Saturday, April 6, 2013

Augie Doggie — Patient Pop

Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
Credits: Animation – Dick Lundy; Layout – Tony Rivera; Backgrounds – Bob Gentle; Story – Mike Maltese; Story Director – Alex Lovy; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Doggie Daddy – Doug Young; Augie, Cat – Daws Butler.
Music: Phil Green, Jack Shaindlin, Hecky Krasnow.
Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-032, Production J-98.
First Aired: week of November 28, 1960 (rerun, week of May 29, 1961).
Plot: A cat with a hankering for steak takes advantage of a bed-ridden Doggie Daddy.

Daws Butler used comedian Shelly Berman as the starting point for one of his character voices. It’s familiar to people who’ve seen Yakky Doodle cartoons as the voice of Fibber Fox. But Daws used it before that elsewhere, both at Hanna-Barbera and Jay Ward. You can hear it in four different cartoons in the Augie Doggie series in the 1960-61 season: “It’s a Mice Day” (white cat), “Pint Giant” (man with packages), “Playmate Pup” (radio announcer) and this one (a light grey cat).

This is one of three Augies that Dick Lundy animated in 1960-61. Just for fun, I compared the run cycle Lundy gave to the cat in this cartoon to the one he gave Yippee Coyote in a Quick Draw McGraw cartoon the same year. Both have eight drawings. The coyote is constructed taller than the cat, so Yippee bends a knee when running while the unnamed cat doesn’t. And the cat has kind of a roll in his run where we can see the pad of his left foot. So Lundy isn’t drawing a stock run for every character.



Mike Maltese’s plot bears no resemblance to the title card. At no time does Augie play “doctor.” It has a vague similarity to “Crow Cronies” from the previous season, where Doggie Daddy is preyed on by a crow and Augie refuses to believe anything dear old dad says about him. A phoney doctor disguise/examination is trotted out in both cartoons. Actually, Maltese used a white cat in disguise in “Hum Sweet Hum” in the first season, complete with the same German accent that Daws Butler affects in this cartoon. Maltese manages to hold the viewer’s interest in seeing whether Daddy triumphs over the scheming cat (he does in a rare complete victory).

Maltese doesn’t waste time getting into things. The cartoon opens with Daddy sleeping. Augie is reading a psychology book which says “Even when daddies don’t feel well, they won’t show it so their children won’t worry.” “Oh, the shame of it!” exclaims Sylvester Junior Augie. He covers Daddy with a blanket “so he won’t catch cold.” All that does is startle the old dog who runs into a book case and stubs his toe. But, no. Augie reaches the conclusion Dad has a broken leg and is hiding it from him. So Daddy decides to go along with it.



For reasons of plot development, Augie doesn’t do the logical thing and call a doctor or an ambulance. Instead, he (between scenes) puts Daddy’s leg in a huge cast in a sling and prepares a T-bone steak for “helpless dad.” The white cat just happens to be outside the daddy bedroom window at the time and overhears what’s going on. Maltese comes up with a line reminiscent of Casper Caveman in the April 1939 Warner’s cartoon “Daffy Duck and the Dinosaur”: “My favourite vegetable—duck!” In this case it’s “My favourite fruit—T-bone steak!” (Maltese went into the Warner’s story department in August 1939). So the cat starts stealing steaks. “But dad, we have no cat. It’s a hallucination,” says Augie, or “hallu-cil-ilation” as Daddy pronounces it. The cat realises dear old dad can’t move so he embarks on some terrorisation, all the while Augie thinking his dad has a fever which morphs into hysteria. The cat clubs Augie on the head after Daddy tells the boy he’ll do something drastic if he isn’t let out of bed. Naturally, Augie thinks Daddy did it. The cat gets Daddy to laugh uncontrollably by tickling his foot twice (including after dear old dad says “hitting you would make me feel very sad.”).



Now, Augie rushes outside and calls for a doctor. Enter the cat in surgeon’s garb and spouting a German accent. The “doctor” diagnoses Daddy as having “Catophrena Hallucinotions.” Even Daddy’s fooled by the disguise. “But doc, I only stubbed my toe,” he protests. “Dat is the vay dat it starts,” responds the cat, who runs down the symptoms—a craving for T-bone steaks and an insistence that a cat has stolen them.” The only cure? Lots of T-bone steaks, which Augie rushes to bring in. We’ve now reached the climax of the cartoon as the evil cat threatens to operate on Daddy with a saw—but trips himself up when he starts talking in his real voice. Daddy realises who the doctor really is. The cat is standing on a rug (which has been in Daddy’s bedroom since the beginning of the cartoon and didn’t just magically appear). Daddy pulls the cat to his face. “I could stick around for a game of chequers,” says the nervous moocher. “Good. And I’ll make the first move,” as Daddy tosses him out the window, smashing him against a tree. Exit the phoney doctor. The last scene has Daddy cooking a T-bone steak for Augie. Daddy fits in a “my son, my son,” but doesn’t end the cartoon with an “After all, how many….” catchphrase. In fact, he doesn’t even mangle many words for a change. Whether Maltese wasn’t inspired, I don’t know, but the cartoon’s a pleasant enough one, helped along by the usual top-notch Daws Butler/Doug Young voice work.



The music is tidy, with cues fitting nicely into scenes. The opening “And They All Lived Happily Ever After” from the Kiddie Comedy Suite by Phil Green is known in the Capitol Hi-Q series as “EM-131E Lullaby,” so I suspect that’s why it seems to be used in sleep scenes in Augie cartoons.


0:00 - Augie Doggie Main Title theme (Hanna-Barbera-Curtin).
0:26 - GR-259 AND THEY ALL LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER (Green) – Daddy snoozes, blanket toss.
0:58 - GR-347 GATHERING THE PRODUCE (Green) – Daddy struggles with blanket, crash.
1:08 - EM-107D LIGHT MOVEMENT (Green) – “Did you hurt yourself?” Daddy pretends leg is broken.
1:43 - jaunty bassoon and skipping strings (Shaindlin) – Dad in bed, cat grabs steak, cat whacks Daddy with steak, Augie runs with ice.
3:20 - GR-65 BUSH BABY (Green) – Daddy with ice on head, tickling scene.
4:04 - GR-87 SKELETON IN THE CUPBOARD (Green) – Augie holds ice, hit by cat, Augie runs away.
4:44 - LFU-117-1 MAD RUSH No 1 (Shaindlin) – Shot of house exterior, Augie gets “doctor.”
5:09 - THE HAPPY COBBLER (Krasnow) – Doctor examination scene.
5:54 - CAPERS (Shaindlin) – Cat with saw, clobbered, runs away.
6:54 - tick tock/flute music (Shaindlin) – Daddy cooks steak.
7:10 - Augie Doggie End Title theme (Curtin).

2 comments:

  1. The disguised food moocher also has a bit of Hanna-Barbera's "Baby Butch" in it, but not so much that this plotline isn't something Maltese could have come up with on his own (if the cartoon ended with the cat somehow getting the steak while holding Augie & Daddy off with his hands or feet, then you'd definitely know Joe Barbera was adding his input into the short).

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  2. That cat isn't white, he's grey surely! Seriously question: Is there any reason Doug Young was rarely allowed to do any other voices beyond Daddy? Seems Daws Butler was REALLY overworked on The Quick Draw McGraw Show.

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