The Incredible Inman: 'Behind the Eight Ball' starred 'Jetsons' voice actor in silly antics

| Sunday, June 23, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Question: In the afternoons and on Saturdays around the late 1950s and '60s, when I was really young, I used to watch horror movies, cartoons and the Stooges on TV. But I also barely remember some humorous live-action movie shorts. The theme was kind of a day in the life of a typical guy. In one of them, he was on a commuter train going to work. Odd things would happen to him, but he would just take it in stride. I don't know who the actor was or the movie company. He may have not spoken, and there may have been narration. Do you remember seeing this? Any info is appreciated.

Answer: Sounds to me like you were watching a series of shorts called “Behind the Eight Ball,” which were produced at Warner Bros. from 1943 to 1956. The hero of these shorts was Joe McDoakes, played by actor George O'Hanlon, who would go on to provide the voice of George Jetson on “The Jetsons.” O'Hanlon was also the co-writer of the shorts with Richard L. Bare, who also produced and directed them. Bare would go on to direct every episode of “Green Acres,” which ran from 1966 to 1971 on CBS.

The format of the shorts would take the form of a self-help session, with titles like “So You Want to Give Up Smoking” or “So You Want to Be a Cowboy.” Joe would struggle with each situation to hilarious effect, it says here.

The shorts still pop up on Turner Classic Movies, and you can see a few of them on

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Write David Inman in care of The (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal, 525 W. Broadway, P.O. Box 740031, Louisville, KY 40201-7431; or email him at Questions of general interest will be answered; personal replies are not possible.

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