Saturday, October 20, 2012

Quick Draw McGraw — El Kabong, Jr.

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Animation – Art Davis, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas?, Story – Mike Maltese, Story Direction – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson (no credits).
Voice Cast: Narrator, Toothy Acres – Don Messick; Quick Draw, Baba Looey, Quick Draw, Jr., Mexican – Daws Butler, Typical Western Rancher’s Daughter – Jean Vander Pyl.
Music: Phil Green, Jack Shaindlin, Louis De Francesco(?), unknown.
Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-039, Production J-115.
First Aired: week of March 20, 1961.
Plot: Quick Draw’s dandy son comes home and takes the place of the retired El Kabong to vanquish the land-grabbing Toothy Acres.

Daws Butler had a great version of a Jerry Lewis voice. He’d take Jerry’s whine and give it a deliberate read, accenting the wrong words. It’s really funny in various Fractured Fairy Tales for Jay Ward (in “Son of King Midas,” there’s a great joke where he cries “Dean!” for the Dean of a university, just like the real Jerry cried for Dean Martin in movies). The voice got watered down by the time he used it for Yahooey on the Peter Potamus Show in 1964 but, before then, he found a use for it in other Hanna-Barbera cartoons. His “Jerry” is heard twice in Quick Draw McGraw cartoons during the 1960-61 season—as a sheep-stealing coyote (“Yippee Coyote”) and as Quick Draw McGraw’s son in “El Kabong, Jr.”

The copies of the cartoon I have don’t have credits but Mike Kazaleh has confirmed Art Davis is the animator. In June 1960, Davis bitterly demanded his release from Warner Bros. (for a second time) because he had not been made a director when it appeared the studio needed additional theatrical and TV cartoons. He did direct a not-so-hot short (“Quackodile Tears”) which was finally released in March 1962. Davis packed up and went over to Hanna-Barbera where he briefly animated before moving into story direction on The Flintstones and other series. A couple of years later, he was ar the Walter Lantz studio animating under old Columbia buddy Sid Marcus.

Davis drew some of the H-B characters with eyes slanted in, the mouth in dialogue up into the snout. This cartoon features some real angular work, such as in the two drawings below.



There are a few great dashes off scene. One has Quick Draw Jr.’s body disappear and a couple leave behind multiple eyes, including one of the Typical Rancher’s Daughter Who is Alone and Helpless.



And one of the highlights is a little dancing sequence (repeated as the end gag). Quick Draw hands his dude son his kabonger. “Does this mean anything to you, Junior?” “It sure does, Daddy-O,” replies Son of Jerry Lewis. And he strums a rock-and-roll song, twisting his feet back and forth, bending his knees, twirling the guitar on the floor and stopping in a pose. The expressions are lots of fun. Here are some of the drawings.







The incidental characters have skinny legs like Tony Rivera used to draw so he may have been the layout artist, if not Paul Sommer. The villain, Toothy Acres, is the standard Quick Draw nemesis—top hat, slicked hair, thin moustache, turned up collar, string tie, swallowtail coat. I won’t hazard a guess at the background artist. Other than the orange sky, the colours are fairly natural (purple mountains, greens and browns), and without the stylised clouds you’d find in Art Lozzi’s work. It could be someone like Vera Hanson. Here are a couple of the drawings from the opening.



Mike Maltese wrote three El Kabong cartoons in Quick Draw’s second season and they’re all pretty funny. He managed to find new ways to keep the concept of a bumbling Zorro-style hero appealing. In “El Kabong, Jr.”, he simply used the “son of” sequel idea that quickly became a movie cliché; in fact, there was a “Son of Zorro” released in 1925 and 1947. And he tossed in a rock-and-roll parody.

The dialogue is typical Maltese. As usual for an El Kabong adventure, he opens with poetic narration.


In the town of El Pueblo
Peace reigned ever-so-long
Because of their hero,
El Kabong.
He lived on a hill,
Retired and old,
With his pal Baba Looey
Remembering days of old.


