Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – George Nicholas; Layout – Walt Clinton; Backgrounds – Bob Gentle; Story – Mike Maltese; Story Director – Alex Lovy; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voices: Quick Draw, Baba Looey, Man from Bank, Bank Manager, Engineer, Newspaper Reader 2, Sheriff, Townspeople, Phoney El Kabong – Daws Butler; Narrator, Horse Face Harry, Newspaper Reader 1, Deputy, Townspeople, Phoney El Kabong – Don Messick.
Music: Phil Green; Jack Shaindlin, Louis DeFrancesco?, unknown.
First aired: week of March 14, 1960 (repeated, week of Sept. 12, 1960)
Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-025, Production J-72.
Plot: El Kabong tries to clear his name when bandit Horse Face Harry assumes his identity.
Was there ever a bad El Kabong cartoon? This is the fourth and last one produced for the 1959-60 season and it has exactly what you’d expect: catchphrases, shameless puns, lots of kabongs and crashes, stylised layouts, and a fight scene that stops for a pleasant conversation. And the bad guy loses, but so does the good guy (with Baba making an observation to the audience to finish the cartoon).
It also has the return of Horse Face Harry, although he’s played by Don Messick this time instead of Doug Young. I like the fact that Quick Draw’s supposed secret idea is known by Horse Face, who steals it.
George Nicholas handles the animation. You can tell by the little horseshoe shape at the side of the mouth when the characters say certain vowels. His animation is, unfortunately, not as fun as some of his stuff earlier in the season. But, like Dick Lundy, he’ll turn Quick Draw’s head at an angle during dialogue so he’s not just doing head bobs like Lew Marshall. Walt Clinton has some stylised incidental characters. And Bob Gentle’s mountains in the background are a solid colour for a change but with a bit of spongework at the bottom.
The earliest El Kabongs began with poetic narration and that’s what happens in this cartoon. There’s a pan over Spanish-style buildings and purple mountains in the background, resting at a statue of El Kabong (with guitar).
This is a tale of a quiet Western village
That once was the scene of plunder and pillage
‘Til those responsible, the doers of wrong
Were caught by the phantom El Kabong.
The music and scene suddenly changes, and we’re informed by a tiny-pupilled little man (a Nicholas trademark) the bank has been robbed. The narrator laments “If only El Kabong were here,” and the little guy tells us that’s who is robbing the bank. A mini-crime spree follows, with kabongings of a bank manager and a train engineer (with the voice of Cap’n Crunch) in between newspaper headline gags.
Man (reading): “El Kabong Turns Bandit. Robs Bank on Beautiful Spring Day.” I can’t believe it! The weatherman said it was going to rain.
Man (reading): “El Kabong Robs Train and Fleas.” What in the world would he want with fleas?
We fade to the sheriff and his deputies, deciding how to capture El Kabong, and the solution is for one of them to dress up as a damsel in distress to lure him into an ambush, yelling “Won’t someone help a damsel in distress?” There’s a rifle-laden posse hidden in an adobe storefront, an old ranch house and a wooden cart (and shots of each).
The scene cuts to Quick Draw, happily strumming his guitar while a barely-tolerating Baba Looey listens to him croon: “Ohhhh, I’m not a cactus, honey. I just forgot to shave.” We don’t get the rest of the lyrics because Baba interrupts the song because he hears something. “Sounds like a female critter yellin’ her head off,” Quick Draw observes, meaning it’s a job for El Kabong, so he ducks behind a boulder to change outfits. As in the Warners cartoon Super Rabbit (1944), he emerges with the wrong one. One corrected, there’s a repetition-dialogue gag, with the disguised deputy referring to himself as a “poor female critter in distress.” El Kabong now jumps from a building, swinging on a rope to the rescue, but is stopped in mid-air by the posse’s bullets. All Quick Draw can say is his catchphrase: “Oooh. That smarts.”
Despite this, the posse doesn’t capture Quick Draw or even talk to him. In the next scene, Quick Draw is standing and talking to Baba Looey, saying he’d “give a plug-ged nickel” to find out why he was being shot at. Just then, an off-camera “Olé!” and Quick Draw gets kabonged. Alex Lovy, or whoever, heightened the violence by adding two frames of black in the middle of the kabong. Quick Draw recognises who is responsible. “That handsome critter is Horse Face Harry, the outlaw, who looks just like handsome me.” Harry demands the plugged nickel. Quick Draw doesn’t even “have a real nickel” so he gets kabonged again. We get three black frames and two white frames in the middle of the kabong this time.
