Saturday, April 19, 2014

Augie Doggie — Dough-Nutty

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – C.L. Hartman, Layout – Tony Rivera, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Director – Lew Marshall, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Augie Doggie – Daws Butler; Doggie Daddy, Lefty Louie – Doug Young.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
First Aired: 1961-62 season.
Plot: Augie puts a counterfeiter through a bunch of stunts.

This cartoon’s an unusual one because the focus is neither on Augie Doggie or Doggie Daddy. In fact, Daddy takes a seat and occasionally comments to us about the cartoon while the action carries on. And Augie’s morality is a little odd. It’s okay to be a counterfeiter and pass counterfeit bills to your dad, but think you’re a “law-abiding son?” Can Augie be that brain-dead? So it is the counterfeiting Augie holds the counterfeiting Lefty Louie for police.

Since Dear Old Dad doesn’t have much to do outside the first and last scenes, Doug Young uses his screen time to play Louie in what seems to be his version of the Slapsie Maxie voice.

The animator in this cartoon was Clarence Lafayette Hartman, Jr. C.L. was born in Ft. Worth, Texas on March 20, 1916 to Clarence and Cecile (Moorehead) Hartman. His father was, and this is odd, a musician with the Crazy Well Water Co. out of Mineral Wells. By 1930, the family was in Kansas City where the elderly Hartman was a musician on KMBC, the CBS station. Young C.L. had two years of college before beginning his career as a commercial artist in Chicago. He was already in animation by 1939 (and at a low rung; he worked half the year and made $700). Hartman enlisted in the military in July 1941 (6’ 3” and 204 pounds);
Daily Variety of Dec. 15th that year reveals he was working for Walt Disney. An interesting internet find is one of a number of Christmas cards he designed while a member of the Signal Corps Photographic Center on Long Island.

Where Hartman spent much of his time after the war is unclear; he did book covers and some commercial animation, landing at UPA by 1954 and then working for the Larry Harmon studio before moving to Hanna-Barbara. He also animated for Creston (the former TV Spots) on “Calvin and the Colonel” and his name turns up on the Grantray-Lawrence Spiderman cartoons, among other places. Hartman died in Los Angeles in June 26, 1985.

Now, back to our cartoon.

Mike Maltese has set up the story pretty well (despite the aforementioned criminal ignorance). Augie asks Daddy what’s the one thing he wants most that costs lots and lots of money. “A new car. The diffiry-ential is interferin’ with the carbul-lulator.” Lefty Louie shows up with a gun to get his money-making machine back from Augie, who asks if the reward for his capture will pay for a couple of new cars. It will. So Augie hides the machine and won’t tell Lefty where it is. “Ya better humour him, Lefty,” says Dad. “I’ve seen dat stubborn look of his before.” Stubborn? What? Augie’s grinning and looking the other way. C.L. apparently wasn’t paying attention to the dialogue. Anyway, Augie tells Lefty he has to play “circus” to get it back. “Don’t go away, folks,” Daddy advises us. “This could be interestin’.”

That takes up the whole first half of the cartoon. C.L. hasn’t had to do very much. Even during walk cycles, the characters’ bodies remain rigid. Mainly, he’s drawn mouth movements, head jerks, the ubiquitous eye blinks and an arm going up and down. The animation’s extremely basic and looks like it belongs in the crappy TV Popeyes that Hartman, Cal Dalton and others worked on for Larry Harmon. The one exception is when Daddy turns around. The body pretty much has to move. The drawings are on twos.



The cartoon now turns into one of those stunt cartoons that Maltese liked using in this series, the type where Daddy fails at a series of stunts he reluctantly attempts to try to please Augie, “Treasure Jest” and “Tee Vee or Not Tee Vee” among them. In fact, he used the circus stunt concept with “Big Top Pop.” (You could put the lineage all the way back to “Bear Feat,” one of the Three Bears cartoons Maltese wrote for Chuck Jones at Warners). The gags:

● As the “Great Divo,” Lefty dives 100 feet into a tub or water. Whoops. No water. Daddy adds the water. C.L. draws characters’ mouths either open wide or talking way up into their snout.
● A high-wire act goes fine until Lefty keeps wheeling his unicycle off the wire and into the air. Gravity kicks in.

Cut to a shot of Daddy in a make-shift stand, enjoying a pop and a hot dog. Hmm. Angular tree foliage? Scratchy line for grass? Must be a Dick Thomas background.



● As Captain Pyrite, Lefty emulates Robin Hood Daffy and crashes his trapeze into a tree.
● As Speed Wizard, Lefty rides a motorcycle at 100 miles an hour into a brick wall. Maltese wrote a couple of Quick Draw cartoons where a character cracks into little pieces after a smash, like in a Tex Avery cartoon. But that’s evidently out of Bill Hanna’s budget now, so just the bike falls into pieces.
● One more act. Lefty is Claude Riches, the lion tamer. Yes, Augie has a lion in a cage in his back yard. Don’t ask how. We don’t see the attack. We see almost three seconds of a shot of the outside of the cage. We see about four seconds of a shot of the inside of the cage. Then we see another almost two seconds of the outside of the cage. No animation. Not even a violent camera shake. Just a drawing, Doug Young yelling, the roar of a lion and Hoyt Curtin’s music. Hanna must have been overjoyed at the money saved.



In what was already an old cartoon routine (Warners, Lantz, lord knows who else), Lefty demands the police arrest him to get away from the abuse.

The cartoon ends with Doggie Daddy driving a huge car with a small one as a spare tied onto the trunk. It’s similar to a gag at the outset of Yogi’s “The Runaway Bear” (1959), written by Joe Barbera and Charlie Shows.



Familiar Curtin music from “Touché Turtle,” “Loopy De Loop” and other cartoons around that time has been put underneath the action. It includes two different circus fanfares and ends with a familiar xylophone chase.

2 comments:

  1. The small car which appears at the final scene from this Augie Doggie & Doggie Daddy episode, looks like a Volkswagen Beetle.

    ReplyDelete
  2. WOW.... just, WOW. How offmodel can one get?

    ReplyDelete