the other zoo animals kowtow to their wishes. Tennessee and Chumley consult Phineas J. Whoopee on how to defend themselves.
- Dog Daze – In a follow-up to "Howl, Howl, the Gang's All Here," Stanley has problems with Howler the Dog when he mistakes the Mayor of Megapolis for an attacker. Stanley and the Mayor warn to Tennessee control Howler or the Mayor will have Howler detained.
- Brushing Off a Toothache – Chumley has a toothache and Tennessee tries various ways to get rid of the tooth. When one of the attempts ends up breaking Stanley Livingston's motor scooter, Tennessee and Chumley escape from the zoo and see Phineas J. Whoopee about how to deal with a toothache.
- The Treasure of Jack the Joker – Tennessee and Chumley hear about the Treasure of Jack the Joker hidden somewhere in the Megapolis Zoo, but Stanley Livingston does not allow digging on zoo grounds.
- Funny Honey – Tennessee and Chumley need honey from the bears of the Bearville section of the Megapolis Zoo.
- A Wreck of a Record* – Tennessee, Chumley, and Baldy form their own folk band for Stanley Livingston's music show, but Stanley wants only hit artists for it. Tennessee and Chumley turn to Phineas J. Whoopee to learn how they can make a recording and become stars.
- Miner Forty-Niner – Tennessee and Chumley find a map that to a gold mine and turn to Phineas J. Whoopee to learn how to get there.
- Helicopter Hi-Jinks – During a heat wave in Megapolis, Tennessee and Chumley's plans to leave the zoo to get fans for the animals are repeatedly thwarted by Stanley Livingston and Flunky. Tennessee and Chumley recall the time they asked Phineas J. Whoopee about how helicopters work.
- Oil's Well – Tennessee's friend Freddy Cat inherits an oil field that is supposedly haunted, and Jerboa Jump tries to scare Freddy into selling him the land cheaply. They learn about oil drilling.
- Parachuting Pickle* – When Rocky Maninoff pulls off a bank robbery and escapes by airplane, the money falls into the Lost Mountains. Tennessee Tuxedo and Chumley answer his ad and are forced to parachute down to recover the stolen money.
- Wish Wash* – Tennessee and Chumley start a laundry service in the Megapolis Zoo at the same time that Stanley Livingston and Flunky are assembling a tool shed.
- The Eyes Have It – Tennessee competes against Jerboa Jump in the finals of a bowling tournament. Jerboa tricks Tennessee into thinking that something is wrong with his eyes and gives him glasses made from the bottoms of glass bottles. Phineas J. Whoopee explains to Tennessee how the eyes work.
- Madcap Movie Makers – Tennessee and Chumley go into the movie-making business. They turn to Phineas J. Whoopee for advice on filmmaking.
Season 2 (1964-1966)Edit
- Snow Go – Eager to cash in on the skiing craze, Tennessee and Chumley try various schemes to turn the hill at the zoo into a ski slope.
- Brain Strain – Chumley looks like a local millionaire. Tennessee has Chumley impersonate the moneyed one when Chumley gets amnesia and starts to think he is the millionaire.
- The Big Question – Tennessee is convinced a radio quiz show is going to call him for an upcoming cruise prize, so he goes about trying to steal Stanley's radio and eventually learns how to make his own crystal set.
- Rocky Road to Diamonds – Tennessee and Chumley get jobs at Stonecutter's Jewelry Store. Mr. Stonecutter tells them that they must protect the diamonds or they will go to jail. Rocky Maninoff robs the store and hides out on a ship. While being pursued by the ship's crew, Tennessee and Chumley run into Phineas J. Whoopee, who tells them about diamonds.
- Hooray X-Ray (AKA X-Ray X-Perts) – When Tennessee and Chumley are ordered by Stanley Livingston to get back the rare coin with which they accidentally paid the paperboy, they trace the coin's path to a bakery and then to a cookie from that bakery that Chumley ate. How shall they recover the coin? Tennessee and Chumley turn to Phineas J. Whoopee, who tells them about x-rays.
- Food Feud – A reporter from the Megapolis Tribune approaches Tennessee to ask him about his feuds with Jereboah Jump. Tennessee tells him about the feud between the Tennessees and the Jereboahs, which Old Phineas Whoopee was called in to resolve.
- How Does Your Garden Grow? – Tennessee is tired of eating fish all the time and wants to grow a vegetable garden, much to the objection of Stanley Livingston. Tennessee manages to get the Mayor's wife on his side, and Tennessee and Chumley ask Phineas J. Whoopee for advice on growing a vegetable garden.
