Saturday, March 22, 2014

Pixie and Dixie — Fresh Heir

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – La Verne Harding, Layout – Tony Rivera, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Written by Warren Foster, Story Director – Lew Marshall, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Mr Jinks, Dixie – Daws Butler; Pixie – Don Messick.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
First Aired: 1961.
Episode: Production E-171.
Plot: Pixie and Dixie try to scare Jinks out of his new mansion.

Jinks inherits a run-down, empty old mansion from a widow no one has heard of and decides to desert the meeces, who ignore the rejection and scare Jinks back into their happy home. The End.

You know, there isn’t much more to say about this cartoon. It’s not full of witty responses by Mr. Jinks to his spooky predicament. Warren Foster doesn’t seem to be as inspired by the orange house cat as much as he was by a blue hound dog, who comments with ridiculous appropriateness about his situation. Foster could have probably included a scene in about the joyful meece happy to be rid of the cat but then find life dull and plot to bring him back (a kind of reverse of “Lend Lease Meece”). However he spends so much time with the opening scene at the door when the mail arrives there’s no time. And, of course, the Hanna-Barbera animation had started to get so stiff by the fourth season of “The Huckleberry Hound Show;” there are none of the takes like the kind we saw in the first season to enliven the proceedings.

Maybe the most interesting things in the cartoon are some of Dick Thomas’ backgrounds. Well, actually, my favourite part is the smiling, bug-eyed bats.



Thomas went for textured clouds, too.



La Verne Harding is the credited animator. Below, you can see her angular Jinks (and meeces with their eyes wide apart), a weird little run by Pixie where he’s bent over at 90 degrees with arms hanging down, and an outline of Dixie as he runs out of the scene, very much like Brad Case.



Favourite line? Foster pulls off an almost Cole Porter-like rhyme: “This feline is making a bee-line immediately.” And Jinks butchers a word:


Jinks: I do not subscribe to silly stupid-stitions like ghosts and goblins and spooks, or, uh, any of those figments made of, like, uh, ectoplastic.

This and “Bombay Mouse” were the only Pixie and Dixie cartoons to have “Hanna-Barbera” in script on the title card.

Greg Watson or whoever was cutting for him dredges up all kinds of Flintstones music in this cartoon. The minor key not-yet-Flintstones theme is played when Jinks is at the entrance to the mansion, and “Bridge” when Jinks is on the ground until the end of the cartoon. “And That’s the Story” is heard when Jinks is walking away from the meece and they plot to get him out of the mansion. Hoyt Curtin had a pretty good collection of creepy cues, including some with a solo organ.

5 comments:

  1. Jinks: "Give me that lawyer letter."

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  2. Methinks, from the drift hereabouts, the Hoyt Curtin scored Huck and Quick Draw shows are beginning to occupy the same undeserved space as the unfairly mass-maligned Shemp (certainly) and even Joe Besser Three Stooges comedies, and Rudy Larriva Road Runner shorts.

    Certainly, they are lesser, relative to what each series did at its best. I’ll NEVER argue that. But, taken on their own - and simply for what they are, none are truly as bad as their reputation in the fannish communities would seem to suggest.

    You can sift through my long review of a Road Runner DVD and find my case for Larriva, if you dare.

    In Curtin’s case, it was a combination of the animation becoming more standardized (and, frankly, more BLAND – but still GOLD, compared to the horrors of what would follow in the seventies!), and perhaps less funny scripting. But, I think Curtin’s scores were enjoyable – and simply “worked” for the H-B cartoons of the era.

    And, ANIMANIACS parodied Curtin wonderfully in the segment “Back in Style”!

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  3. Wow, the last time I saw this cartoon was back in 1996, when " Cartoon Network " ran a Pixie and Dixie " Super Chunk ". What I do remember most were Curtin's creepy cues once Mr. Jinx was in the house. Kind of cut out of the same cloth as Fred and Barney spending the night in a haunted house.

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  4. Joe, good call on the Curtin scores. They played under me and Gumby..then the music from Sam Singer's Sinbad cartoons played in 1967 (then the kiddie version of Kraftwerk's Autobahn for those 1987-88 Gumbys..) SC

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  5. Errol, yeah, they were put to good use on "Chilly Chiller," the Snooper and Blabber cartoon.

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