and Jeckle were two inseparable black magpies, identical in
appearance but distinguishably different in personality.
Though both were remarkably witty, Heckle spoke with a New
York accent, while Jeckle's tone was much more refined.
Whether they were vagabonds conning free meals and shelter out
of the upper class, or trespassing salesmen peddling their
wares, the mischievous birds inevitably found themselves
eluding pursuit in riotous chase sequences that allowed for a
host of freewheeling hijinks.
The first TV appearance of Heckle
and Jeckle was on CBS Cartoon Theatre, the very first prime
time network animated cartoon series (appearing in 1956, years
before The Flintstones). Dick Van Dyke was the host of the
show, and he introduced the Heckle and Jeckle segments, along
with those of Gandy Goose, by pretending to converse with the
In 1979, the magpies appeared in
their second show, The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse and
Heckle and Jeckle. Once again, the two birds were on the
lookout for a free ride, using their immense vocabularies and
sharpened street smarts to get the best of people.
The high point of any Heckle and
Jeckle cartoon was always the witty banter between the
feathered friends. Instead of resorting to violence, the birds
bested their foes by outwitting them, and while doing so,
indulged in wry commentary that made their adversaries appear
even more foolish.