Saturday, June 7, 2014

Quick Draw McGraw — Baba Bait

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Animation: Don Williams; Backgrounds – Dick Thomas; Written by Mike Maltese; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson. (No credits)
Voice Cast: Quick Draw, Baba Looey, Bank Teller, Sheriff, Blacksmith – Daws Butler; Narrator, Masked Mosquito, Bank President – Don Messick.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-040, Production J-123.
First aired: 1961-62 season.
Plot: Baba Looey pretends to be a bad guy to bring in the bank robbing Masked Mosquito.

Just how dumb is Quick Draw McGraw? He concocts a scheme to have Baba Looey flush out the Masked Mosquito so he can capture him. And the plan works. Up to a point. The Mosquito runs right past Quick Draw.

Baba: Did you catch heem?
Quick Draw: Who, Baba boy?
Baba: The Masked Mosquito. He just run out of the bank.
Quick Draw: Well, I dee-clare. I didn’t recog-nisize him with his mask off.
Baba: Then I thin’ I’d better capture him myself.
Quick Draw: Come to think of it, I wouldn’t recog-nisize him with his mask on, either.

Which defeats the whole purpose of Quick Draw’s plan. In fact, we get the idea it’s not going to work earlier in the cartoon when our hero mistakes the village blacksmith for the bad guy and gets socked in the snout.

Mike Maltese has come up with a well-constructed story with a silly premise—that a bad guy would be an insect. Unlike super hero comic books, the Masked Mosquito doesn’t try to look like a mosquito. He’s just a guy who makes buzzing sounds for reasons unknown. As usual, the characters talk with the cartoon’s narrator. But Maltese avoids having Baba Looey make a punning observation at the end. It doesn’t hurt the cartoon in the slightest. And the whole mood is helped by the animation. Here’s one frame of the sheriff.



The little triangular cross-eyes are the work of veteran Don Williams, who actually gets a bit of full animation in this cartoon. Baba does a little weave when he sings the Quick Draw McGraw theme song. Other than his feet, Baba’s whole body rocks and back and forth in time to the singing; it isn’t just a head bobbing. Some of the drawings are used on only one frame, others on two. It looks pretty smooth. Even when Williams bobs a head, there’ll be five different positions and in Quick Draw’s case, his kerchief moves, too, not just the snout. Williams also likes big mouths, and wide, almost deranged-looking, eyes--especially on Quick Draw.



The first gag involves the Masked Mosquito robbing the bank. There’s no money left in the vault, leaving plenty of room for the bank president to faint. The second scene has the sheriff, his hat flopping up and down on his head, chatting with the narrator in close-up.


Narrator: Oh, Sheriff, we know you must be very busy but can we ask you a question?
Sheriff: Yes?
Narrator: Is it true that because of the Masked Mosquito robberies, the citizens threaten to run you out of town on a rail?
Sheriff: Well, let’s put it this way. Yes, it’s true.

Cut to a long shot of the Sheriff being carried on what looks like a thin log by two running men. No, the saying has nothing to do with a railway track. Go to THIS LINK to find out more. Cartoons can be very educational, you know. By the way, you’ll notice the clouds in the background of this cartoon are yellow.

The narrator mentions the famous Quick Draw McGraw is coming to town. That’s even more of an incentive for the Sheriff to vamoose. Look at the way Williams has drawn the Sheriff’s right hand. It looks like a boxing glove. It reminds me of those old Ub Iwerks cartoons where a fist was drawn as a circle with no fingers.



Enter our heroes.


Baba: Say, Quickstraw, look. I theen that fellow is riding a rail.
Quick Draw: Must be the poor feller can’t afford a horse, Baba Looey.

“It’s no sooner said that don’t, and don’t you forget it,” says Quick Draw to the narrator when informed of the job opening of sheriff. That’s when Quick Draw hatches the plot to have Baba attack him in the saloon where the Masked Mosquito (“unmasked, of course”) will be hanging out and become so impressed he’ll invite Baba to be part of his gang. “Ees a pretty good idea. Quickstraw must have seen it on TV, I theen.”

Quick Draw: Well, uh, after lookin’ all these gunslingers over, my inter-ition tells me that tough-lookin’ hombre is really the Masked Mosquito, without.
Baba: Without what, Quickstraw?
Quick Draw: Without his mask, of course.

“Without,” by the way, is an old form of saying “outside.”

