Saturday, 20 April 2013

Pixie and Dixie — Party Peeper Jinks

Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
Credits: Animation – Dick Lundy; Layout – Tony Rivera; Backgrounds – Bob Gentle; Story – Warren Foster; Story Direction – Alex Lovy; Titles – Lawrence Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voices: Dixie, Mr. Jinks, Cat – Daws Butler; Pixie, Rocky, Grey Cat – Don Messick.
Music: Jack Shaindlin, Spencer Moore.
Episode: Huckleberry Hound Show K-44.
First Aired: week of November 28, 1960.
Plot: Jinks won’t invite Pixie and Dixie to his birthday party, so the dog next door gets revenge.

If you’re expecting a lot of gags in this cartoon, guess again. “Party Peeper Jinks” is more of a personality piece than anything. Jinks is a greedy jerk. The meeces just want to be friends. The dog feels he has to right a wrong. And that’s just about it. Witness this dialogue to start the cartoon, as Pixie and Dixie are in their hole, rehearsing a birthday song to Jinks:

Dixie: Hold it, hold it, Pixie.
Pixie: What’s the matter, Dixie?
Dixie: You’re singin’ off key.
Pixie: Oh, gee, I’m sorry.
Dixie: Okay. Let’s try it again.
(Cut to Jinks in his basket)
Jinks: Shee. Why, you’d think a chap could, you know, could get some sleep on his birthday morning.

Where’s the comedy you ask? That’s a really good question. Other than a misspelling gag and a few observations from Jinks, there sure isn’t much. The cartoon’s like one long set-up with not much of a punch line. But perhaps writer Warren Foster was going for mood and wanted viewers merely to get satisfaction that Jinks gets his comeuppance at the end.

After comparing the meeces’ singing to having a tail caught in a trap, Jinks declares: “Call me commercial if you wish but, uh, on my birthday, I want presents. P-R-E-Z-N-T-S. Gifts.” Ah, but the two did get Jinks a gift. He reads a card. “A present in your name has been sent to the National Foundation for Homeless Cats?” he asks. “Oh, yeah, great. I like, uh, nothin’ better than to have my present sent to a bunch of tramp cats.” With that, Jinks orders the meeces out of the house and tells them “My party is for my friends, which you two are not numbered among, like.”

A scene follows where Rocky, a dog who has whiskers (and one of Don Messick’s growly voices), learns the meeces aren’t invited to Jinks’ party and decides to get back at the cat because of it. So Rocky gets on the phone and makes a bunch of calls, pretending to be all of Jinks’ cat friends who bail on the party because of “laryn-gity-is.” Well, Malcolm also broke his leg. “Is your leg too bad to hobble over with my present?” Jinks asks. “Malcolm. Chee. Some name for a pussycat,” says Jinks after a loud unintelligible voice apparently says “no.” Foster apparently used names of the H-B staff for some of the cats, who are named Charlie, Malcolm, Joe (Barbera), Alex (Lovy), Bill (Hanna), José and Sam, who doesn’t have laryngitis. He has the measles.




So Jinks stacks all the plates back in the kitchen. “Some birthday. You know, uh, you think you have friends until the chips are down and it’s time for presents. Aw, why kid myself. I have no friends.” At that moment, the meeces appear in the window with noisemakers to wish Jinks a happy birthday. He’s touched and invited them in. The meeces then stand on Jinks’ cake and sing their little birthday song as the cat appears proud. I don’t know if I’d want footprints on my cake. Then again, Pixie and Dixie may not want a piece considering the cake has liverwurst frosting, ‘Happy Birthday’ spelled out in sardines and catnip sprinkled on top. Suddenly, there’s a knock on the door. It’s Jinks’ cat buddies with presents. One is a grey cat who sounds like Doug Young in the first sentence and Don Messick in the second. “You guys and your larynx-gityis-es! Beat it!” exclaims Jinks before he slams the door in their faces. Then he realises they showed up on time—and with his presents (Jinks comes down with a case of Instant Watch Syndrome, a common malady of cartoons where a character wears a watch only for the brief period it’s needed in the plot, but at no other time). The cartoon ends with a solo shot of Jinks running after his friends invited them back to the party. “Come back with my presents, you guy-uys!” he shouts, after telling us he hates those two meeces to pieces.




Only Jack Shaindlin and Spencer Moore’s cues are heard in this cartoon. It sounds like the cutter used the full two-minutes of one tune to start the cartoon; I don’t have a copy of it so I can’t say for sure. It was used in a few other cartoons in the 1960-61 season, such as “Missile Bound Cat” and the Augie Doggie cartoon “Let’s Duck Out.”


0:00 - Pixie and Dixie Main Title theme (Hanna-Barbera-Curtin-Shows).
0:12 - Meeces sing a birthday song.
0:18 - comedy flute and quack cue (Shaindlin) – “Hold it!”, Jinks in basket, Jinks and meeces talk, meeces run out of house.
2:18 - L-78 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – Meeces on lawn, talk to Rocky.
3:28 - LAF-27-6 UNTITLED TUNE (Shaindlin) – Rocky on phone, calls from Charlie and Malcolm.
4:45 - LAF-10-7 GROTESQUE No 2 (Shaindlin) – Calls from Joe, Sam.
5:26 - L-75 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – Jinks in kitchen, meeces sing song.
6:04 - L-1139 ANIMATION COMEDY (Moore) – Knock at door, cats with presents, Jinks accuses meeces.
6:39 - LICKETY SPLIT (Shaindlin) – Jinks runs.
6:56 - Pixie and Dixie End Title theme (Curtin).

4 comments:

  1. For whatever reason, it just seemed like Foster's heart was less into the Pixie and Dixie series than the others by the time we get to late 1960 (which wouldn't be a shock, since Huck was the title character of the show, Yogi was about to be the title character of his own show and Warren also was being asked by Bill and Joe to basically be the head writer for Season 1 of "The Flintstones". That's a lot of different places to spread the creativity at one time).

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  2. "You Don't Have laryngitis!...Measles!?!" Dunniest line i ever heard. Laughed very hard when i heard it. Don't know why but always thought taht Rocky the Dog was voiced by Paul Frees. All in all, a pretty well done episode.

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  3. Look at the Jinks' "false friends" bringing presents for him and he, mad, ends sending all of them outside of his house, prefering spending his anniversary with Pixie & Dixie.

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  4. Hi, Anon. Messick did the Rocky voice in a bunch of P&D cartoons. Frees didn't arrive at H-B before the Flintstones began; I think his first role was one as Barney's boss in an early episode.

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