So Quick Draw hatches a plan. He hands Baba Looey a bag of gold that came from somewhere and when Horse Face Harry shows up and kabongs him, Quick Draw will kabong the bad guy right back. Baba doesn’t thin’ he likes the plan, which gives our hero a chance to give us his “I’ll do the thinnin’ around here, Baba Looey, and don’t you forget it.” The plan doesn’t work anyway. The two El Kabongs swoop down on Baba and end up colliding in mid air.
The two now get into a battle with their guitars (which magically appeared from somewhere; they didn’t have them when swinging on their ropes). The clash gets interrupted when Quick Draw complements Horse Face on the quality of his kabonger and the two start chatting about Pop Brady’s guitar shop in San Antone. I like how Nicholas saves some drawing in the shot by having the guitars in reverse; no need to draw strings. Baba interrupts the pleasantries to remind Quick Draw he’s got a job to do. That, of course, reminds Horse Face, who kabongs Quick Draw and makes off with the gold.
Baba Looey thin’s he’ll “take the shortscuts and give Quickstraw some assistance.” That he does. He disgustedly shoves a boulder on a rope at Horse Face swinging on a rope. A collision is inevitable. Of course, so is the rope snapping and the boulder plummeting onto Quick Draw. The bash knocks him silly. Well, sillier than usual.
So that takes care of Horse Face Harry. Only one problem. El Kabong forgets to collect the $25,000 reward for his capture. So he swings from his rope through the glass window of the sheriff’s office. The sheriff, who originally though Quick Draw was El Kabong, now isn’t impressed. “Well, you can join the other phoney El Kabongs outside.” Quick Draw looks out the door and there are about eight of them, including one with the wimpy voice Don Messick used in another El Kabong cartoons. You’d think someone could figure out which one was the real El Kabong by comparing them all to the statue in the town square but, no matter. Quick Draw tries to assert his rightful identity as El Kabong (tossing in a “Hold on thar!” in the process) and gets clobbered by the fakes. The tag line by Baba as Quick Draw runs away, ouching and ooching: “That Quickstraw. He’s got a soft heart. And a head to match.” It appears we’re out of catchphrases, so it’s a good reason to end the cartoon.
Jack Shaindlin’s ‘Crazy Goof’ makes two appearances on the soundtrack. I’m presuming the harmonica versions of ‘Red River Valley’ and ‘La Cucaracha’ are from the Hi-Q ‘X’ series but I haven’t located them.
0:00 - Quick Draw McGraw Sub Main Title theme (Curtin).
0:15 - Red River Valley (Trad.) – Narrator, shot of statue.
0:27 - GR-387 GATHERING THE PRODUCE (Green) – Man runs from bank, manager kabonged.
0:46 - GR-96 BY JIMINY! IT’S JUMBO (Green) – ‘Spring Day’ newspaper.
0:56 - MAD RUSH No 3 (Shaindlin) – Train engineer kabonged.
1:05 - GR-99 THE DIDDLECOMB HUNT (Green) – ‘Fleas’ newspaper, sheriff’s office scene, deputy caterwauls.
1:47 - guitar strumming (?) – Quick Draw strums guitar.
1:53 - tick tock/flute music (Shaindlin) – Baba hears something, baby outfit, Quick Draw shot.
2:43 - GR-76 POPCORN SHORT BRIDGE No 2 (Green) – Quick Draw in mid-air, drops.
2:49 - CRAZY GOOF (Shaindlin) – Quick Draw kabonged by Horse Face, vows revenge.
3:41 - SF-11 LIGHT MOVEMENT (DeFrancesco?) – Baba with gold, Horse Face on cliff.
4:13 - related to Sportscope (Shaindlin) – Horse Face jumps, collides with Quick Draw, Quick Draw kabonged.
4:32 - GR-472 HICKSVILLE (Green) – “Mighty fine kabonger,” Quick Draw and Horse Face chat, kabong!
4:55 - SIX DAY BICYCLE RACE (Shaindlin) – Horse Face grabs gold, collides with boulder, boulder drops on Quick Draw, goofy song.
5:32 - CRAZY GOOF (Shaindlin) – Baba reads Cactus Sentinel, Quick Draw crashes through window, looks out through door.
6:15 - La Cucaracha (?) – Phoney El Kabongs clobber Quick Draw.
6:33 - Fast circus music (Shaindlin) – Quick Draw runs.
6:43 - Quick Draw Sub-End Title credits (Curtin).