Produced by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Animation – Lew Marshall; Layouts – Ed Benedict; Backgrounds – Bob Gentle (?); Story – Mike Maltese; Story Sketches – Dan Gordon; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson (no credits).
Voice cast: Doggie Daddy – Doug Young; Augie, Chops, TV host – Daws Butler; Humboldt – Don Messick.
First Aired: 1960.
Plot: Augie and Doggie Daddy try to protect Humboldt the Humming Hummingbird from a cat before his TV debut.
There aren’t too many cartoons where everyone’s a winner, but this one is pretty close. Sure, the bad guy cat doesn’t get his desired avian meal but he’s happy at the end. Augie and his trained bird get to make their TV debut, just like they wanted. Daddy’s smart enough to see through the cat’s schemes. So it’s a satisfying cartoon. And how often do you get Daws Butler and Don Messick humming in harmony?
The cartoon starts with Daddy on the phone to the TV station. Note a picture of a member of the Doggie clan in the background. In the next room, Augie is getting ready for the big TV show by conducting Humboldt the Hummingbird, who is humming ‘Swanee River.’
This draws the attention of a passing almond-eyed cat named Chops. “Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to absorb a little musical knowledge,” he confides to us. “I think I’ll absorb a little musical lunch.” So that quickly sets up the cartoon.
While Augie is teaching Humboldt to be more “piana-missimo” and talking to Daddy about the big show, the cat grabs the bird and doesn’t get out of the Doggie residence, evidently because of its huge size as he runs past the same window ten and a half times. Maltese gives us a silly sight gag. Daddy spots the cat disguised as a lamp, complete with light bulbs in the ears. He presses the cat’s nose and the lights turn on. He pulls off one of the cat’s whiskers, resulting in a yell of pain and Humboldt flies out of the cat’s mouth. About all the cat can come up with as an explanation is “How are you fixed for lamps?” With that, the cat is booted off the property. “If it’s one thing I can’t stand,” Daddy remarks, “it’s a lamp that yells ‘youch’.”
Daddy: If it’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s a lamp that yells “Youch!”
Chops (in the doorway): Sir, you are a cat hater.
Now the cat disguises himself as “the musical director from the TV station,” with one of Daws’ nutty Germanic accents. The “professor” hates to work on an empty stomach, he explains, so he decides to make the rehearsal with Humboldt “a little lunch-issimo.” The baton he’s waving at the bird imaginatively conceals a fork.
Next thing you know, Daddy hears “a hum for help”. A dash to the kitchen reveals Humboldt is humming from a pot on the stove. The cat’s explanation isn’t something you’d hear in too many kids’ cartoons:
Chops: He is rehearsing the fire scene from Faust and I’m putting him in the proper mood.
Chops gets punted out the door again, crying “The network president shall hear of this!”
“Merry Christmas! Noël! Skol! And stuff like that there!” Yes, the cat comes down the chimney disguised as Santa and he has a waffle iron for Humboldt. Suspicious Daddy checks the calendar—much like Elmer Fudd in The Wabbit Who Came to Supper (1942), written by Maltese—and observes it reads “July.” Another hum for help from inside the waffle iron brings Daddy zipping into the scene with a firecracker.
Chops: Ho, ho, ho. And a happy New Year to you.
Daddy: Ho, ho, ho. And a happy Fourth of July to you.
Chops gets punted out the door yet again, crying “The Christmas Club will hear of this!”
Humboldt is “a little bit waffled.”
The cat now sticks a pair of pinchers on a long rod through the back window to get at Humboldt’s cage. Daddy outsmarts him by substituting his head for the bird in the bottomless cage, humming ‘Swanee River.’ Apparently that fools the cat because he grabs Daddy by the nose and pulls him through the cage.
Chops: Oh, oh! (chuckles) Wrong bird. Sorry, chum, but humming dogs give me indigestion.
The cat rushes into the house and finally manages to swallow Humboldt by taking the short cut. And to prove it to Daddy, the cat opens his mouth and we get a static shot for nine seconds as we hear an echoey bird humming from inside.
