Saturday, May 31, 2014
Augie Doggie — Ape to Z
Animation – Hicks Lokey, Layout – Tony Rivera, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Direction – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson (credits from BCDB).
Voice Cast: Doggie Daddy – Doug Young; Augie Doggie – Daws Butler; Radio announcer, Bongo Bongo – Don Messick.
Music: Phil Green, Jack Shaindlin.
First Aired: 1961-62 season.
Plot: Jungle boy Augie brings home a gorilla from the zoo.
Mike Maltese enjoyed odd words and phrases so it’s no wonder he found a place for “jackanapes” in a cartoon. If he used it at Warner Bros., I can’t recall, but it’s front-and-centre in the first act of “Ape to Z.” Appropriate, I suppose, as a “jackanapes,” at one time, referred to an ape or a monkey (if the internet is correct).
This cartoon was apparently the first one aired in the final first-run season of the Augie Doggie series, but some of the storyline is like an old friend paying a visit. This is another “can-I-keep-him-dad/dad-is-reluctant” cartoon. Large, strong apes in Hanna-Barbera cartoons go back to Wee Willie in the first season of the Huckleberry Hound show. But to show you the difference between Hanna-Barbera in 1958 (with Joe Barbera and Charlie Shows writing) and Hanna-Barbera in 1961 (with Maltese writing), the “comic violence” of the early days has been replaced with words. Huck got bashed around a lot by Wee Willie. In this cartoon, Bongo Bongo opens a door on Doggie Daddy and throws him against a wall. Dear Old Dad remains uninjured for the remainder of the proceedings. And, as usual, dad gives in to Augie’s demand, tossing in an “After all” observation as he did in almost every cartoon.
And the whole first scene may remind you of when Bugs Bunny or Daffy Duck jumps back and forth, playing two characters talking to each other, somehow changing costumes between each jump.
The animation isn’t anything to get excited about. I wondered if it was Dick Lundy assisted by Bob Carr, but the Big Cartoon Database says it’s Hicks Lokey. It certainly could be. Note the loops for closed eyes when Daddy’s snoring, with the grille of teeth in one drawing and little shovel mouth in another.
An interesting little bit of animation when Augie stops himself under a typical Dick Thomas painting on the wall and tells us he hears the snarl of the wild and ferocious jackanapes. He squints with one eye, then the other, then back again. It’s kind of like he’s eyeing his prey. It’s better than just standing there and bobbing his nose in dialogue, like Lew Marshall would have done.
There’s no attempt at stretching a character when he zips off stage, which happens frequently in this cartoon. Look at Augie. It’s like a regular drawing of him that’s partly off camera. It’s followed by swirl lines.
There are places where the drawings wouldn’t have been out of place on a lightboard at Gamma Productions. Here’s one of a four-drawing chew cycle of Bongo Bongo, the ape.
How about this ugly Augie?
In this scene, it looks like Bongo Bongo is floating. Shouldn’t his feet be even with Doggie Daddy’s?
Anyway, let’s get to the dialogue, which is usually the highlight of a Mike Maltese cartoon. Augie pretends to be a mighty hunter and the hunter’s gunboy, Ooga Ooga. Maltese makes fun of jungle pictures where natives speak broken English and some invented African dialect.
Augie (as gunboy): Oh, Master. Wogga wogga, ooga ooga. Me chicken.
Augie fits in “It is to laugh,” just like Bugs or Daffy in a Warners cartoon.
Daddy: But, Augie what about the jackanapes? And, come to think of it, may I enquire as to what is a wild jackapes?
Augie: Well, you know, it’s, uh, just an animal that’s eight feet tall. Which I just mortally wounded.
Daddy: Heh, heh, heh. Well, you shouldn’t clutter the living room with jackanapes’ carcasses. Put him in the closet. It’s neater that way.
In the next scene, Augie’s listening to the radio, which reveals a gorilla is loose.
Augie: I’m going on a safari. Do you want to come along?
Daddy: No, thanks, Augie. It just so happens that I gotta luncheon engagement with a hippopotamus-saurius.
Doggie Daddy always seems to be sitting in his armchair reading the paper in every cartoon. This is the scene where he’s doing it.
Augie captures Bongo Bongo with bananas and a sign for bait, but feels sorry for him and invites him home for a pet. Daddy, thinking his son is kidding, tells him to put the gorilla away.
Augie: Bongo Bongo’s in the closet, dad.
Daddy: That’s fine, Augie. I’ll bring him a deck of cards so he and the wild jackanapes can pass the time playing gingery rummy. Heh, heh, heh, heh. Hey, what’s my old raccoon coat doin’ in here? I thought I packed that old thing in the trunk years ago. Yikes! It’s alive with moths. (Daddy is thrown against a wall) And the moths are hostile! An’ if there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s hostile moths.
Later, when Bongo Bongo opens the closet door, which crashes against Daddy so hard, he goes right through the outside wall.
Daddy: Imagine. Thrown outta my own house by a raccoon coat. What a dilemmia.
Augie: Bongo Bongo didn’t mean it. He’ll be more careful next time.
Daddy: Jumpin’ jackanapes. It’s a gorilla!
And to end the cartoon, after Augie asks Daddy if they can keep the gorilla:
Augie: Then you’ll adopt him as your very own son?
Daddy: But I already have a son who is full of monkeyshines.
Augie: Well, uh, couldn’t he be your nephew, dad?
Gorilla: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Daddy: Dat’s a thought, Augie. After all, how many fathers can also say they’re a monkey’s uncle?
This is the only Hanna-Barbera cartoon made for the 1961-62 season which used the Capitol Hi-Q and Langlois Filmusic libraries. All other cartoons produced by the studio henceforth would have stock cues composed in house. Farewell, library music!
0:00 - Augie Doggie Main Title theme (Hanna-Barbera-Curtin)
0:26 - GR-65 BUSH BABY (Green) – Daddy snores, Augie tippy-toes into room, turns head.
0:59 - GR-255 PUPPETRY COMEDY (Green) – Conversation with “Ooga Ooga,” Augie shoots Daddy, Daddy bolts from chair.
2:02 - GR-78 CUSTARD PIE CAPERS (Green) – Daddy runs, skids to a stop.
2:13 - EM-107D LIGHT MOVEMENT (Green) – Daddy and Augie talk about Jackanapes.
2:44 - no music – Augie listens to radio.
2:59 - GR-154 PICNIC OR COUNTRY SCENE (Green) – Augie tells Daddy he’s going on a safari.
3:23 - PG-168J FAST MOVEMENT (Green) – Augie runs, reads sign.
3:30 – no music. “There. That oughta tempt him.”
3:32 - GR-348 EARLY MORNING (Green) – “Now, I’ll hide...I got him!”
3:40 - GR-96 BY JIMINY! IT’S JUMBO (Green) – Gorilla/Augie scene.
4:30 - skipping strings and jaunty bassoon (Shaindlin) – Daddy with boxes, gorilla in closet, Daddy with gorilla’s arm.
5:23 - CAPERS (Shaindlin) – Ape hauls Daddy back in closet, Daddy thrown out, door opens on Daddy.
5:50 - Tick Tock flute music (Shaindlin) – “Be careful...”, cartoon ends.
7:10 - Augie Doggie End Title theme (Curtin)