- Perils of Platypus – Tennessee and Chumley get a platypus for a roommate and deny him access to the pool. When the platypus leaves the zoo and they are ordered by Stanley Livingston to get the platypus back, Tennessee and Chumley turn to Phineas J. Whoopee for help and learn that the platypus lives in Australia.
- Hail to the Chief – Tennessee and Chumley get jobs as police officers.
- Physical Fatness – Phineas J. Whoopee gives Tennessee and Chumley some advice on fitness when Jerboa Jump challenges Chumley to a boxing match against Tiger Tornado.
- Playing It Safe – Tennessee and Chumley get involved with gangsters who pose as bankers, trying to get a stolen safe open, so they learn about locks.
- House Painters – Tennessee and Chumley try painting the Zoo, waste it all, learn about making paint, and do a beautiful job covering a building with clay.
- Admiral Tennessee – Upon escaping to the docks, Tennessee falls asleep and has a dream wherein he is the admiral of a ship ordered by the Queen to go after some pirates.
- Three Ring Circus – Tennessee and Chumley escape from the zoo in order to join the circus. They learn how a calliope works.
- The Big Drip – Tennessee and Chumley get jobs as plumbers. Their first customer is Rocky Maninoff, who wants them to fix a leaky pipe in his hideout before he returns from his bank robbery, or else. Tennessee and Chumley turn to Phineas J. Whoopee to learn about plumbing.
- Boning Up on Dinosaurs – Stanley Livingston orders Tennessee and Chumley to guard the new dinosaur exhibit. Unfortunately, Howler gets in and dismantles the dinosaur skeletons.
- Smilin' Yak's Sky Service – Tennessee and his friends start a flying service. Their first customer is Rocky Maninoff, who wants them to fly him to safety after a bank job.
- Teddy Bear Trouble – When Chumley's teddy bear goes missing, Tennessee turns private eye in order to find it.
- Sword Play – When ordered by Stanley Livingston to clean the medieval exhibit at the museum, Tennessee is knocked unconscious by a fallen suit of armor and dreams that he is a knight fighting a dragon.
- The Romance of Plymouth Rock – Tennessee is putting on a play about the Pilgrims called "The Romance of Plymouth Rock." Jereboah Jump and Tiger Tornado plan to join the play as Indians so that they can sabotage it. When Jereboah claims that the Indians were not friendly to the Pilgrims, Tennessee calls in Phineas J. Whoopee for help on the history of the Pilgrims.
- Phunnie Munnie – The boys set up a printing press. Their first customer is Rocky Maninoff, who wants them to print counterfeit money for him, or else.
- The Zoolympics – Phineas J. Whoopee advises Tennessee and Chumley on how to be in shape for the Zoolympics.
- The Tree Trimmers – On Christmas Eve, Stanley Livingston orders Tennessee and Chumley to guide the arriving tree trimmers to the Christmas tree. Tennessee and Chumley trim the tree with the help of Yakkety and Baldy until the ornaments are destroyed.Tennessee and Chumley ask Phineas J. Whoopee for help on making ornaments.
- The Goblins Will Get You – Following a trick-or-treating on Halloween, Tennessee eats too much candy and dreams that he is in a haunted forest with an evil witch and her goblin servants.
- Going Up – Washington's Birthday celebration causes the friends to try putting a Liberty Bell decoration atop a zoo tower. They learn about elevators (cab, pulley, counterweight).
- The Cheap Skates – Wanting ice skates, the friends try producing an ice show for "Sew-on-Your-Buttons," but need to learn how to build a rink first.
- Monster from Another Planet – Tiger, wanting a better life, pretends to be an extraterrestrial, forcing Tennessee & Chumley into servitude.
- Signed and Sealed – Tennessee's cousin Percy is coming to visit. Needing money to fix up their place, the friends rent to Big Bill Bear with a crafty four-week lease. They learn about leases and contracts, and ultimately learn that Percy can be a demanding guest.
- The Barbers – Tennessee buys a barber shop and he and Chumley go to work as barbers. They get Rocky Maninoff as a customer, who wants them to make him a new man, or else. Tennessee and Chumley turn to Phineas J. Whoopee for help in haircutting and applying specific make-up.
- Catch a Falling Hammock – The guys learn about termites that are causing the trees holding their hammock to fall.
- Peace and Quiet – An employment agency promises jobs to the pair, but they manage to fail at all of them.
- Robot Revenge - Yakkety Yak and Baldy are making robots to do their work.
- There Auto Be a Law – The guys build a car for an auto race, and decide to make and sell copies of the car to pay the entrance fee. They learn about production line manufacturing.
- Samantha – Chumley falls in love and Whoopee tries teaching him about the finer points of etiquette and deportment.
