Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – Dick Lundy; Layout – Walt Clinton; Backgrounds – Art Lozzi; Story – Mike Maltese; Story Director – Alex Lovy; Titles – Lawrence Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Narrator, Quick Draw, Baba Looey, Snuffles, Deputy, Dodge City Sheriff, Wichita Sheriff, other town sheriffs – Daws Butler, Slinkerton deputy; Shadow Bandit, Laramie Sheriff, Abilene Sheriff, other town sheriffs, Slinkerton Agent – Don Messick.
Music: Jack Shaindlin, Phil Green, Harry Bluestone-Emil Cadkin.
Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-031, Production J-89.
First aired: week of May 8, 1961.
Plot: The Slinkerton Detective Agency enlists Quick Draw and Snuffles to find the Shadow Bandit.
Was this cartoon a case of Mike Maltese coming up with a pun for a title and then building something on it? “Ali-Baba Looey” seems a little odd at first because you’d expect to have Quick Draw in Arabia. But the connection involves the part of the plot where the Shadow Bandit says “Open Sesame” to make the stone door to his secret cave rise to allow him in. You know, “Open Sesame” as in “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.”
Of course, all that “open” and “close” stuff can’t fill a full seven minutes. So Maltese brings in one of the funniest cartoon dogs of all time, Snuffles. And he takes up about a third of the short with a running gag with the kind of word-turnaround you’d expect in one of his cartoons.
Art Lozzi gives us a really nice background to open the cartoon. I can’t clip it together from screen grabs without ruining the colour. Lozzi uses a palette of reds in the sky behind the street welcoming us to Laramie, Wyoming. The camera pans past a gunsmith, livery stable, hotel and café before stopping at a bank. Incidentally, the TV Western series “Laramie” was into its second season on NBC when this cartoon aired.
Daws Butler gets the opening narration job for a change in this cartoon, explaining the Shadow Bandit is on a bank robbing spree. For the first part of the cartoon, we only see him in silhouette.
Note the background gag in the frame above. There’s a money bag for dollars and one for cents.
Lawmen lose the bandit’s trail at the foot of a sheer cliff. The narrator tells us it leaves the sheriff “perplexed and puzzled.”
Deputy: Where could he go, sheriff?
Sheriff: Don’t ask me. I’m perplexed and puzzled.
That’s the running gag. After each hold-up, the sheriff turns to the camera and tells us he’s perplexed and puzzled. Finally, the pay-off. After the last robbery, a crowd of lawmen with collar-length ears showing they were designed by Walt Clinton tells us “We’re all perpluxed and pezzled.”
Finally, the Slinkerton Detective Agency sends for Quick Draw to solve the mystery. Quick Draw’s odd logic determines “this town” is where the bandit will strike next because all the towns he’s robbed spell “GIVE” on a map and “he’s got to come back and dot the ‘i’.” That’s even though the letters are all capitals.
The rest of the scene is taken up with Snuffles going into his familiar ecstasy act after being fed a dog biscuit. The wavy and mouth and beady eyes look like George Nicholas’ work, but Dick Lundy is the credited animator on this and you can tell he worked on it (there’s some rolling-head dialogue earlier in the short), so I’ll presume Lundy did this. The Snuffles animation was re-used in “Scooter Rabbit” later that season.
Quick Draw tells Snuffles he won’t give him another biscuit until he catches the crook. Snuffles, as usual, grumbles under his breath (“cheapskate” is one of the words that’s intelligible) then pulls Baba Looey along with him as he gallops after the crook. I love Quick Draw’s line: “Hold on thar, Shadow Bandit, Snuffles and Baba Looey! In that order.” Snuffles only screeches to a halt when Baba Looey tells him he’ll get no more biscuits. Baba flies over the dog and crash-lands on the dirt, then lets out a string of faux Spanish, just like Ricky Ricardo used to do when he was angry at Lucy. Ricky’s Spanish was real; Daws engages in gibberish for Baba, though we get the words “enchilada” and “Tijuana.”
