Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – Ken Muse; Layout – Dick Bickenbach; Backgrounds – Fernando Montealegre; Story – Mike Maltese; Story Sketches – Dan Gordon; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Little Robber, Dynamite Robber, Quick Draw, Baba Looey, Durn Meany, Horse – Daws Butler; Narrator, Slinkerton Man, Conductor, Gooden Meany – Doug Young.
Music: Jack Shaindlin, Phil Green, Bill Loose-John Seely.
Production No: M-008, episode J-9.
First Aired: week of Nov. 16, 1959 (repeated week of May 16, 1960).
Plot: Quick Draw tries to bring in train-robbing brothers Gooden and Durn Meany.
This may be the one Hanna-Barbera cartoon where you don’t see the dramatic climax. In an ingenious animation-saving move, a fight takes place in a railway tunnel for 13 seconds. The bulk of it consists solely of a drawing of the tunnel, revolving over and over, accompanied by sound effects and shouts. Then our heroes emerge from the other end victorious.
And that’s not even the longest bit of non-animation. Near the start of the cartoon, we get 14 seconds of nothing but a background drawing. The only action is a quick camera pan from one side to the other as we hear the solemn tones of narrator Doug Young.
One other background gets a fair bit of use. It’s of the prairie desert, and we see it in most of the exterior shots. It’s hard to judge from the available copies how correct the colour is, but you can see there’s no difference in the colour of the horizon and the ground. The earth is differentiated by the reddish and reddish-purple mountains, some cacti and brown spots and, of course, railroad tracks. The sky is indicated by some long clouds. It’s minimal but effective.
This is one of the earlier Quick Draws. Daws Butler’s voices were a little different in the beginning; Baba Looey’s pitch was lower and there are spots where Quick Draw sounds a bit duller and enunciates more than later.
Mike Maltese whips up some familiar-seeming gags and situations. The cartoon even opens like Hare Trigger (1945), the Bugs-Yosemite Sam classic he wrote for Friz Freleng as a steam train chugs along toward a pint-sized robber on the tracks. Unfortunately, Maltese doesn’t borrow the great gag of the train going over the crook. We rely on dialogue instead.
Little Robber: Stick ‘em up, you rich ol’ choo-choo train, you!
(Train crashes into robber and runs over him).
Little Robber: Oooooh! That’s not fair!
After a Wile E. Coyote-ish ‘dynamite-blows-up-late’ gag, we see Quick Draw sworn in as a Slinkerton special deputy; Pinkerton detectives entered western folklore in the 1880s guarding trains and tracking down outlaws like Jesse James. The gag’s an old one. Quick Draw is stabbed with the pin on the star-shaped badge. He doesn’t say “Oooo. That smarts!” yet. Maltese is still working on that catchphrase. We do get the other ones, though. When Baba tries to run away before he’s shoved in the mail car’s safe with the cattlemen’s money, Quick Draw yells “Hold on thar!” He adds “I’ll do the thin’in’ around here” when Baba shouts “I don’t thin’ I want anythin’ to do with this thin’!” And he vows “This money is goin’ through. And don’t you for-get it.”
The Meany brothers pop up out of a carpetbag and are confronted by ‘Doggone Meany,’ who in “real-ti-ty” is Quick Draw. “I’ll be dog-gonned if I’m-a goin’ to let you rob this here choo-choo train,” he promises. They shoot at his hat. Here’s the gag. Did Warners use a bullet-spelling gag?
So we get a lot of chasing on the train. Quick Draw runs after the Meanys, but simply goes in a straight line into the firebox (the Meanys duck behind the door). Maltese purloins his own smoke-from-stack-spells-‘Yipe’ gag right from Mississippi Hare (1949) then carries on with more from that cartoon as Quick Draw races to a water cooler and sits in a paper cup filled with water. Too bad he didn’t lift the “Need change for the water cooler” part from that cartoon.
Maltese isn’t through grabbing from his Warners’ days. After another “Hold on thar!” and “Don’t you for-get it!” he calls the Meanys “varmints” as he chases them through five passenger cars (or the same one five times) and out the back end of the train. Quick Draw doesn’t fall when he realises he’s in mid-air, though (after all, there must be a limit on many Warners’ gags can you borrow in a minute). He simply turns around, yells “Hold on thar!” at the train and runs after it while he’s still in the air.
