Saturday, February 22, 2014

Snooper and Blabber — Snap Happy Saps

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – Ken Muse, Layout – Walt Clinton, Backgrounds – Joe Montell, Story – Mike Maltese, Story Sketches – Dan Gordon, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Snooper, Blabber, Evil J. Scientist, Junior, Crocodile – Daws Butler; Mrs. Scientist – Jean Vander Pyl.
Music: Phil Green, Jack Shaindlin.
Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-019, Production J-57.
First Aired: week of Feb. 1, 1960 (rerun, week of August 1, 1960).
Plot: Snooper and Blabber are hired to take pictures of the creepy Evil Scientist family.

Note: My supreme thanks to Andrew Morrice, who had a copy of this cartoon on video tape. He has digitised it to enable it to be reviewed.

The situation is pretty much the gag in this cartoon, combined with Snooper’s mangling of the English language. The Scientist family (which is never “evil,” despite the name) finds delight in creepy and macabre things just like the Addams Family. Oh, you never noticed the resemblance? This is the second of two cartoons featuring the Scientists in the 1959-60 season of Snooper and Blabber. It ends in a similar way as “Prince of a Fella” the following season, with the detectives being turned into something else.

There are a couple of oddities here, and I don’t mean the Scientists keeping a pet crocodile. The husband isn’t “Boris” as in the first cartoon, “The Big Diaper Caper.” But he’s not “J. Evil Scientist,” either.



And Mrs. Scientist (who has no first name here) has a different design, one with a pony tail. I suspect Walt Clinton redesigned her for this cartoon.



There are some neat expressions here; whether they’re from Mike Maltese’s thumbnails, Dan Gordon’s finished storyboard or Clinton’s layouts, I don’t know. But I like how Junior does an impression of Blab by pulling out his ears.



And the expressions of the alligator are simple but effective.



Kenny Muse churns out the footage on this cartoon. There always seems to be at least one scene in a Muse cartoon where there’s no animation. This one is no exception. Snoop walks off stage (upper half of body only; saves animating the legs) and we see a background drawing for about ten seconds while dialogue and sound effects fill the screen. Here’s Muse having the crocodile eat Blab. Animated on twos. It takes less than a second of screen time. See the difference in the crocodile’s position in the third and fourth drawing. It makes the chomp seem quicker than by having evenly-spaced in-betweens. Bill Hanna’s timing at work, I would guess.



Joe Montell worked on five Snooper and Blabbers and this is one of them. Here are a few backgrounds, including the atypical opening shot of the private eye ball on the office door. Montell is usually pretty stylish. He soon moved to Gamma Productions in Mexico to work on the Jay Ward cartoons.



Maltese’s dialogue...
● Snooper, answering phone: “Snooper Detective Agency. We calm your fright if the fee is right.”
● Snooper, after accepting the “five-grand thousand” offer: “Lady, you’re talkin’ to Snapshot Snoop, the Pride of Tintype-Pan Alley.”
● Snooper, after pulling up in front of the Victorian mansion: “What’s to be scared? Where there’s a cuddly baby, there’s bound to be peace and tranquilizers.”
● Snooper, as Junior pretends to be a dog: “Pretty cute, Blab. Reminds me of a pooch I used to know on Third Avenue.”
● Snooper, after Blab thinks Junior is making a malt: “I think I’ll join you in a little tea-de-tout myself.”
● Evil, after Junior transforms into a wolf boy: “Junior, you’ve been at the Wolf Man Extract again. (Junior croaks) And you promised your daddy. (Junior croaks twice) Now go change yourself back, or I’ll take away all your gargoyles. (Junior croaks three times) I’m sure he’ll behave himself. He loves those gargoyles.
● Snooper to crocodile, who swallowed Blab: “All right, you fugitive from a hand-bag.”
Snooper doesn’t say “Halt in the name of the Private Eye (fill in the blank)” in this cartoon.

Maltese sets up the end gag in mid-cartoon by having Junior mix himself a potion with Wolf Man Extract. Here’s Muse’s transformation art. I believe there are six frames of the toothy drawing before Junior starts to sprout into the wolfboy.



For a change, Snoop presumably collects his fat fee from the Scientists. Before he and Blab depart, they’re offered a “malt” by Junior. Cut to a final scene in the detective agency office. Yes, there was Wolf Man Extract in it and the private eyes are now wolves. It’ll wear off in 30 days. Snooper isn’t too concerned. He answers the phone “Snooper Detective Agency. We specialise in wolf disguises.” Unfortunately, just like the Quick Draw cartoons where Baba Looey almost always got the last word, Blabber has it in the Snooper cartoons whether or not there’s anything funny to say. This one’s lame. It ends “Let’s face it. Snoop’s the greatest. Right folks?” At least Baba usually came up with a pun, even if it was weak.

Familiar Phil Green and Jack Shaindlin cues are on the soundtrack.


0:00 - Snooper and Blabber Main Title theme (Curtin, Hanna, Barbera).
0:25 - GR-74 POPCORN (Green) – Office scene.
0:56 - LFU-117-1 MAD RUSH No. 1 (Shaindlin) - Car scene, street sign scene.
1:27 - EXCITEMENT UNDER DIALOGUE (Shaindlin) – Scientist sign, doorbell, Junior talks.
2:18 - GR-456 DR QUACK (Green) – “Hey, Snoop,” Junior bites Snoop, Junior turns into wolf creature.
3:53 - CAPERS (Shaindlin) – Junior snarls, “I’m sure he’ll behave himself.”
4:28 – skippy strings and jaunty bassoon (Shaindlin) – “He just loves those gargoyles,” crocodile eats Blab, newspaper snap sound off camera.
5:32 - fast circus chase music (Shaindlin) – Crocodile roars, chases Snoop, skid to a stop.
5:44 - GR-90 THE CHEEKIE CHAPPIE (Green) – Junior takes picture, group picture, scene at door, potion drinking scene.
6:29 - ‘FIREMAN’ (Shaindlin) – Evil Scientist answers phone, Snoop and Blab in office.
7:10 - Snooper and Blabber End Title theme (Curtin).

Note: We have now reviewed all cartoons from the first two seasons of the Quick Draw McGraw Show.

3 comments:

  1. Jesus, "Yowp-Yowp" Dodsworth!

    This is the only Snooper & Blabber episode which was missing on your blog!
    And this same episode has reminded and funny passages.
    Do you remember of a commentary of mine about this epsiode, which I included on your blog, refering to the differential design of the Evil Scientist clan, made by Walter Clinton?

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  2. I had just mentioned Snooper and Blabber to my son the other day. Thanks for this, I love this episode!

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  3. I agree, I do love the stylish backgrounds on this one - and that deadpan crocodile!

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