Saturday, May 23, 2009
Quick Draw McGraw — Lamb Chopped
Credits: Animation – Ken Muse; Layout – Ed Benedict; Backgrounds – Robert Gentle; Story – Mike Maltese; Story Sketches – Dan Gordon; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Cast: Quick Draw, Baba Looey, Sheep Herders’ President, Snagglepuss, three Sheep, French Mountain Goat – Daws Butler.
Released: week of September 28, 1959.
Plot: Quick Draw accepts job to catch sheep-rustling mountain lion Snagglepuss. He ends up running from an amorous mountain goat.
Turning a character into a hero changes him. Look at Mickey Mouse. Who can deny he was insolent and, therefore, funny in his earliest days when he made Walt Disney famous, only to become bland and restricted by the mid 1930s?
This is Snagglepuss’s debut. He’s nude and orange but there’s enough of him that’s recognisable, especially in the voice and with Maltese’s dialogue. We get “To wit. Three wit, even!” “Forsooth! Five-sooth, even!” and, of course, “Heavens to Murgatroyd!” Surprisingly, the one famous line we don’t hear from him is “Exit, stage ____.”
Prior to the start of the cartoon, Quick Draw has heard the Sheep Herders Association, Inc., is offering a reward for the capture of Snagglepuss, for it opens with Quick Draw and Baba Looey on their way in a jeep to apply for the job. The head of the Association offers our hero $5,000 and a sheepskin coat. Baba’s sceptical but Quick Draw reminds him “I’ll do the thinnin’ around here.”
They drive to Sheep Country (a sign helpfully reveals they’ve reached their destination) and Baba spots a clump of sheep walking along. Naturally, Quick Draw says hello to the “sheepses” and notices nothing odd. It’s up to Baba to spot the lion tracks so Quick Draw can put two-and-two together and use his rifle on Snagglepuss.
Maltese would dredge up—I’m being polite—ideas that he used when he worked in Chuck Jones’ unit at Warners, and he does it three times in this cartoon. First, he borrows from Rabbit Fire when Snagglepuss tells Quick Draw he can’t shoot a lion with an elepha-nn-t gun. Unlike Rabbit Fire, a Joe Besser elephant doesn’t show up (though Besser-like characters appeared in other H-B cartoons that year), but Snagglepuss reveals he has no qualms about the type of weapon he uses, grabs the gun, and Blam!
Next, Quick Draw lays a lion trap in a hole but Snagglepuss is watching from behind a rock. He uses the old burst-an-airfilled-paper-bag trick to scare Quick Draw into the trap, as he borrows from Robin Hood Daffy and yells “Yoiks and away!” Baba has to remind Quick Draw to shout his usual “Ooch! Ouch! Ouch!”
Our heroes follow Snagglepuss’s tracks and come across the mountain lion in front of a cave. Ah, but Quick Draw is informed (as he does nothing but blink for seven seconds in some easy footage) he is really looking for “my scape-grace twin brother, Snaggletooth” in a silly piece of erstwhile Elizabethan stage-inspired dramatic dialogue that Maltese liked trotting out occasionally (Rabbit Hood is a good example). Snagglepuss tricks Quick Draw into giving him his gun to track down the bounder who, of course, really doesn’t exist, and we can guess what happens next.
Baba is now forced into dressing up a lamb to act as a prey. It works temporarily. Quick Draw shoots Snagglepuss in the butt (the animation shows him screaming in pain but the soundtrack is silent) but the cat runs away. That leaves Quick Draw only one choice—he disguises himself as a king-size sheep and engages in some “dee-licious ba-bas”, telling Baba to shoot when Snagglepuss snatches.
My apologies for the contrast-y screen grabs and the annoying station bug. These who-knows-how-many-generation recordings off cable TV are all I’ve got. I can only hope the full Quick Draw series will be remastered and released because it’s still my favourite of the H-B TV shorts.
An ad in the Los Angeles Times and a review in Variety reveal this was the first Quick Draw cartoon to air.
Unlike the majority of Quick Draws before Hoyt Curtin’s stock library was used, there is no music from Jack Shaindlin here. All the material apparently came from Phil Green’s EMI Photoplay library which was picked up by Capitol. There’s one melody I can’t identify, but the arrangement could very well be Green’s. Most of these beds got a good workout for a couple of years by Hanna-Barbera; Custard Pie Capers is used at the end of quite a few Quick Draw and Snooper and Blabber cartoons.
0:00 - Quick Draw sub main title theme (Hanna-Barbera-Curtin).
0:24 - GR-80 FRED KARNO’S ARMY (Green) – Quick Draw accepts job.
1:34 - GR-93 DRESSED TO KILL (Green) – Baba spots Snagglepuss carrying sheep; Quick Draw shoots him; Snagglepuss takes Quick Draw’s gun and shoots him.
2:46 – GR-453 THE ARTFUL DODGER (Green) – Quick Draw plants lion trap.
3:29 - GR 76 POPCORN Bridge 2 (Green) – Snagglepuss blows into paper bag.
3:38 - GR-456 DOCTOR QUACK (Green) – Quick Draw caught in lion trap; “Twin brother” bit; Snagglepuss shoots Quick Draw again.
4:53 - GR-472 HICKSVILLE (Green) – Baba dresses as sheep; Quick Draw dresses as sheep.
6:15 - violin, harp and horn romantic music (?) – Mountain Goat romances Quick Draw.
6:45 - GR-77 CUSTARD PIE CAPERS (Green) – Quick Draw runs from Mountain Goat; Snagglepuss refuses to give him a ride.
7:08 - Quick Draw sub end title theme (Hanna-Barbera-Curtin).