Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – Lew Marshall; Layout – Dick Bickenbach; Backgrounds – Dick Thomas; Story – Warren Fosrer; Story Director – Alex Lovy; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Cast: Pixie – Don Messick; Dixie, Jinks – Daws Butler; Fairy Godmother – Jean Vander Pyl.
Released: November 7, 1959 (BCDB date); December 26, 1959 (Chicago).
Plot: Pixie and Dixie’s fairy godmother mouse takes care of Jinks.
You can’t get more quintessentially Pixie and Dixie than the start of this cartoon. You can’t get more odd than what happens at the end. And in between, you get a bit of a new take on a cartoon staple—the fairy tale. Oh, and you also get what may have been Jean Vander Pyl’s first appearance in a Hanna-Barbera cartoon.
In the first season of the Huck Hound show, there were a grand total of two female voices, one of which sound like they could belong to Ginny Tyler. The next season, H-B added the Quick Draw McGraw Show to its production schedule, and Julie Bennett came on board as Sagebrush Sal (in Masking For Trouble, released April 11, 1960). But I can’t find a cartoon earlier than this that Vander Pyl appeared on.
The start consists of Pixie and Dixie being chased by Jinks past the same chair and cabinet countless times (if you count, it’s 20 and a bit, including the shot of Jinks alone) while Jack Shaindlin’s Toboggan Run whizzes along in the background. Jinks bashes the meece with a broom but, this being limited animation, the victims don’t squash and stretch when they’re hit; the broom just comes down on them and they disappear for a few frames.
The mice lament that they’ll be stuck in their mouse hole for a long time when there’s a yellow flash and a female rodent (with transparent wings) descends. “I’m the mouse fairy godmother,” she pleasantly explains. “I grant wishes, help mice in trouble and all that jazz.” Pixie and Dixie are too “sos-phisticated” to believe in “kids’ story book stuff.” This gives Warren Foster (though the BCDB says it’s Mike Maltese) a chance to roll out a tale of woe for the Vander Pyl mouse to lament, sticking out her front teeth while whistling her s’s.
“Oh, that’s the trouble. Nobody believes any more. Everybody’s a wise guy. To them, I’m just an old lady with a star on a stick.” She waxes on about the “good old days” and relates the tale of Cinderella and how she lived happily ever after. The mice are sold. They believe in the fairy godmother who remarks “You are two of the good ones,” a line which got mileage in a bunch of Yogi Bear cartoons.
“Shall we warm up with a little wish first?” asks the fairy godmother. Dixie asks for a piece of cheese. The mice aren’t impressed. It’s everyone’s favourite cartoon gag cheese. “You didn’t say what kind, you know. Besides, I’m kind of pushing limburger this week,” she remarks.
Now we get into the real plot. Dixie asks the fairy godmother to take care of Jinks, whose minding his own business sleeping by the mouse hole. Suddenly, he’s lifted into the air and crashes to the floor as the invisible fairy godmother laughs.
The mice emerge from their hole. “How’s tricks, fur-face?” asks Pixie. (Wait. Don’t mice have fur, too?). Before the cat can do anything, two cymbals of unknown type appear to smash Jinks’ face between them. Then a vase magically turns into a boomerang to clobber the cat in the face.
The mice decide to investigate what’s in the cookie jar. The cat pops up from inside to use a fly-swatter on them. They run into a closet. The fairy godmother turns them into large dogs just before Jinks arrives.
Here’s Jinks’ exit from the closet, on twos. He leads with his head, then his lower body runs out from under him and stretches as he zips off frame. I don’t think this series of drawings was ever tried again.
The mice-as-dogs chase Jinks but turn into mice as they run (with a flash of light in between, eliminating the need for transformation animation). We get some cute poses of Jinks here. “Spare me! I’m a good pussycat!” he prays to whomever cartoon cats pray to. Then he notices he’s being barked at by mice, who engage in a gag ripped off from Tex Avery (see the end of Ventriloquist Cat) by slowing down their “bow wows” when they see Jinks has caught onto them.
“I do not know what made me think them meeces were dogs. But I’m throoooo fighting fair,” exclaims the rifle-toting Jinks, as Daws Butler has fun stretching a few vowels. Jinks fires the gun at point blank range but a balloon emerges, rises, then explodes on the cat’s face after another yellow flash.
Back into the closet run the mice, and when Jinks opens the door, two alligators are standing there, with Pixie and Dixie’s voices. “Somebody musta, you know, like turned my record over to the flip side, like.” Jinks lopes away ill.
The fairy godmother bids farewell, urging them to call if they need her. And they do. You see, the fairy godmother left her magic wand and they wonder if it will work for them. And it does. As the bedraggled cat watches, the mice have somehow turned themselves in an apple and a banana. Jinks moans that “In broad daylight, yet. I’m having like night-time mares.” So in this cartoon no one wins, including the viewer who is left to think “WTF” as the iris closes.
(One person has written in to explain the ending thusly: “The cartoon is another example of the latent homosexuality of Hanna-Barbera characters. Pixie and Dixie not only share the same bed but in this cartoon they are shown to be “fruits,” which was slang for “gay” in the 1950’s.” Dear Anonymous: get a life.)
The sound cutter decided to switch back and forth between a couple of beds here. As well, there’s a creepy melody used in a bunch of H-B cartoons I can’t place that has a wah-wah trumpet that sounds like it was recorded in a bathroom. Faithful reader Errol has heard it on a bunch of 1950s live-action shows, and pointed out an episode of The Adventures of Hiram Holliday (1956) where it makes an unmistakeable appearance (the music guy on that show was Raoul Kraushaar). So maybe came from Omar Music Service (which had a Capitol connection) as that’s who Kraushaar was connected with.
0:13 - LAF-5-20 TOBOGGAN RUN (Shaindlin) – Jinks chases meece with broom into hole.
0:26 - TC-303 ZANY COMEDY (Bill Loose-John Seely) – Mice fear they’ll be stuck in their hole.
0:58 - TC-25 HEAVENLY HARP (Loose-Seely) – Fairy godmother appears.
1:03 - UNTITLED TUNE (Shaindlin) – Godmother sighs how no one believes in her anymore, cheese appears, godmother agrees to deal with Jinks.
2:56 - TC-25 HEAVENLY HARP (Loose-Seely) – Fairy godmother disappears, Jinks snoozes.
3:09 - LAF-1-1 FISHY STORY (Shaindlin) – Jinks lifted off floor and crashes, cymbals appear.
3:55 - L-75 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Spencer Moore) – Jinks grabs vase, turns into boomerang.
4:12 - LAF-2-12 ON THE RUN (Shaindlin) – Boomerang flies into Jinks.
4:18 - LAF-7-12 FUN ON ICE (Shaindlin) – Mice go to cookie jar, Jinks pops out.
4:30 - ZR-47 LIGHT MOVEMENT (Geordie Hormel) – Mice run into closet.
4:36 - LAF-7-12 FUN ON ICE (Shaindlin) – Mice turn into dogs, Jinks skids into them.
4:45 - ZR-47 LIGHT MOVEMENT (Hormel) – Jinks runs from dogs/mice.
4:55 - LAF-7-12 FUN ON ICE (Shaindlin) – Mice bark at Jinks against wall; Jinks trots after them with rifle; balloon explodes on Jinks’ nose.
5:45 - LAF-2-12 ON THE RUN (Shaindlin) – Mice run into closet.
5:53 - reverbed muted trumpet mysterioso (?) – Jinks opens door; mice are alligators, fairy godmother leaves, mice yell for help.
6:39 - fast circus-type newsreel music (Shaindlin) – Mice, as fruit, run past Jinks.