- Telescope Detectives (AKA Private Eye Detectives) – Tennessee and Chumley become private detectives. Hotel manager Mr. Hothead hires them to deal with the robberies committed by Slippery Hood, who has eluded every hotel detective. In order to get a better stake-out on Slippery Hood's hotel room, Tennessee and Chumley turn to Phineas J. Whoopee, who tells them about telescopes.
- That Is Horse –
- Ponda the Moose –
* released on DVD
Like most cartoon series produced by Total Television Productions, later reruns of Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales are quite different from the original network series. The first 34 Tennessee Tuxedo cartoons would later be incorporated into syndicated prints of The Underdog Show. That syndicated package actually was a revised version of another earlier (mid-1960s) syndicated series, Cartoon Cut-Ups, which initially featured first season segments of Underdog, Tennessee Tuxedo and Commander McBragg. In fact, the syndicated but cancelled Underdog includes some artifacts including the Cartoon Cut-Ups closing (combining portions of the original Tennessee Tuxedo and Underdog closings, effectively eliminating the punch line of the visual "Post No Bills" joke in the original Underdog closing) and the final teaser at the end of the show in which announcer George S. Irving says, "Looks like this is the end...but don't miss our next Cartoon Cut-Ups show!" (The line was redubbed to say "Underdog" instead of "Cartoon Cut-Ups.")
In syndication, Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales features different supporting cartoon segments compared to the show's original network run, including some cartoons from Ward Productions. The first 39 syndicated episodes (#901–939) include "Tooter Turtle," "Bullwinkle's Corner" (followed by a vintage Rocky and His Friends commercial bumper) and "Aesop and Son." For syndicated episodes #940–945 and again from #956 through the end of the episode cycle, the supporting segments are all Jay Ward cartoons: "Peabody's Improbable History," "Mr. Know-It-All," and "Fractured Fairy Tales". Syndicated shows #946 through #955 repeat the "Tooter Turtle," "Bullwinkle's Corner" and "Aesop And Son" cartoons already shown in episodes #901–910. The seventy "Tuxedo" cartoons themselves each appear twice over the 140 syndicated shows, in addition to the aforementioned repeats of the first 34 segments as part of the syndicated but cancelled, The Underdog Show. (During a recent run on the Black Family Channel cable network, only shows #901–934 were aired.)
In its first season during its original network run, Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales featured segments of "The Hunter" and "The King And Odie." Both segments originated on the 1960 series King Leonardo and His Short Subjects, but "Tennessee" included 26 newly produced segments of both, which were not seen on the original "King Leonardo" program (and were not syndicated as part of that package either). The following season, "The Hunter" began appearing as a segment on The Underdog Show and the "Hunter" spot in "Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales" was filled by repeated segments of "Tooter Turtle" (a character also previously seen on "King Leonardo And His Short Subjects"). The "Tooter" cartoons shown on "Tennessee" were all repeated segments; no new segments were produced. Between 1968 and 1970, "Tooter Turtle" and "The Hunter" were seen as part of ABC-TV's The Dudley Do-Right Show. The 26 "Hunter" and "King & Odie" segments originally produced for "Tennessee Tuxedo" are seen in syndicated reruns as part of the Dudley Do-Right and His Friends package (which also is different from the 1968–1970 Dudley Do-Right Show), the Rocky & Bullwinkle & The Gang package (which includes Tennessee Tuxedo and Go-Go Gophers, two of Total Television Productions' cartoons), and the Dudley Do-Right And Friends package (which is the same as the 2014 syndication prints but without Tennessee Tuxedo and Go-Go Gophers).
A DVD titled The Best of Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales was released in 2006. It contains 15 "sort of educational" episodes from the series. The series introduction and end credits do not seem to appear on the DVD if an episode is selected, but if "Play All" is selected, the series introduction will appear at the start of the episodes and the end credits will appear after the last episode.
One of the two "extras" on the DVD is a set of about ten audio-only out-takes from the recording of this version of the theme song. During the session the engineer is heard speaking to the musicians and singers. The voice of the engineer was revealed on June 28, 2007, on The Howard Stern Show as the voice of Howard's father Ben Stern.
The other "extra" is a short collection of corny riddles (originally presented as show transitions) posed to Mr. Whoopee and his 3DBB by Chumley and Tennessee. Example: What has four legs and only one foot? A bed.
On March 6, 2012, Shout! Factory released Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales: The Complete Collection on DVD in Region 1.
Austin Russell, a prominent employee and cast member of History Channel's Pawn Stars is nicknamed Chumlee after the Tennessee Tuxedo character.