Saturday, June 23, 2012

Pixie and Dixie — Dinky Jinks

Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
Credits: Animation – Carlo Vinci; Layout – Dick Bickenbach; Backgrounds – Bob Gentle; Dialogue and Story Sketches – Charlie Shows and Dan Gordon; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Pixie – Don Messick, Dixie, Mr Jinks, Dog – Daws Butler.
Music: Bill Loose/John Seely, Geordie Hormel, Jack Shaindlin, Spence Moore.
First aired: week of February 2, 1958.
Plot: Jinks’ use of chemistry to catch the meeces goes wrong.

Do you recognise this Hanna-Barbera cartoon—a cat in the basement drinks a home-made chemical brew that unexpectedly shrinks him to a size smaller than a mouse, then the mouse takes revenge? Sure you do. It’s the 1947 MGM cartoon “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse.”

Oh, right. It’s this cartoon as well. Once again, Bill and Joe have dipped into their Tom and Jerry plot reservoir and pulled out some ideas that they’ve reworked into a new cartoon. Of course, it doesn’t have the boisterous action of a Tom and Jerry cartoon (and even theatricals were a lot less boisterous by 1958 when this cartoon debuted on TV). But it’s still likeable. Jinks personality comes through and there are some fun Carlo Vinci drawings. Like this one after the mice ridicule Jinks, saying all his science experiments end in “Kaboom!” and then there’s an explosion sound and a cut to the cat.



Or these drawings after Jinks drinks his “fantastic-ical-al discovery” and reacts to it.






You’ll recognise Carlo again from the crooked wide mouth, and the big row of teeth he gives Jinks. He also cocks Jinks’ head at an angle, something he tended to do in dialogue sequences.



Almost the first third of the cartoon is taken up with Jinks in the lab (when he drinks the formula, there’s a splashing sound effect), shrinking and then deciding he “can now get at them mices.” Jinks’ logic is if he’s the size of a mouse, he can get in Pixie and Dixie’s mouse hole and clobber them.

And that’s what he sets out to do. But first he teases the relaxing mice by making faces outside the entrance to their hole and running away. Note the stretch-dive exit by Jinks. Dixie thinks he’s imagining “a little bitty cat.” He doesn’t feel so good now. Pixie feels his forehead to see if he has a fever. Jinks stretches his foot into the hole and pulls himself in. He and Pixie get into a conversation and agree it’s “rid-ick-aluss” that Dixie sees “a mice-sized cat.” Suddenly, Pixie realises he’s looking at a shrunken Jinks. Now we get one of those two-drawing fear takes that Carlo liked drawing. Here it is slowed down so you can see it better.



Jinks’ plot seems to be working. He holds onto Dixie’s tail. “‘Kaboom,’ huh?” the cat says, throwing the meece’s words back at him. Jinks lets go of the tail with a snap. Then comes a chase. Charlie Shows fills time with dialogue. “Come back here, you mousey mices. Aha! Got you cornered, like mouses in a micetrap.” Jinks outlines his plot to get into their mouse hole and then makes a mistake. He reminds them he’s “littler” than they are. The meeces realise there are two of them to one puny Jinks. So now it’s Pixie’s turn to bop Jinks on the head and hold onto his tail before letting go with a snap. Carlo has Jinks look up at the fist before it comes smashing down. A nice extra.



Dixie says “Shall we have at the small cat?” and “Tally ho! Let’s go!” Ah, it wouldn’t be a Charlie Shows-written cartoon without rhyming dialogue. Jinks scoots under the carpet. The meece pretend they don’t know he’s there. But they do see the lump on the rug. Dixie jumps on it and rides it like a horse as Jinks (still under the carpet) tries to escape. We get the old low-bridge gag as Dixie bashes his head on a chest of drawers while Jinks zips under it.

Jinks is back in the basement, reading his book to find a formula to make him grow big again. He’s being watched by a Reddy-like dog (white, mirror-image ears, square head) with Daws’ Gleason voice who decides a cat’s a cat, no matter what size, and decides to chase him.



Jinks runs into the mouse hole. Pixie and Dixie are in bed. Jinks begs them to save him from the dog. All is apparently forgiven. “Looks like we got a guest for tonight, Pixie” says Dixie. Jinks smiles. Cut to a shot of him in bed between the two mice.

