Saturday, September 29, 2012

Snooper and Blabber — Doggone Dog, Gone!

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – Ken Muse; Layout – Walt Clinton; Backgrounds – Dick Thomas; Story – Mike Maltese; Story Director – Alex Lovy; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Snooper, Blabber – Daws Butler; Hazel, Mrs. Van Cash, Viewer 2 – Jean Vander Pyl; Englishman, Dog, Security Guard, Viewer 1 – Don Messick.
Music: Jack Shaindlin, Phil Green, Harry Bluestone/Emil Cadkin.
Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-22, Production J-73.
First Aired: week of February 22, 1960 (rerun, week of August 22, 1960)
Plot: Snooper and Blabber chase after a dog that unknowingly has the Schmope Diamond on its tail.

Starring characters in cartoons generally get all the best lines, but the guest star dog is the funniest one in “Doggone Dog, Gone!” The dog has an expensive diamond ring on its tail and Snooper and Blabber spend the second half of the cartoon chasing him. “Grab that homely-looking mutt, Blab!” Snoop shouts. The dog’s confused. “That couldn’t be me. I’m a handsome-lookin’ mutt.” Then he realises, “Hey, they do mean me. They should get their eyes examined.” And later, when he notices the ring on his tail, he smiles and says “Well, what do you know? I’m engaged.”

Snooper gets in a couple of good bits too in this enjoyable cartoon. And Walt Clinton provides a line-up of his distinctive stylised characters near the end.



Writer Mike Maltese could have gone for cartoon like the Roadrunners he wrote at Warners, a chase with a string of gags. Instead the chase takes up part of the second half of the cartoon and Maltese decides to go with little scenarios in the first half.

The first scene introduces Snooper and Blabber’s “own prowl car” (no one believed in continuity then; they’ve had several different cars) and own telephone girl, Hazel. If Maltese had more time to work on the story, I suspect he could have done a nice film noir dialogue parody. Instead Snooper inexplicably acts like a stuck record when talking to her. And Hazel (Jean Vander Pyl with a Southern drawl) opens with “Hazel callin’ Snooper, the world’s greatest private eye like you told me,” reminiscent of Rochester on the Jack Benny show answering the phone with Benny’s grandiose list of occupations.

The second scene takes Snooper to Mrs. Van Cash’s suite in the Ritzy Hotel to question her about the missing million-dollar Schmope Diamond (a pun on the name of the Hope Diamond). When Mrs. Van Cash opens the door and is holding her lorgnette, Snoop announces “Fear not, m’lady. The handsome international crook who absconded your diamond ring is practically in my clutches. I see you broke your glasses. Ah, that’s real clever, the way you tied them on a stick.” She corrects him on both counts. The ring fell down the bahth-tub drain. She offers him $50,000 if he can find it before a big showing the next evening. “Madame,” replies Snoop, “it would be uncharitable for me to ask for a penny more.”



The next scene is much like the plot of the Woody Woodpecker cartoon “Bathing Buddies” (1946). Woody tries to retrieve his dime down the bathtub drain by using a wrench on a pipe. The wrench, instead, moves Wally Walrus’ bathtub in the suite below while he’s bathing. The same thing happens here. The chap in the tub, just like the one in the Quick Draw cartoon “Slick City Slicker,” is an Englishman with Don Messick’s Major Minor voice. Snoop’s twisting puts the tub out the window and over the city. Then he turns the pipe which twirls the tub in mid-air. “Extr’ordinary! Spin dry! Wait till the boys at the Punjab Club hear about this.”

Twisting the pipe didn’t work so, in the next scene, Snooper tries Professor Greber’s Law of Diminishing Hydraulics. It’s “elementary school,” says Snoop. Blab sticks his fingers in the sink’s faucets which should force the water out of the bathtub. Instead, it comes out of Blab’s ears in an old cartoon gag. “I can hear the ocean, Snoop. Honest!” A momentary setback. Snoop plugs Blab’s ears and “viola!” A geyser of water shoots up out of the bathtub with the ring on top. But it bounces out the window, down a rainspout and onto the tail of the dog below.



