Saturday, 9 November 2013

Quick Draw McGraw — Twin Troubles

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: none. Animation – Ken Muse, Layout – Walt Clinton, Story – Mike Maltese, Story Director – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Narrator, Good N. Meany, Mr. Briefcase, Judge – Doug Young; Quick Draw, Baba Looey, Durn Meany, Bailiff – Daws Butler. Music: Phil Green, Jack Shaindlin, Emil Cadkin-Harry Bluestone, unknown.
First Aired: week of November 21, 1960 (rerun, week of August 28, 1961).
Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-030, Production J-91.
Plot: Baba Looey has to testify in a bank robbery case against Durn Meany.

Timing is everything in comedy, and “Twin Troubles” features a little gag that couldn’t be timed better.

Baba Looey is being chased by armed bank robbers, running for his life from bullets. How does storyman Mike Maltese build the suspense to a climax? He doesn’t. He cuts to a completely unrelated routine in a courthouse. “Order in the court!” yells a judge. Quick Draw McGraw holds up a coin. “I’ll order a large sasparilly.” The judge bashes Quick Draw’s hand (hoof) with his gavel. “Oooh, that smarts,” says Quick Draw. Then it’s back to the chase.

Sure, it’s a corny old bit of business. But the timing is perfect. Exactly two frames elapse from the time Quick Draw finishes ordering to when he’s bashed. Add catchphrase. Scene done. It all takes less than nine seconds. You’re not left time to analyse it. The ridiculousness sets in and then it’s back to the chase. “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In” used to do the same kind of thing with quick, unrelated, blackout gags inserted between routines. And it was always funny if the gag wasn’t allowed to linger.

This cartoon uses the basic idea of a western courtroom drama without really parodying it. Instead, it’s a hook to hang the usual things you find in a Quick Draw cartoon. In fact, the courtroom aspect turns out to be completely irrelevant; Baba Looey quells the bad guys at the end of the cartoon by improbably launching a cast-iron stove at them.


The original premise of the cartoon is Quick Draw has ten minutes to produce his star witness (Baba) in court, or Good N. Meany gets off on a bank robbery charge. Meany’s brother Durn is holding off Quick Draw in a gun battle. But the promise of a cartoon with “High Noon”-style deadline suspense is cut off pretty quickly. Quick Draw uses a rubber tire tube attached to the window to shoot him and Baba over the bad guy and through the wall of the courthouse “in the St. Nicholas of time.” So now there’s four more minutes of cartoon to fill. All the catchphrases get a workout during the first part of the cartoon—“Hold on, thar!” “I’ll do the thinnin’ around here, Baba-boy. And dooon’t you forget it.” And the Baba dialogue switch routine: “You’re a bully, Quickstraw.” “What’s that?” “I said ‘Bully for you, Quickstraw’.”

There’s a camera error, too. Durn Meany’s mouth animation is, as normal in an H-B cartoon, on separate cels than the rest of the drawing. Durn’s mouth slides off part of his face for a couple of seconds.



Now that the cartoon’s in the courthouse, Maltese tosses in some puns. “Good N. Meany, take the stand, please,” says the bailiff. So he walks away with the stand. The best one is helped by Daws Butler’s goofy voice he gives Quick Draw. “I object!” shouts the oily defence lawyer. “The question is entirely irrelevant, immaterial and, furthermore, calls for a conclusion on the part of this witness.” But when the Meanys pull guns on star witness Baba, prosecutor Quick Draw shouts: “I object! The question is an elephant, a cereal and calls for a concussion on the part of the witness.” And then Quick Draw’s completely taken in by Durn Meany in disguise as the old Meany mother, who socks, kicks and jumps on Quick Draw as she outlines what the sheriff did to her “golden-haired boy” (who is bald). Judge: “Any more questions, Quick Draw?” Quick Draw (looking woozy): “No, your highness. She’s suffered enough.”




The cartoon ends with Baba improbably launching the cabin’s cast-iron stove at the robbers, and the impact sends them smashing into the courthouse. They plead to the judge. “Quick, put us in jail.” “Yeah. Away from that crazy star witness.” Let’s face it. Other cartoons used the same kind of dialogue (for one, “Bugs and Thugs,” written by Warren Foster at Warners), but the characters involved acted far more crazy or violently than the sane, crime-solving Baba Looey. Quick Draw has one last “I object.” He objects to the stove being on his foot. Baba’s mandatory tag line: “I like that Quickstraw. When it comes to having brains, he’s not guilty.”

