Saturday, 9 July 2011

Augie Doggie — Peck O’ Trouble

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – George Nicholas; Layout – Walt Clinton; Backgrounds – Art Lozzi; Story – Mike Maltese; Story Direction – Alex Lovy; Titles – Lawrence Goble; Production Supervisor – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Augie, Fly, Woodpecker – Daws Butler; Doggie Daddy – Doug Young.
Music: Hecky Krasnow, Phil Green, Jack Shaindlin, Harry Bluestone/Emil Cadkin, Spencer Moore.
First Aired: week of March 7, 1960 (repeat, week of September 5, 1960).
Production: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-024, Production No. J-76.
Plot: Doggie Daddy deals with income tax and a pesky woodpecker.

One of the things that made Hanna-Barbera a success in the early days was the studio was able to take a bunch of familiar cartoon elements, stir them around, and come up with something new. There’s a lot of stuff in this cartoon you’ve seen before. Just to name a few—a heckling woodpecker (Woody), running far away up a hill to make a noise (Avery’s Rock-a-Bye Bear or Deputy Droopy), an ending with a living creature chewing on a pencil to sharpen it (Woody’s Termites From Mars).

Doggie Daddy dealt with hecklers before in Crow Cronies and Good Mouse Keeping. This time, though, we get George Nicholas’ expressions. You’ve seen them in other cartoons. The small-pupilled stunned look.

One drawing of a nice scare take.

Part of a goofy sneeze take. Augie actually develops nostrils.

Augie races away but leaves an outline of himself and then outline follows him in smear lines. Nicholas uses a lot of this effect in the cartoon. He does the same thing with the woodpecker.

It appears Mike Maltese didn’t quite have enough material to round out the story so he added some silly business at the start before he got into the plot. The woodpecker doesn’t show up right away. First, Doggie Daddy gets a headache doing his taxes. Then, a fly with noisy feet lands on his tax forms and starts walking around. Daddy uses a fly-swatter to scare him off. The fly has nothing to do with the story and doesn’t appear again. It’s like Maltese enjoyed the concept of a fly with noisy feet, so he put him in the story to pad for a bit of time.

And I suspect Maltese quickly churned out the story in this one. If he had more time to develop dialogue, the woodpecker could have been as facetious as the crow or as non-sequitur-ish as the mouse in the cartoons mentioned above. A lot of dialogue strikes me as fairly obvious instead of funny, though I like how when the woodpecker is surveying all the wooden furniture in the Daddy home, gives matter-of-fact descriptions, then says “Chair à la Louis” like it’s some French dish (real French would be “au Louis” but that sounds more Irish than French). The best lines are when Daddy is working on his income tax because they’re a parody of something that sounds all too familiar:

Daddy: Let’s see. The expenditures here on Form 12B are only deductible if Form 12B happens to be Form 11C.

While all this calculating is going on, the woodpecker flaps down onto the window sill, sees the furniture and realises he’s “hit the wooden jackpot.” For the sake of the plot, Maltese now sets aside the fact woodpeckers don’t actually eat wood. The bird enthusiastically demolishes a pile of property, injuring Doggie Daddy on the way. The list:

● A chair (à la Louis).
● A stand holding up a plant vase.
● A piano (“No, I won’t do it. I’ll fight it. I’ll be strong. I .. will .. not .. do .. it.” Pause. “Lucky me. I lost!”).
● A baseball bat tossed by Daddy (turned into a boomerang which returns to bash Daddy in the snout).

● Part of the floor (Daddy falls through).
● A sledgehammer handle (the hammer part falls on Daddy’s head).
● Part of the outside wall.
● The garage (except for the door, which falls on top of Daddy when he lifts it up).

● A ladder Daddy is climbing (“This time, you’re a gone goose of a dead duck of a woodpecker,” cries Daddy. Daddy falls to the ground).

You’ll notice how Doggie Daddy’s injury changes from one eye to the other.

Daddy waves the white flag to surrender. Yes, once again, we have another cartoon in which Augie can keep his new friend for 99 years (“Make it 98 years,” corrects the woodpecker. “I don’t want to, you know, wear out my welcome”). But Doggie Daddy wins in the end because he can use the woodpecker in his home. And he’s deductible.

Daddy: After all, how many people can say they have a real, live woodpecker pencil sharpener in da house? Ha ha ha ha.

There’s a great little oboe and sweet potato cue when the fly is buzzing around and scrunching on Daddy’s desk. Reader Steve Carras guessed correctly that it’s by Hecky Krasnow, who was a vice-president of a subsidiary of Sam Fox Publishing as of 1957, and whose music was published in the Fox library. The last cue is similar to Jack Shaindlin’s “Sportscope” but is still unidentified.

