Saturday, 11 February 2012

Quick Draw McGraw — Dizzy Desperado

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – Lew Marshall; Layout – Bob Givens; Backgrounds – Fernando Montealegre; Story – Mike Maltese; Story Sketches – Dan Gordon; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Quick Draw, Baba Looey – Daws Butler; Narrator, Stagecoach Cluney – Doug Young.
Music: Jack Shaindlin; Phil Green; Harry Bluestone/Emil Cadkin, unknown.
First Aired: week of January 18, 1960 (rerun, week of July 18, 1960).
Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-17, Production J-21.
Plot: A bump on the head turns Baba Looey into a bad guy.

Some old familiar friends from Warner Bros. bubble up in Mike Maltese’s story in this cartoon. The desperado, La Cucaracha, zips past Quick Draw guarding the bank like Speedy Gonzales zooms past Sylvester guarding a hoard of cheese. And there’s a rope that gets stuck on a pulley à la Wile E. Coyote. Maltese isn’t the only Warners connection in the cartoon. The layouts were done by Bob Givens, who says he and Maltese came to Hanna-Barbera as a team. Givens had been in Bob McKimson’s unit at Warners and doesn’t seem to have stayed at Hanna-Barbera all that long; he soon was working for Larry Harmon Productions, laying out Popeye TV cartoons. His background layouts are fine. Here’s a panorama of the town that opens the cartoon. The mountains in the background are two-tone.

There’s only one character in the cartoon besides the principals, bad guy Stagecoach Clooney. Givens has given him a simplified design, like Ed Benedict might, but not as stylised. It’s almost like something out of a 1960 Mr. Magoo cartoon, which wouldn’t be surprising because Givens loved UPA. Baba looks so flat in the shot to the right, his body could be a rug on the desert.

Maltese opened almost all his Quick Draws with narration and apparently Doug Young must have been in the studio that day because he gets the job instead of Don Messick or Hal Smith. Doug puts on an urgent, somewhat raspy voice that works very well. He tells us “This the story of Little Cucaracha, the bandit” and suddenly a silhouette (that looks like a puppet) pops up against the outside of a hotel and starts firing. It’s followed by a long shot of a stagecoach. We never see the horses in anything other than this shot; besides Clooney, Givens ended up designing only some backgrounds and a few props.

Baba, for reasons of the plot I suppose, is uncharacteristically clumsy at the outset of the cartoon. He accidentally fires his rifle and it nails Quick Draw in the snout. It’s the eighth time that day he’s done it. Quick Draw isn’t drawn very attractively here. Since there were model sheets for the main characters (layout artists came up with final incidental character designs), I wonder if it’s just simply the way Lew Marshall drew him in three-quarter view.

The stage is stopped by Stagecoach Clooney. Baba shoots Quick Draw instead of the bandit. “What’s the use?” the singed-snouted Quick Draw rhetorically asks us. Clooney demands the gold-filled strong-box. Now it’s Quick Draw’s turn to be clumsy. He drops it on the head of the bad guy and then Baba. The blow doesn’t affect the bad guy, but it turns Baba into a crook who decides “I thin’ I keep the gold for myself.” This gives Quick Draw the chance to utter his first catchphrase “I’ll do the thin’in’...” etc. Now Baba speaks in a lower voice (much like he did in the first few cartoons of the series) and has adopted the name ‘Little Cucaracha’ (perhaps ‘Little Burro’ was taken). He shoots Quick Draw in the face and gives the camera a weird expression before vamoosing with the strong-box.

The narrator returns along with a pan of wanted posters. I wonder who Tim Tulley was.

Baba has somehow developed speed after the conk on the head as he rushes past Quick Draw guarding the bank twice to grab bags of gold. If you go frame-by-frame, you’ll see Baba doesn’t have any gold. It’s just the cycle animation of Baba going toward the bank turned over and inked and painted on the other side. The second time, Quick Draw calculates he can drop a large rock on Baba’s head and snap him out of his evildoing. But Baba’s too speedy and Quick Draw drops the rock on his foot. All we’re missing is Baba saying “Andale!” and Quick Draw reaction with “Sufferin’ Succotash!” We do get “Gad! The smarts!” from our hero.

Quick Draw decides to clobber the head of his former friend with a one-ton weight that he hoists up with a pulley, just like Wile E. Coyote did with a piano in ‘Hook, Line and Stinker’ (1958). And just like in the Warners cartoon (also written by Maltese), the rope sticks in the pulley after Quick Draw lets go. Quick Draw tells Baba to hold the rope while he unsticks it. Naturally, when that’s done, Baba lets go and the weight lands on the coyote Quick Draw, crushing him and turning him into a hat with a pair of feet (like Red Hot Ryder in 1944’s ‘Buckaroo Bugs’).

