Saturday, April 26, 2014
Quick Draw McGraw — El Kabong Was Wrong
Credits: Animation – Hicks Lokey; Layout – Paul Sommer; Backgrounds – Vera Hanson; Written by Mike Maltese; Story Director – Alex Lovy; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Quick Draw McGraw, Baba Looey, Sheriff – Daws Butler; Old Injun Fighter, Cactus Cecil, Bank Teller, Villain – Don Messick; Lily Belle, Paperboy – Jean Vander Pyl.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
First Aired: 1961-62 season.
Plot: Cactus Cecil tricks El Kabong into letting him rob a bank.
Note: Howard Fein has identified the animator in this cartoon as Lew Marshall. I thought Marshall was a Story Director by this time but the animation doesn’t look like Lokey’s. I’ll take Howard’s expert word for it.
Everyone thinks of “Death Valley Days” as being hosted by Ronald Reagan. Fair enough because, after all, he was later President of the United States and you can’t get a much higher profile than that. But, when the show arrived on TV in 1952, the story-teller was The Old Ranger, who appeared at the beginning of the show to introduce “another interesting true story.” In “El Kabong Was Wrong,” writer Mike Maltese borrows that concept, and the cartoon is narrated by The Old Injun Fighter, who takes the audience into his confidence throughout.
That’s the only new gimmick in this cartoon. It features familiar-looking incidental characters and the Maltese staples—catchphrases, an incorrect costume change, Baba lipping off Quick Draw and backtracking, ridiculous echoing dialogue, lots of kabongging—but it all adds up to a funny cartoon, despite the familiarity.
Now the Old Injun Fighter introduces another scene. There’s the typical caped melodrama villain with Don Messick’s Norton South voice and Lily Belle, who has the same design and costume as Texas Tillie in “Gun Shy Gal” the previous season. He wants her to marry up with him so he can steal her ranch legally. She cries for El Kabong. You know what happens next. After being kabongged, the bad guy makes a run for it. “San Francisco, open up your golden gate,” he yells.
“Extry, extry! El Kabong runs villain,” yells a paperboy. Pan to Cactus Cecil holding his gun at the boy. “I’ll take a paper, boy. Of course, this is a stick up.” The paperboy doesn’t even give him any respect. “The price is still a nickel,” the kid tells the would-be robber. “Take it or leave it.” Another “Oh, pshaw!” from Cactus Cecil and it’s a fade into the next scene.
Cecil reads a classified ad in the paper from El Kabong offering his services to females in distress. That gives him an idea. He puts on a dress and a wig to masquerade as a “helpless-appearing little old lady.” He robs the bank. “Come back here with that money, you helpless-appearin’ little old lady,” yells the bank teller in pursuit. He cries for help from El Kabong. “That sounds like a helpless-appearing little old lady in distress,” remarks Baba. “Undisturb yourself, helpless-appearing little old lady,” says Quick Draw, who vanishes to return as El Kabong—after first appearing as a kid on a tricycle. And just as Cecil hoped, El Kabong kabongs the bank teller. “I don’t know how to thank you, Mr. Kabong,” says the disguised Cecil. “Oh, shucks, m’am, uh, just knit me a holster.”
The teller has a lump on his head as he brings in the sheriff. “I don’t believe it,” says the sheriff. “El Kabong has turned outlaw and took up with that helpless-appearin’ little old lady who is really Cactus Cecil in disguise.” “You just scurry off on your helpless-appearing little old legs,” Quick Draw tells Cecil, and yells “Hold on thar!” at the sheriff, who shoots him in the hoof. “Oooh, that does that ever smart,” says Quick Draw. He had “I’ll do the thin’in’ around here” earlier in the cartoon, so Maltese fit in all the catchphrases.
Maltese’s song lyrics for the bank teller:
I’ll never forget the day I fell for Cactus Nell.
Sitting on a thumb tack made me tall in the saddle.
Oh, I won’t be at the roundup, Nelly, because I’m such a square.
And for Quick Draw:
Oh, I’m a lonesome cowboy
Because the girls don’t like my face.
As for the real music, Hoyt Curtin’s western clip-clop opens the cartoon. An up-tempo piano/xylophone version of “The Arkansas Traveller” accompanies the villain trying to force Lily Belle to marry him. The Flintstones’ “Bridge” is heard as the villain gets away from El Kabong, while the minor-key flute melody line of the Flintstone theme is used under the newspaper scene. And part of the Wally Gator xylophone running music shows up when the disguised Cecil tries to get away with the money. And the cutter found a use for the Dixieland version of “That’s Quick Draw McGraw” during the chase scene. The only Curtin music that isn’t familiar is a Latin-flavour cue when the sheriff has to explain to Quick Draw who the helpless-appearing little old lady is.