There are no credits on the copies of this cartoon that I have but it’s easy to pick out Ken Muse as the animator with his little tongue movements and partial small row of upper teeth. And layouts are by Walt Clinton; you can tell by the collar-height ear he liked to design in three quarter view. The background artist is a bit of a puzzle. The basic colour scheme looks like Dick Thomas’ work, but the crude lettering on the opening pan of diagonal-shaped buildings was something you’d see on Monte’s backgrounds in the first season of the “Huckleberry Hound Show.” Monte’s name doesn’t seem to be on a lot of cartoons in the 1960-61 season; he may have been concentrating on “The Flintstones.” Anyway, here’s the opening shot; you can click on it to make it bigger.



No surprises in the music department. I don’t know the source of the version of “Red River Valley” used in the Quick Draw cartoons.


0:00 - Quick Draw McGraw Sub Main Title theme (Curtin).
0:15 - Red River Valley (?) – Pan of street over opening narration.
0:32 - GR-96 BY JIMINY! IT’S JUMBO (Green) – Shot of judge, courtroom scene.
1:07 - related to Excitement Under Dialogue (Shaindlin) – shooting, “Oh, Quick Draw.”
1:18 - GR-472 HICKSVILLE (Green) – Quick Draw/Durn dialogue, Quick Draw/Baba dialogue.
1:57 - GR-87 SKELETON IN THE CUPBOARD (Green) – “You only got a minute,” Quick Draw launches.
2:22 - ‘FIREMAN’ (Shaindlin) – Quick Draw flies through air.
2:31 - GR-98 BY JIMINY! IT’S JUMBO BRIDGE No. 2 (Green) – “Time’s up,” Quick Draw and Baba crash through wall.
2:39 - GR-99 THE DIDDLECOMB HUNT (Green) – “The star witness,” take the stand, Good N. Meany on stand, “That’s my cue.”
3:25 - sad trombone music (?) – “Mom” shouts, judge tells “her” to proceed.
3:43 - PG-160G LIGHT MOVEMENT (Green) – “Mom” on stand, socks Quick Draw.
4:00 - fast circus chase music (?) – “And then with two lefts,” Quick Draw beaten up, “Any more questions?”
4:23 - GR-454 THE ARTFUL DODGER BRIDGE No. 1 (Green) – Quick Draw wearing chair.
4:28 - CRAZY GOOF (Shaindlin) – Baba on stand.
5:09 - CB-86A HIDE AND SEEK (Bluestone-Cadkin) – Meanys with guns, Baba runs out.
5:24 - GR-437 GATHERING THE PRODUCE (Green) – Meanys run.
5:30 - GR-455 THE ARTFUL DODGER BRIDGE No. 1 (Green) – Order in the court scene.
5:39 - rising scale music (Shaindlin) – Meanys run, flying stove, crash.
6:16 - CRAZY GOOF (Shaindlin) – Courtroom wrap-up scene.
6:43 - Quick Draw McGraw Sub End Title theme (Curtin).

2 comments:

  1. John Kricfalusi included various references from this episode on his blog (http://johnkstuff.blogspot.com), including the scene where the judge is being menaced by the evil lawyer of the Twin Meanies. These references are included on that two topics which he did about the Walter Clinton's artwork on the Quick Draw McGraw episodes.
    This Quick Draw McGraw episode brings the second appearance of the Twin Meanies.
    Do you remember of them? They appeared in the episode Choo-Choo Chumps, when they attempted to steal the passengers from a train.

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  2. Here are additional snapshots from this Quick Draw McGraw episode which I've found in the John Kricfalusi's blog (http://johnkstuff.blogspot.com):

    - The terrible Good N. Meany and his lawyer (full of malevolent intentions), being introduced to the audiences by the narrator:
    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_mJ4lc_Q9Q6k/TQ7xjXFgKxI/AAAAAAAAuDU/K4ua3u2ObCc/s250/shortbadguyandlawyer.jpg

    - Close on Good N. Meany (still with that diabolical expression), who appears talking to the narrator:
    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_mJ4lc_Q9Q6k/TRAkxVJFTdI/AAAAAAAAuFU/4v9AMMhM6dc/s250/shortbadguy.jpg

    - Durn Meany, setting siege against Quick Draw and Baba Looey:
    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_mJ4lc_Q9Q6k/TRAkxqg3LKI/AAAAAAAAuFc/nu3Evtu1Afw/s250/nosetoearangle.jpg

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