0:00 - Augie Doggie main title theme (Curtin).
0:24 - GR-65 BUSH BABY (Green) – Daddy does taxes.
1:02 - SWINGING GHOSTS (Krasnow) – Fly scene.
1:17 - GR-454 THE ARTFUL DODGER SHORT BRIDGE No 1 (Green) – Daddy “noisy feet” line, Augie has to sneeze.
1:29 - LFU-117-1 MAD RUSH No. 1 (Shaindlin) – Augie rushes outside to sneeze.
1:35 - L-1158 ANIMATION COMEDY (Moore) – Augie tippy-toes past Daddy, sneezes, Daddy in ceiling.
1:44 - CB-89 ROMANTIC JAUNT (Bluestone-Cadkin) – Daddy does taxes, woodpecker looks inside home, eats chair, woodpecker talks to Augie.
2:37 - SIX DAY BICYCLE RACE (Shaindlin) – Woodpecker eats stand, Augie runs away with vase.
2:46 - CB-89 ROMANTIC JAUNT (Bluestone-Cadkin) – Daddy talks to Augie in bedroom.
3:05 - THE HAPPY COBBLER (Krasnow) – Augie talks to woodpecker, woodpecker eats piano, Daddy tosses baseball bat.
3:53 - fast circus chase music (Shaindlin) – Bat flies through air, turned into boomerang, clobbers Daddy, Daddy falls through hole in floor, bashed with sledgehammer, woodpecker skids into garage.
4:57 - SIX DAY BICYCLE RACE (Shaindlin) – “Look, pop, I’m scared, I’m scared!”, door falls on Daddy, ladder scene.
6:06 - GR-65 BUSH BABY (Green) – Augie rushes to Daddy, Daddy surrenders, woodpecker sharpens pencil.
6:51 - related to SPORTSCOPE (Shaindlin) – Daddy talks to audience.
7:08 - Augie Doggie end title theme (Curtin).


  1. 'Sweet Potato Toodle-Loo', eh? I always loved that scene for it's music.

  2. I have no idea what it's actually called, Zartok. But that's the best description I can come up with. It fit in pretty well in Mars Little Precious, too.

  3. That cue's used in "Yuk Yuk Duck" with (proto)Yakky Doodle first time he shows up and in a "My Three Sons" at the end (B&W-like Hoyt Curtin, Frank De Vol first did opens and closes for Don Fedderson (MTS and Family Affair producer) with the Seely and Shaindlin libraries used, then took over for nearly all Don Fedderson music, although it was well after the similiar position Hoyt Curtin finally held around 1961-1962 for all the HB shows..)

    That running outside "Deputy Droopy" bit is tied in with the tag used with it in Tex's "Rockabye Point" as the most used (in just about everything) with the ubiquitous bit (like, in the early Hanna-Barbera universe, the profiled etnries "Rustle Bustle" (or whatever that's called) with Huck, and the Augie short "Skunk You Very Much"), as far as Tex jokes go. Pseudo-Droopy and Spike first used it in "Roackabye Bear", before Dept.Droopy, but of course it was Hanna and Barbera themselves at MGM, including an Academy Award winning Tom and Jerry, "Quiet Please", thru "Royal Cat Nap".

    Also, "It's a Worm Day" is an excellent Augie short, not profiled, with a Frank Nelson soundalike as a library floorwalker, that is centered around the briefly featured, of a character trying to utter a sound legitamatgely to please the easily bothered, by virtue of running up the hill. And it's Augie and the Nelson-like floorwalker (at Augie's pal Irving the Bookworm's doing) at the victim end of that trying to find a "noise place" as in the hill bit used in "Peck O'Trouble" and in the other cartoons mentioned.

    ALways borrow the best. The sincerest form of flattery.:-)


  4. Steve (see above for Facebook page)9 July 2011 at 19:49

    BTW in my second paragraph. "Tag" should have been gag, and "Ubiquitous" referring to the character's properties, like Droopy or the skunk in that Augie short appearing everywhere, in case anybody didn't understand.

  5. We (or rather, most of us) know that "woodpeckers don't eat wood". But THIS one is arrogant and nutty enough to subsist on them...especially if he annoys Doggie Daddy in the process. And when was the last time you saw a woodpecker wearing a straw hat? And if Maltese had been able to, the woodpecker would have made an observation on one of his "other" relatives {"I got a cousin who's a big movie star. Got this crazy laugh- nice guy, but he's such an--"/"AUGIE!"/"You'd better hide, Woodpecker."/"Yeah...what I think of him isn't fit for mixed company, anyway."}

    Still, you have to admire the woodpecker's chutzpah. When he sees Daddy throwing a ladder against the tree he's perched on, he KNOWS what the outcome's going to be, and lets "us" in on it: "A wooden ladder? Boy, this guy's asking for it!". Sure enough, he consumes it whole, and Daddy realizes too late his mistake in using one {"Uh-oh! That was a WOODEN ladder!"}- and down he goes.

    One of my personal favorites!

  6. A woodpecker that can sharpen pencils very useful indeed

  7. Toodle-Doo Oo...Swining Ghosts, Hecky Krasnow (as credited above).Steve J.Carras, dedicated Augie fanantic