“Stop the train!” yells Quick Draw. So Durn pulls the cord. Suddenly, the train has only one passenger car as we get a pan of the full train and the camera rests with Quick Draw sticking out through the engine. “Hmm. Mighty fine brakes!” he remarks.
After another cord-pull puts the shotgun-totin’ Quick Draw halfway through the back of a seat, Maltese drags out the old ‘character-on-top-of-train-unexpectly-whacked-by-tunnel-entrance’ gag. The dialogue before that is typical Maltese stuff:
Quick Draw: Drop that safe, you crooked, dishonest, thief and outlaw, you.
Gooden: Never, you honest, upright, courageous Slinkerton man, you. (Wham against tunnel entrance)
Remember Baba Looey? He’s in this cartoon. Specifically, he’s in the safe that goes flying skyward by the tunnel impact. He opens the door and wisely decides to stay inside. Now we get the old ‘I-got-it-I-didn’t-get-it’ gag as Quick Draw doesn’t catch the safe. Muse has a little low stomping action on Quick Draw as he yells “I got it” into the sky.
Gooden is magically back on the train. He catches the safe and jumps off the train.
Gooden: And now to make my getaway on my getaway hoss.
But he doesn’t count on the weight factor.
Gooden: Get up, my faithful getaway hoss.
Horse (facetiously): Aw, sure!
Quick Draw calls Gooden a “varmint” again as he grabs the safe and runs toward the railway tunnel. The Meanys follow on a handcar. Then we get the climax where all we can see is the outside of the tunnel rolling past for 13 seconds (you can count the same small, dark rock 13 times). The dialogue during all this reveals the Meanys open the safe and find Baba inside, shouting “Stick ‘em, crook-ses!” We can see the arrest when the camera finally reaches the end of the tunnel.
There’s a nice conclusion to the cartoon. “Just remember, crimes don’t pays,” says Baba. Quick Draw opens the door of the safe from the inside and adds his “And donnn’t you forget it” catchphrase, then turns to us and says “Good night, folks” before closing the door to end the cartoon.
The Meanys return in Twin Troubles the following season. They’re still drawn by Ken Muse but they’re bald in that one.
After listening several times, I’m giving a tentative ID to the music at the start of the cartoon. It’s hard to tell due to the narration and sound effects but parts of it match a cue I’ve found in the Hi-Q ‘D’ series. We get ‘Custard Pie Capers’ and the clompy ‘The Diddlecomb Hunt’ twice. And there’s another mystery Shaindlin piece that starts with a trombone gliss and ends with almost the same melody as ‘Sportscope,’ though the sound-cutter doesn’t get to the end of the cue.
0:00 - Quick Draw sub main title theme (Curtin).
0:14 - TC-14 CHASE-MEDIUM (Loose-Seely) – Train runs down little bandit, dynamite blows up.
0:54 - TC-205 LIGHT MOVEMENT (Loose-Seely) – Slinkerton scene, pan to mail car door.
1:35 - GR-90 THE CHEEKY CHAPPIE (Green) – “And prepare to spring the trap,” mail car scene.
2:06 - GR-347 GATHERING THE PRODUCE (Green) – Passengers, Meanys introduce themselves.
2:28 - GR-99 THE DIDDLECOMB HUNT (Green) – “And I’m Doggone Meany,” hat shot at twice.
2:57 - GR-77 CUSTARD PIE CAPERS (Green) – “It don’t, huh?”, Quick Draw in boiler, cools off butt in cup.
3:26 - trombone slide open sports march (Shaindlin) – Quick Draw chases Meanys through train; realises he’s in mid-air.
4:06 - circus running music (Shaindlin) – Quick Draw runs back toward train; crashes through steam engine.
4:31 - GR-99 THE DIDDLECOMB HUNT (Green) – Shotgun gag, “You grab the safe.”
5:03 - SIX DAY BIKE RACE (Shaindlin) – “And I’ll get the horses,” Quick Draw and Gooden on top of train, Baba opens safe, safe crashes through train car, Gooden lands on horse.
5:50 - PG-161G LIGHT COMEDY MOVEMENT (Green) – Horse dialogue scene, Quick Draw grabs safe.
5:58 - LAF-2-12 ON THE RUN (Shaindlin) – Quick Draw runs away with safe, tunnel, handcar emerges.
6:46 - GR-77 CUSTARD PIE CAPERS (Green) – “Do you two Meanys give up?”, Quick Draw says “good night, folks.”
7:03 - Quick Draw sub end title theme (Curtin).