Baba sees the bandit (who is now fully visible) go in the cave and after Quick Draw arrives, tries to open it with the same secret words the bandit used. It’s reminiscent of the scenes in one of Maltese’s best-known cartoons, “Ali Baba Bunny” (released by Warner Bros. in 1957) where Hassan tries “Open Saddlesoap” and “Open Saskatchewan.” Baba’s are weaker because he uses Mexican cliché words but accidentally blurts out “says me” and that works. Quick Draw’s are funnier after the bandit closes the entrance; I particularly like “Open Mustard Plaster” because who knows how he came up with it.
Quick Draw feeds Snuffles a biscuit (with reused animation) but demands three of them after the bandit points a gun at him. Quick Draw acquiesces, Snuffles lets out a Tarzan yell then crashes through the closed stone entrance to capture the crook. Quick Draw immediately hands Snuffles the full $10,000 reward (how’d he get it so fast?). Snuffles doesn’t realise he could buy a lot of biscuits with it. Instead, he wants one now and flings back Quick Draw’s offering with his contempt, grumbling again; Lundy uses different drawings than the first time. Baba tags out the cartoon, as usual, but it’s an obvious line without even a pun: “Money isn’t everything to Snuffles, that’s for sure.” Maltese locked himself into a formula ending cartoons with Baba Looey because he ran out of clever lines for the burro.
The sound cutter tends to use short snippets of music in this cartoon; one cue lasts only four seconds. I don’t know where the tinkling bell music comes from that you hear when Snuffles comes back down to earth after eating a dog biscuit.
0:00 - Quick Draw McGraw Sub Main Title theme (Curtin).
0:15 - Oh, Susannah (?) – Narration over start of opening pan over Laramie.
0:23 - Related to Excitement Under Dialogue (Shaindlin) – Gunfire, robbery, silhouette rides.
0:45 - GR-454 THE ARTFUL DODGER BRIDGE No 1 (Green) – Sheriff and deputy approach closed cave.
1:03 - EXCITEMENT UNDER DIALOGUE (Shaindlin) – Dodge City shooting, Abilene, Wichita, “perpluxed and puzzled.”
1:45 - GR-348 EARLY MORNING (Green) – Outside of Slinkerton office.
1:50 - GR-472 HICKSVILLE (Green) – Quick Draw dialogue with Slinkerton man, Snuffles leaps into air.
2:57 - tinkling music (?) – Snuffles lands.
3:02 - PG-160G LIGHT MOVEMENT (Green) – “He sure loves..” gunfire.
3:08 - ticket tock/flute music (Shaindlin) – Head shakes, no dog biscuit, Snuffles dashes away.
3:35 - fast circus chase music (Shaindlin) – Baba pulled off camera, Snuffles stops, Shadow bandit goes into cave, Quick Draw slides into scene, “What cave?”
4:28 - GR-99 THE DIDDLECOMB HUNT (Green) – “Wait, I show you,” Baba accidentally opens cave, “Your mysterious getaways…”
4:55 - fast circus chase music (Shaindlin) – Quick Draw zips out of scene, crashes into cave, lands.
5:02 - CRAZY GOOF (Shaindlin) – “Open Mississippi…” Snuffles eats biscuit, leaps into sky.
5:27 - tinkling music (?) – Snuffles lands.
5:32 - CB-86A HIDE AND SEEK (Cadkin-Bluestone) – “Hurry it up will ya?” Snuffles dashes off.
5:36 - ‘FIREMAN’ (Shaindlin) – Snuffles gallops into cave, eats dog biscuits, Tarzan yell, Snuffles on bandit.
6:27 - GR-346 FIRST BUDS (Green) – Quick Draw offers reward, Snuffles throws bag of money back at Quick Draw.
6:45 - related to Sportscope (Shaindlin) – Snuffles grumbles, Baba tag line, iris out.
7:00 - Quick Draw McGraw Sub End Title theme (Curtin).