Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – John Boersma, Layout – Walt Clinton, Backgrounds – Fernando Montealegre, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Director – Lew Marshall, Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Snooper, Blabber, J. Richley Richley – Daws Butler; Hazel – Jean Vander Pyl; Grimes, Circus Barker – Don Messick.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
First Aired: 1961-62 season.
Plot: Snooper finds a millionaire’s butler is shrinking himself to steal gems.
Mike Maltese puts together some variations on some of his old favourites in this story. There were several cartoons featuring fleas and a couple involving gems thieves. “Flea For All” (1960-61 season) combined the two. And there were a couple of Quick Draw cartoons where the bad guy declared he was off for “jolly fun” or a “jolly time.” Well, the bad guy does the same thing here. So what we get is a bunch of teeny flea-like silhouettes fighting with regular-sized objects in a regular-sized world—like below.
Except the flea-like silhouettes are Snooper, Blabber and the bad guy.
There’s no office door with an eyeball on its window, no Duffy’s Tavern-like opening rhyme from Snoop when he answers the phone in this cartoon. He and Blab are riding a bike. Their car has been repossessed. They must still have an office as Hazel, their secretary, is yelling at them (their phone is disconnected) about a job. Monty is the background artist in this cartoon; I like his trees in the opening scene.
So off they go to the mansion of J. Richley Richley, with Blab doing his “sireen” impression. “Try not to look hungry, Blab,” Snoop advises. Richley answers the doorbell. “That must be those two-bit private eyes,” he grumbles in an English accent that sounds somewhat like James Mason. “All the good ones are out of town.” Here’s part of a background of the Richley mansion.
“You sent for us, I take it? Or we wouldn’t be here, would we?” asks Blab, who’s a dullard in this one. Richley suspects his butler, Grimes, is stealing his gems, even though Snooper assures him “the only times the butler did it is in those old, old movies on the late, late show.” Here’s a pan of the fabulous gem collection.
So our heroes pose as window washers to keep an eye on Grimes, “even though this ain’t the Late, Late Show.” In the next scene, Snooper spots a clue; “something we missed before.” Well, it was pretty easy to miss it as it wasn’t on the background drawing above—footprints getting smaller and leading into a mouse hole. “Hark, as they say,” remarks Blab, and the scene cuts to Grimes drinking some kind of potion to shrink so that he can get under the door of the vault to steal another gem and run into the mouse hole with it for safe keeping. “Soon, I’ll have the ‘hole ruddy lot. Then it’s me to the Orkney Islands for a jolly time,” exclaims Grimes.
“Okay, Blab, go after him,” orders Snoop, handing the bottle of potion to Blabber. “You’re askin’ me to drink that stuff, Snoop?” “Socially, I would ask you. But, officially, it’s an order.” So Blab drinks the stuff and shrinks. Don’t ask why it is Blab is a mouse but he has to shrink to be able to fit through a mouse hole. Anyway, Grimes has a gun that he can somehow lift despite his extremely small size. In fact he’s about the third the size of Blabber but when the fight scenes take place, the two (and Snooper, who has shrunk himself to come to the rescue) are all the same size.
The potion won’t wear off for six weeks. So they do the only thing they can. Become an act in a flea circus, with Blab somersaulting in the air between Grimes and Snooper. “It was either this or go to the dogs,” exclaims Snoop. Blab gets the pun and snickers as the iris closes to end the cartoon. You’ll notice a sign says “Fink’s Flea Circus.” No doubt Maltese recalled years earlier in vaudeville there was a popular act called Fink’s Mules that toured for decades.