Says Jinks: “I know this look ridick-aluss. A cat and two mices, you know, bunkin’ together. But there’s no other cherce. Hey, whadda goin’ to do? Nighty-night.” And Jinks immediately falls asleep and snores, as the mice open their mouths in delight before the iris closes. Jinks looks a bit like a Terry-Toons cat in this scene; Carlo tended to draw him that way in a number of cartoons.

An interesting decision was made to speed up Jinks’ voice a bit after he shrinks.

Typical Pixie and Dixie music is in the cartoon’s background. The sound cutter uses the Spencer Moore bassoon effects cue L-1158 Animation Comedy to augment Jinks’ shrinking. And this is yet another cartoon where Jack Shaindlin’s ‘Toboggan Run’ is used in a chase scene.


0:00 - Pixie and Dixie Main Title theme (Curtin).
0:26 - TC 300 ECCENTRIC COMEDY (Loose-Seely) - Jinks in basement lab, kaboom, reacts.
1:33 - TC 303 ZANY COMEDY (Loose-Seely) - Jinks stares at beaker, drinks, shrinks, tippy-toes.
2:02 - L-1158 ANIMATION COMEDY (Moore) - bassoon effect as Jinks shrinks.
2:25 - TC 432 HOLLY DAY (Loose-Seely) - Jinks at mouse hole entrance.
3:01 - TC 202 ECCENTRIC COMEDY (Loose-Seely) - Jinks chuckles, Pixie runs away, Jinks conks Dixie.
3:45 - ZR-48 - FAST MOVEMENT (Hormel) - Jinks holds Dixie’s tail, mice cornered, “We were only funnin,’ Jinksie.”
4:24 - LAF-7-12 FUN ON ICE (Shaindlin) - “Where’s your sense of nonsense?”, Jinks dives under carpet, Dixie rides Jinks, smash.
5:53 - TC 432 HOLLY DAY (Loose-Seely) - “Are you okay, Dixie?”, dog watches,
6:32 - LAF-5-20 TOBOGGAN RUN (Shaindlin) - dog chases Jinks, Jinks pleads.
6:48 - LAF-25-3 bassoon and zig-zag strings (Shaindlin) - dog growls outside mouse hole, Jinks snores.
7:10 - Pixie and Dixie End Title theme (Curtin).

Yowp note: Reviews have now been posted of all cartoons in the first season of ‘The Huckleberry Hound Show,’ which was the goal when we started. Along the way, we added reviews of cartoons from the second season. All the Pixie and Dixies have been finished. There are two Hucks and one Yogi to go.

9 comments:

  1. Good luck with only 3 reviews to go. Will the Yowp blog still resume after the reviews with your H-B knowledge?

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  2. It would, I think. Possibly Yowp only meant one Yogi and two Huck shorts from season two. There are a handful of more earlier third season [before Hoyt Curtin did all the music eventually for I tihnk the second part of the third season then for the whole fourth season] shorts.:)Steve

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  3. Yowp, how come you don't do Snagglepuss or Yakky Doodle reviews? Or Ruff and Reddy? Just curious.

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  4. I have always been a fan of Vinci's animation. Whether it was his distinctive full animation style for Terrytoons (later MGM in the late '50s) or his limited work for H-B, his work always had a nice touch of personality added to it.

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  5. Greg, I don't have any interest in Ruff and Reddy, even if reasonably pristine copies of the show were available. And Snag and Yakky are visually uninteresting with Curtin cues for which I don't have titles. All they have going for them is Mike Maltese.
    The purpose of the blog was to give music cue breakdowns of the 1st season of the Huck show. Yakky and Snag aren't in that show.

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  6. Bart, maybe it's just me, but Jinks occasionally looks like a Terrytoon cat when Vinci's drawing him. Perhaps it's the way he's constructed, I don't know.

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  7. Yowp:

    I really want to see you go on! Your Blog is one of my favorite destinations.

    To me, it was ALL good, to varying degrees, until 1965. There’s PLENTY more for you to discuss!

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  8. Hey! Hopw about the remaining 1959-60 QUick Draws, Augies and Snooper/Blabbers., I'd like to second Joe Torciva'/s comment, by the way.:)Steve

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  9. That dog not only resembles Reddy, but also resembles Huckleberry Hound.

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