Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbara.
Animation – Lew Marshall; Layout – ?; Backgrounds – Bob Gentle?; Story – Mike Maltese; Story Director – Alex Lovy; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson (no credits).
Voice Cast: Snooper, Blabber – Daws Butler; Scientist – Don Messick.
Music: Jack Shaindlin, Phil Green, Lou De Francesco?
First Aired: week of November 28, 1960 (rerun, week of May 1, 1961).
Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-031, Production J-94.
Plot: After accidentally swallowing an explosion, Blabber forces Snooper to do his bidding or he’ll blow himself up.
Do you realise Snooper swears in this cartoon? Twice?
Actually, he does it in “Fleas Be Careful” as well. I didn’t think anything of it then but then I heard it again in this cartoon and decided to find out what it meant.
Snooper says the phrase “What in tunket…” According to the Old English Dictionary, “tunket” is a euphemism for “hell.” You can read a bit more about it here. Where in tunket Mike Maltese first heard the word, I don’t know, but with his affinity for odd words and phrases, only he would put it in a cartoon.
A week ago, we talked about how Maltese and Warren Foster weren’t above borrowing material from their fellow Warner Bros. writer Tedd Pierce and putting it in Hanna-Barbera cartoons. Maltese has done it in this one. The basic plot owes a lot to the last part of “Mouse Mazurka” (released 1949), where a little mouse drinks nitro-glycerin and then puts himself in harm’s way, forcing a panicked Sylvester to quickly rescue him so there won’t be an explosion. Maltese even uses a couple of Pierce’s gags. It’s sad in a way, for after Pierce’s departure from Warners, he went from freelance job to freelance job, while Maltese and Foster had steady careers at Hanna-Barbera and praise from Joe Barbera in the public press. Even when H-B was looking for writers, there’s no indication Pierce was ever considered.
Here’s the set-up for the plot: Snooper bosses Blab around, telling him to “dust off those habeas corpuscles” among other things. There’s a shot of Blab sweeping, dusting and polishing all at the same time. Snoop sends him out for a sandwich. The disgusted Blab (off camera) slams the door. “And fix that door,” Snoop adds. Blab walks down the street, lamenting he’ll “always be a nobody assistant.” The cityscape is really simple in this one.
While Blab’s out, a meek scientist knocks on the door, demanding protection from international spies for his invention—a peanut loaded with so many explosives, it could “wreak havoc if disturbed in any way.” “Take it back,” yells Snoop. “I’m allergic to wreaked havoc.” He’s offered $30,000 to guard it. “So what’s a little havoc that’s been wreaked?” Snoop rhetorically asks. The scientist leaves. Blab returns and eats the peanut. “Jumpin’ grasshoppers, Blab!” yells Snoop. “You just swalleyed a dangerous explosive that’ll wreak us all to havoc!” “All of a sudden, I feel a surge of power,” Blab tells us after Snooper explains to him that he’s now important “insofar as blowing me to smithereens.”
Most of the rest of the cartoon is taken up with Blab threatening to hurt himself unless Snoop does his bidding or rescues him.
● Blab tells Snoop to clean up the office, or he’ll jump from the top of a filing cabinet (it’s a chest of drawers in “Mouse Mazurka”). “Do my ears receive me?” asks Snoop. Blab jumps (“Smithereenies, here I come!”), Snoop stops him from hitting the floor and the scene ends with Snoop cleaning the office the way Blab was before.
● Blab demands Snooper’s lunch, and starts skipping rope. “Here’s the lunch, Blab! I don’t look good in smithereens.” Snoop fans him after lunch.
● Blab orders Snoop to repeat “Blab is important, Snoop is a nothin’,” or he’ll drop a safe on top of himself (also from “Mouse Mazurka”). Snoop stops the safe with his head and then repeats the phrase to the fade out.
● “You just broke the straw with the camel’s back,” says Snoop when Blab tells him to clean the office a 12th time. Blab doesn’t like the backtalk and jumps out the window of their office on the 84th floor. (84 floors? It must be the tallest brick building in the world.) Snoop refuses to rescue him until the last second. Blab lands on top of his head. (In “Mouse Mazurka,” the mouse leaps from a beam at the top of the room).
● Blab tells Snoop to answer the phone. It’s the scientist on the other end. He says Snooper can forget all about the bomb because it’s lost its power after two hours. Snooper demands Blab remove himself from his desk. Blabber threatens to paddle himself (in the butt, it would appear). Snooper offers to help and kicks him in the rear. Kablam! Unlike “Mouse Mazurka,” the blast doesn’t kill anyone. “Jumpin’ tunkets!” Snooper exclaims as he realises his watch is running a minute fast. But what difference should that make? Didn’t the scientist tell him the peanut (which should have been in some stage of digestion) was now harmless?
The final scene has Blab back sweeping, dusting and polishing. “Anyway, for a while, I was really livin’ it up,” Blabber happily turns to tell us, and he giggles to end the cartoon.
Lots of familiar Phil Green music here. I wish I had the names of those Jack Shaindlin cues, but I have no idea where to find them.
0:00 - Snooper and Blabber Main Title theme (Curtin, Hanna, Barbera).
0:15 - PG-161H LIGHT MOVEMENT (Green) – Blab runs with fingerprint set, Snoop tells him to clean up the place.
0:26 - GR-90 THE CHEEKY CHAPPIE (Green) – “It’s a mess,” door slam, Blab walks on street.
1:00 - GR-93 DRESSED TO KILL (Green) – Blab talks to himself, Scientist scene.
2:07 - ASININE (Shaindlin) – Blab returns, jumping off cabinet scene.
3:22 - GR-80 FRED KARNO’S ARMY (Green) – Lunch scene, Blab drops safe.
4:08 - LFU-117-2 MAD RUSH No 2 (Shaindlin) – Snooper rushes to stop safe.
4:25 - jaunty bassoon and skipping strings (Shaindlin) – Mopping scene, Blab jumps.
4:51 - light symphonic string music (?) – Blab drops, lands on Snoop.
5:29 - PG-161G LIGHT COMEDY MOVEMENT (Green) – Blab on Snoop’s head, phone rings.
5:37 - jaunty bassoon and skipping strings (Shaindlin) – Snoop on phone with scientist, explosion.
6:27 - GR-454 THE ARTFUL DODGER SHORT BRIDGE No 1 (Green) – Smoke clears, Snoop in wreckage.
6:38 - tick tock/flute music (Shaindlin) – Blab cleans.
7:00 - Snooper and Blabber End Title Music.