So the chase is on. Cut to the dog balancing himself while walking along some telephone wires. “A dog’s life is for the birds,” he remarks, though no birds are around to augment the gag. “Stop in the limb of the law!” catchphrases Snoop, chasing after him. The dog shakes the phone wires and Snoop falls. There’s nice brushwork by someone in Roberta Greutert’s ink and paint department on the dog zipping out of the scene and Snoop (a head shot only) when he falls. Blab races along the sidewalk with a net to catch him. When Snoop tells him he’ll get his “second class private eye pin,” Blab stops in excitement. Snoop crashes into the sidewalk. “Do I still get the pin?” “Yeah, Blab, but not where you expect it.”



The cartoon’s running out of time, so the chase ends abruptly. Snoop yells about the ring and the surprised dog skids to a stop to figure out what he’s talking about. That’s when he sees the ring. Blab asks nicely for the ring. “Sure, Buster. It was a beautiful friendship while it lasted. Besides, you’re not my type anyway.” The dog steps on Blab’s foot, drops the ring down into the mouse’s mouth then leaves the cartoon for good. Other than for the sake of the plot, I don’t know why the dog has to be a jerk about it. It’s like he’s left over from the heckling-for-the-hell-of-it cartoon characters of the early ‘40s.



Now the ring can go on exhibition as scheduled the next night. But though there’s a saying that anything can happen in a cartoon, there’s an exception. A ring can’t pass through a character’s digestive system in a day. So the only solution is to stick an X-ray machine in front of Blab and people can see the diamond in his stomach. Snoop suggests a lunch break to Blab. “I’m not hungry. After all, I’ve got 150 karats in my tummy.” Karats. Carrots. Get it? A tympani thump, much like the one that followed bad puns ending Jay Ward cartoons follows on the soundtrack.

There’s no office in this cartoon (with an eyeball on a door or window) so we don’t get Snooper’s routine of answering the phone like Archie on “Duffy’s Tavern.”

There’s one animation error. The light on Snoop’s dashboard indicating Hazel is talking to him flashes even when she’s not speaking.

The music features one odd choice. When Snoop and Blab begin to go after the dog, the cutter uses the “uh-oh” strings and wa-wa trumpet of Cadkin and Bluestone’s “Come and Get Me” (as the current owner of the music has re-titled it). Some kind of chase cue would have worked a better. The only thing I can’t identify is the one-note thump at the very end of the cartoon. I’ve heard it but my mind’s blanking out on it.


0:00 - Snooper and Blabber Main Title Theme (Hanna-Barbera-Curtin).
0:25 - ASININE (Shaindlin) – Snoop and Blab in car, stops at hotel.
1:28 - CB-87A COME AND GET ME (Cadkin-Bluestone) – Walk to door, Van Cash scene.
2:26 - jaunty bassoon and skippy strings (Shaindlin) – Drain pipe/bathtub scene, faucet scene, ring down rainspout onto dog’s tail.
4:29 - CB 86A HIDE AND SEEK (Cadkin-Bluestone) – Snoop and Blab zip out of window, dog up phone book, Snoop rushes to get him.
4:54 - GR-78 CUSTARD PIE CAPERS BRIDGE No 1 (Green) – Dog walks on phone wires, dog shakes wire.
5:05 - GR-348 EARLY MORNING (Green) – Snoop shakes, crashes.
5:21 - PG-161G LIGHT COMEDY MOVEMENT (Green) – Blab with net talks to Snoop, dog rushes away.
5:33 - LFU-117-2 MAD RUSH No 2 (Shaindlin) – Dog runs into alley, notices ring, “What do you know? I’m engaged.”
6:02 - GR-453 THE ARTFUL DODGER (Green) – “Be a good sport,” Blab swallows ring.
6:19 - GR-87 SKELETON IN THE CUPBOARD (Green) – Snoop on phone, x-ray scene.
7:10 - Snooper and Blabber End Title theme (Curtin).

Yowp Note: The Snooper and Blabber cartoon “Snap Happy Saps” doesn’t appear to exist in anyone’s collection, so there won’t be a post on it. With that exception, all the cartoons from the first season of the Quick Draw McGraw Show have been reviewed on this blog.

2 comments:

  1. "Yowp-Yowp" Dodsworth and HB-fans from the whole world,

    Walter Clinton, master in drawing crowds, strikes again on this Snooper & Blabber episode.

    ReplyDelete
  2. If John Kricfalusi saw this topic...
    He's very fanatic for the Walter Clinton's designs from the Hanna-Barbera cartoons of the 50s and the 60s.

    ReplyDelete