Question: We want to know if you can tell us what old cartoon featured the turtle that would spin and say, "Help me Mr. Wizard!" We have been trying to figure this out for years. Thanks. Janelle W., Boise, Idaho
Televisionary: So would it be presumptuous of me to say this is your way of saying, "Help me, Mr. Televisionary?" Then help you I shall.
The character in question is Tooter Turtle, a dreamer who, pardon the expression, wanted to come out of his shell and go on wondrous adventures. His pal Wizard the Lizard fulfilled his request and made his fantasies come true until, inevitably, Tooter got in a jam and cried out for a return to normalcy. The lesson, for those of you who seek to learn from this column, was that you're better off accepting your true self rather than chasing some imagined identity. Or, as Mr. Wizard would say at the end of each episode, "Be what you is and not what you is not. Folks that do this is the happiest lot." (Luckily, Tooter never remembered that bit of wisdom, which would've put an end to his foolish wanderings.)
Tooter Turtle was just one of the characters to appear on the animated King Leonardo and His Short Subjects, which also featured the titular king and his able skunk aide, Odie Colognie, as well as The Hunter, a gumshoe bloodhound forever chasing his quarry (who else?), The Fox. The show premiered in 1960 on NBC. In 1964 its characters became part of Underdog, which was created by the same studio, and that show hopscotched around the dial (remember that expression?) throughout the '60s and early '70s, jumping from NBC to CBS and then back again while also making a move into syndication. Joining the king and his pals under the Underdog banner were such cartoon legends as Klondike Kat, Tennessee Tuxedo, Commander McBragg and The Go Go Gophers.