The fake fight begins after some fake Spanish by Baba (“sombrero” “enchilada” and “tortilla” are included in the sentence, along with “Arriba!”). Baba bashes Quick Draw with all kinds of stuff. “Oooh. Does that ever smart!” Williams gives us some rolling eyes.



All this does is rile up the guy whose attention they’re trying to get. He gives Quick Draw one in the snoot. Then he reveals he’s not the Masked Mosquito but the village blacksmith.



But the Mosquito (“unmasked, of course”) has been watching the whole thing. “What did you do to that polecat McGraw?” he asks. So we get a repeat performance.

This brings us to Baba, pretending to be the Little Mosquito (making buzzing noises) robbing a bank and Quick Draw botching the capture as we described at the outset of the post. So it’s up to Baba to capture the bad guy in the saloon by socking him with the same stuff as he did Quick Draw, with the same animation of a chair, bottle, etc. and the same catchphrase (“Like Quick Draw says, ‘Ooooh that smarts!’”). Quick Draw tells Baba he’ll take over and do “the tough part.” The blacksmith objects because “the little feller did it all by himself” and punches Quick Draw again. Williams gives us a few more slit-eyed drawings.

The wind-up has Baba in the sheriff’s chair and Quick Draw leaving town by rail. Cut to a shot of him at the train station. He walks out of the shot, there’s some noise and a cut to a shot of him being carried out of town on a rail by the same guys who did it to the sheriff to end the cartoon.

The music’s pretty typical of this period of Hanna-Barbera’s existence. The opening scene of the Masked Mosquito running away has Hoyt Curtin’s sped-up version of the William Tell overture. The riding-the-rail scene at the beginning features a combination of “The Arkansas Traveller” and “Shave and a Haircut.” When Quick Draw and Baba are walking and talking about the sheriff riding the rail, the sound cutter uses “Walking” (aka “Here’s What We’re Going to Do”). After Baba sings, the tune is “Walk and Talk” (aka “And That’s the Story”), both from “The Flintstones.” A few bars of “(That’s) Quick Draw McGraw” on a piano are played when Quick Draw and Baba are first standing in the saloon. The rest of the music should be familiar from either “The Flintstones” or “Touché Turtle.”

7 comments:

  1. The end is a takeoff on Maltese's end gag in "Drip-Along Daffy". Minus the iris-out horse poop inference. This is a family TV show, you know....

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  2. "Yowp-Yowp" Dodsworth and HB-fans from the whole world,

    John Kricfalusi related on his blog (http://johnkstuff.blogspot.com) that the layouts on this Quick Draw McGraw episode was made by Tony Rivera.
    And he included references from this episode in a topic which's located on the following link: http://johnkstuff.blogspot.com/2010/12/look-for-low-ear.html.
    Enjoy to remember this topic.

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  3. I never connected the two, J.L., but yeah, I can see it with Porky/Baba bringing in the bad guy and becoming sheriff.

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  4. This was the first episode of a pre-1961 series I ever saw with Hoyt Curtin score, and at age eleven it confused me to no end. Quick Draw McGraw caroons were supposed to have the catchy, twangy, Western-themed Capital music- although I sure didn't know it as 'Capital' back then. The Don Williams animation also seemed strange on this, the only Quick Draw episode he worked on.

    You allude the music score to Touche Turtle, who actually premiered (along with Wally Gator and Lippy) a season later in fall 1962, the same time as THE JETSONS. But all three segments of that triology stuck stubbornly to the earliest (1960-61) Hoyt Curtin score, which overall was used interchangeably among all H-B series, including the Loopy DeLoop theatricals. Some cues were more heavily associated with some characters- particularly Yogi and Top Cat. The latter premiered in 1961, but it's 'urban' cues quickly spread to later episodes with the oldest characters (Yogi, Huck, the meeces).

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  5. Question: Is that Don Messick doing the vocal effects for the Mosquito and Daws Butler doin gthem for Baba as Little Li'l Mosqutio. It's sadistic the way the blacksmith (and everybody else) beats up Quick Draw, but it's nice to see someone pointing out that Baba looey did all the work.

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  6. As far as I can tell, Anon, that's the case. There'd be no reason to have one actor do both when the two of them were in the studio.

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  7. Howard, I suppose they were used for Loopy but I never saw them as a kid. I did see Touche, et al, so that's why I associate those cartoons with the pieces of Curtin music I recall being used on them.

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