Yes, the cartoon is set in the future. El Kabong has retired because he’s no longer needed. “Ees so quiet outside,” Baba observes, “You can hear the caterpillars stompin’ across the front lawn.” Suddenly, there’s an explosion, and a cut to a charred, ruined hacienda then a pan to Toothy Acres at a dynamite plunger. Maltese engages in more of his standard overblown dialogue.

Mexican: What for you kaboom my house to li’l pieces?
Toothy: Because you wouldn’t sell it to me for $8, that’s why.
Mexican: All right, I’ll sell. Give to me the $8.
Toothy: What? For that pile of junk? I’ll give you a buck-35.
(iris out and in)
Toothy: I’ll give you $12 and 62 cents for your thousand-acre ranch, Typical Rancher’s Daughter Who’s Alone and Helpless.
(later)
Daughter: Oh, no! There goes my bea-u-ti-ful, thousand-acre ranch.
Toothy: Marry up with me, and I’ll save myself a neat $12 and 62 cents.
Daughter: No! Never!
Toothy: Aw, come on. Be reasonable.
Daughter: Hey-lp! Hey-lp! Hey-lp!

Quick Draw is too old to clobber the bad guy (he launches himself from his roof top while still in his rocking chair) and laments his fate when his son, whose been “away at a classy school in the classy east,” knocks on the door. Wait a minute! Where’s Mrs. Quick Draw in all this? Anyway, Junior uses his dad’s kabonger like a rock music guitar. Songwriter Maltese’s lyrics aren’t exactly Bill Haley and the Comets material.

Rock, rock, rock me in the rockin’ chair.
I don’t care if I don’t get nowhere.


Ah, but it’s all a ruse. “This seeming laxitude and lack of civic interest was merely intended to mask my true motives,” says Quick Draw, Jr., who now dons his father’s outfit with the intention of becoming El Kabong and rescuing the Typical Western Rancher’s Daughter Who is Alone and Helpless, as she is referred to throughout the cartoon. Now begins a series of kabongs and counters. And typical overdescriptive dialogue.

Daughter: Thanks again for savin’ me when I yelled “Help! Help! Help!” again.
Junior: Your welcome, again.

The climax takes place inside a hacienda where, much like in the Zorro movies and earlier El Kabong cartoons, the villain and good guy trade friendly dialogue as they battle with sabres. In this case, Toothy shows Junior how to let the sabres fight in mid-air on their own “with the twist of a wrist.” Where did Toothy learn that trick? At “good old Eastern Tech.” It turns out that’s also where Junior and Typical Rancher’s Daughter went to school.

Baba drags Quick Draw to the hacienda so he can show how the “lazy, no-good son” has followed in his father’s footsteps and is “whippin’ the tar out of Toothy Acres.” Instead, they see the three Eastern Tech grads singing the rock-and-roll song. Cut to Quick Draw, who has fainted and is mumbling “Holé.” Tag-line from Baba: “I think he means ‘Holé mackerel.”

The music selections in the cartoon work pretty well. There’s an accordion version of “Red River Valley,” the overly-sad trombone/violin music as Toothy blows up sundry properties, and Jack Shaindlin’s “Six Day Bicycle Race” during the chase scenes. There’s also a western dance cue used near the end from the Sam Fox library. It may be by Lou De Francesco, who was Fox’s musical director in the early ‘40s. Someone else has the rights to it now and has re-released it after changing the composer’s name on it.