However, the show must go on, as Daddy puts Chops in the cage (which has redeveloped a bottom) and carts him off to the TV station. The final scene opens with a variety show host, sounding suspiciously Ed Sullivan-esque, introducing “a really great shew.” We see Augie in tails conducting Humboldt, who is humming inside the smiling cat. The bird pops out of Chops’ ear and the two of them join together to hum ‘Swanee River’ in harmony, followed by Good Evening, Friends!, the little four-note tune Bugs Bunny plays at the end of the Maltese-written Long-Haired Hare (1949).
Over the applause, Daddy remarks “One thing I gotta admit—dat cat has an ear for music.”
Don Messick said in an interview the Humboldt character was one of his favourites. The bird is likeable and Chops makes a good adversary, but the two of them unfortunately turned out to be one-shot characters.
There’s also an animation error in the short. As Augie and Daddy turn their heads to watch the “Director” walk by, Daddy loses his nose for two frames. The heads are on seperate cells from the bodies (which don’t move), so it looks like it’s not a camera error.
The sound cutter has the sense to not have stock music in the background when the humming is going on. He also doesn’t let any of the music drag on for too long. There’s a good selection of Jack Shaindlin’s circus-show biz type music which have titles but I don’t know what they are, though one has the word ‘Fireman’ in the title. Another piece with an origin that has eluded me is the woodwind one that, after a short introduction, starts at C, jumps an octave, drops to F sharp, then has four notes in the next bar.
0:00 - Augie Doggie main title theme (Hoyt Curtin).
0:05 - GR-155 PARKS AND GARDENS (Phil Green) – Daddy on phone to TV station, Augie suggests “andante”.
0:22 - Swanee River (Trad.) – Bird hums, Chops pops up in window.
0:32 - GR-155 PARKS AND GARDENS (Green) – Chops at window, Augie suggests “piana-missimo.”
0:57 - Swanee River (Trad.) – Bird hums.
1:01 - GR-81 FRED KARNO'S ARMY BRIDGE No 1 (Green) – ‘Agent’ Dad talks with Augie, cat grabs Humboldt.
1:12 - GR-334 LIGHT AGITATED BRIDGE (Green) – Chops runs away.
1:26 - C-C+-F# comedy open (?) – Chops in lamp, kicked out of house.
2:05 - Swanee River (Trad.) – Bird hums, “Director” arrives.
2:13 - THE HAPPY COBBLER (Hecky Krasnow) – “Director” enters, “proceed, please.”
2:47 - Swanee River (Trad.) – Bird hums, fork comes out of baton.
2:49 - ‘FIREMAN’ (Shaindlin) – Hum for help; kitchen scene, “Director” kicked out of house.
3:26 - GR-248 STREETS OF THE CITY (Green) – “Santa” enters, Daddy looks at calendar.
4:12 - vaudeville rising scale music (Shaindlin) – “Santa” blown up; kicked out of house.
4:27 - CB-83A Mr. TIPPY TOES (Harry Bluestone-Emil Cadkin) – ‘Waffled’ Humbolt, Daddy pulled through cage.
5:03 - GR-255 PUPPETRY COMEDY (Green) – Chops and Daddy at window.
5:17 - SIX DAY BIKE RACE (Shaindlin) – Chops runs down hall; swallows bird.
5:33 - GR-346 FIRST BUDS (Green) – “Where’s Humboldt, Augie?”
5:39 - Swanee River (Trad.) – Humboldt hums.
5:47 - CB-83A Mr. TIPPY TOES (Bluestone-Cadkin) – TV station calls.
6:02 - GR-258 THE TIN DRAGOONS (Green) – TV host intros Augie and Humboldt.
6:18 - Swanee River (Trad.) – Humboldt and Chops hum.
6:43 - vaudeville rising scale music (Shaindlin) – Doggie talks to camera.
6:49 – Augie Doggie end title theme (Curtin).