Since there was a one-ton weight conveniently in the desert, why not a cannon? That’s what Quick Draw fires to try to bop Baba. And it works. Baba is back to normal. But the cannon ball bounces onto Quick Draw’s head. Now he thinks he’s a bird and flies south for the winter, joining a pair of ducks in the air. Maltese tosses in a movie reference as Baba yells “Come back, little Quickstraw!” And he shamelessly has Baba make the old groaner observation that Quick Draw is for the birds.

We get two renditions of a Jack Shaindlin tune (I haven’t been able to identify it) with scurring strings and a happy oboe line. Actually, we get it three times because it’s edited into itself the second time it appears in the cartoon. There’s also a full version of Phil Green’s ‘Streets of the City’ from his Big City Suite No. 2. Appropriately, a harmonica version of ‘La Cucaracha’ is on the soundtrack but I don’t know its source. And there’s another short trumpet piece at the beginning of the cartoon that may be a Sam Fox library cue. It was used at the end of ‘Elephant Boy Oh Boy!’

0:00 - Quick Draw McGraw Sub-Main Title theme (Curtin).
0:14 - related to Suspense Under Dialogue (Shaindlin) – Pan of town, silhouette.
0:33 - trumpet medium dance (?) – Long shot of stagecoach, rifle goes off, Quick Draw mimics Baba.
1:00 - CB-86A HIDE AND SEEK (Cadkin-Bluestone) – Bullets fly, Baba blasts Quick Draw, strongbox lands on bad guy and Baba.
1:40 - CAPERS (Shaindlin) – Quick Draw looks at bad guy, Baba feels funny.
1:50 - jaunty bassoons and skipping strings (Shaindlin) – Baba sees gold, shoots Quick Draw.
2:21 - CAPERS (Shaindlin) – Baba runs away with gold, Quick Draw talks to bad guy.
2:48 - La Cucaracha (Trad.) – Posters, pan of buildings.
3:04 - GR-248 STREETS OF THE CITY (Green) – Quick Draw in front of bank, Bab steals bag of gold, Quick Draw drops rock on foot, one-ton weight falls on Quick Draw.
5:14 - jaunty bassoons and skipping strings (Shaindlin) – Quick Draw under hat, shoots cannon ball, ball lands on Baba and Quick Draw, Baba back to normal, Quick Draw thinks he’s a bird.
6:43 - Quick Draw Sub End Title theme (Curtin).


  1. This is one of my favorite Quick Draws, because it really turns the loving relationship between Quick Draw and Baba upside down with hilarious consequences. You can see that Quick Draw is conflicted now that his former amigo is now an outlaw, but he tries to do his duty anyway, with miserable results. It's almost sad to see that he is no match for the Little Cucaracha. Also, Baba's insults and wisecracks directed at Quick Draw are even funnier since they are so out of character. What a great cartoon!

    Good synopsis, Yowp--you gotta put out a book sometime with all these in them. Hope my other favorite Quick Draw cartoon--"Six Gun Spook"--shows up here this year!

  2. "Yowp-Yowp" Dodsworth and Hb-fanatics from the whole world,

    I've known! I've kwown that this Quick Draw McGraw episode had its script (made by Michael Maltese) mirrored on the Warner's Looney Tunes shorts (specially those ones from Road-Runner and/or Speedy Gonzales), comparing Quick Draw as Wile E. Coyote and/or Sylvester; and the outlaw-acting Baba Looey being compared as Road Runner and/or Speedy Gonzales.
    Alias, I was enjoying to re-watch this episode on YouTube (with the classical Brazilian dubbing in Portuguese), using the song I'm a Road-Runner (recorded by Jr. Walker & The All-Stars for Motown in 1966) as a playback on the scene where the outlaw-acting Baba Looey departs to steal the bank.

  3. Givens also crafted layouts for Jack Kinney's attractive Popeye episode "Coffee House."

  4. Hanna-Barbera themselves made the only other cartoon to be even remotely their decling era's 1967 "Abbott and Costello" series cartoon, "The Vaccuum Villian", with Lou Costello [a comedian named Stan Irwin with Bud Abbott playing himself]. But after Bud Abbott's conked, Lou conls HIMSELF and they make up a two man airline..[I gotta admit along with 1966's "Alice in Wonderland", "Abbott and Costello Cartoons" were a longtime Hanna-Barbera guilty pleasure of mine in a way with the opening being similiarly colorfly and wacky like mthe "Alice" show. But that's another topic.]

  5. Maltese and Bob Givens; very appropriate you highlight their work together, alone, and both in and out of Warners' while noting their participation on this here Queecks Draw entry. Both Maltese and Givens at WB were, on occasion utilized apart from Chuck Jones' unit, which is where most of their time at the studio was spent, of course. I had a recording of "Extra-Special Extra" playing at the time I stumbled upon this latest post.
    This blog just gets better and better; keep up the magnificent work!!!

  6. "Yowp-Yowp" Dodsworth,

    Bob Givens also did layouts for the Walter Lantz/Universal Pictures shorts (more exactly on the shorts directed by Alex Lovy between 1955 and 1960 [including the Woody Woodpecker shorts directed by Lovy on this same quoted period]).