0:00 - Quick Draw McGraw Sub-Main Title theme (Curtin).
0:14 - Red River Valley (Trad.) – Opening narration, Quick Draw kabongs Baba, shot of charred house.
1:09 - sad trombone music (?) – “with the coming of the land shark…”, scene with Mexican, scene with rancher’s daughter.
2:07 - MAD RUSH No. 2 (Shaindlin) – Quick Draw looks out window, takes off in wheel chair, “El Kabong rides again!”
2:35 - MAD RUSH No. 1 (Shaindlin) – Toothy Acres looks up, Quick Draw on ground.
2:50 - GR-58 GOING SHOPPING (Green) – Quick Draw and Baba talk, Quick Draw Jr. at door, handed guitar, “Oh, sure.”
3:36 - Quick Draw Jr. plays guitar.
3:39 - GR-255 PUPPETRY COMEDY (Green) – “This town is doomed,” Quick Draw, Jr. hands card, Baba doesn’t get it.
4:00 - PG-181F MECHANICAL BRIDGE (Green) – Quick Draw, Jr. explains, comes back as El Kabong, jumps off house.
4:21 - SIX DAY BICYCLE RACE (Shaindlin) – Chasing scene with Toothy Acres and rancher’s daughter.
5:10 - MAD RUSH No. 2 (Shaindlin) – Sword scene.
5:49 - SF-11 LIGHT MOVEMENT (DeFrancesco?) – “Why, I graduated…”, Baba and Quick Draw talk, run into house.
6:22 - Quick Draw Jr. and others play guitars.
6:28 - ‘FIREMAN’ (Shaindlin) – Quick Draw passes out, iris out.
6:42 - Quick Draw McGraw Sub-End Title theme (Curtin).

5 comments:

  1. 10/21/12
    RobGems.ca wrote:
    Thanks for giving out the complete details for this forgotten favorite of my childhood,which I now re-discovered on "You-Tube" & the Boomerang Channel. This one brings back memories of my childhood from 1969-81,of watching this on two local Michigan stations (Channel 50 of Detroit, & Channel 25 of Flint.)That cowgirl, billed as just the"Typical Rancher's Daughter Who's All Alone" looks like Wilma Flintstone In cowgirl clothing to me. Perhaps she was modeled after the Wilma Flintstone character design? She most certainly sounds like a Texan-drawled version of Wilma (no doubt due to Jean Vander-Pyl's voice-over. She does a pretty good Texan drawl impersonation.)

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  2. Daws' Jerry Lewis voice (as well as his Huckleberry Hound voice) showed up in an earlier cartoon Davis worked on at Warners, "A Waggly Tale". The pose above, with Junior's smile extending into the straight lower-line of his face, is similar to the 'wide' facial lines Artie was drawing on his characters at Warners (most notably Sylvester) by the late 1950s. But he would have had to have churned this short out really fast, since IIRC, his angry resignation letter to Dave H. DePatie was dated January, 1961 (Hopefully someone saved the letter on their hard drive and has the exact date it was written, since it was posted on the old alt.animation.warner-bros usenet message board and never to a standard html-based website).

    Artie also appears to have done the Post opening for "The Bugs Bunny Show", since Daffy there looks exactly like the design used for "Quackodile Tears" but was repeated nowhere else. Judging by the other stories, including Mike Barrier's interview with Phil Monroe, Warners wanted the Star Kist account and Phil's agency connections won out over Davis in giving him the new 'fourth director' position.

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  3. J.L., it could be Artie freelanced on this cartoon for H-B, much like Virgil Ross did on an Augie Doggie cartoon, then went over full-time. The letter was posted on an AOL account which bit the dust not long after Artie's nephew posted about it on a.a.w-b. If I kept a copy, it'd be on a 5 1/4 inch disc somewhere. "A Waggily Tale" was not one of Freleng's best but, yes, Daws did the voice there.
    Rob, I suspect Wilma would be envious of the rancher's daughter's figure.

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

    In terms of design, it seems that this Quick Draw McGraw episode brings the Tony Rivera's primitive design.

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  5. Daws's best Jerry Lewis line came in that Jay Ward "Fractured Fairy Tale" that Yowp cites, which is the "Goden Midas Touch", BEFORE the "Dean!!!" a la Lewis's film cry to Dean martin, "THAN you Dean"! Sad that the real Jerry Lewis is ailiong...it would probaly be a disrepectful mockery now that Jerry Lewis is ailing as bad as the kids that he's truly courageously raied funds for alll these years. Steve C.

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