Saturday, August 30, 2014

Augie Doggie — Vacation Tripped

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – John Boersma, Layout – Noel Tucker, Backgrounds – Art Lozzi, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Direction – John Freeman, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Augie Doggie – Daws Butler; Doggie Daddy – Doug Young; Greech, Martian Ranger, Akba – Don Messick.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-043, Production J-135.
Aired: 1961-62 season.
Plot: Doggie Daddy goes greech hunting on Mars.

In 1957, Evelyn E. Smith wrote a science fiction short story called Once a Greech, about a pink furred, blue tongued creature on another planet. Mike Maltese may have had that in mind when came up with story for this cartoon. More than that, elements of the story are familiar from old Warner Bros. cartoons. The greech’s mock death scene is pure Bugs Bunny (“A Wild Hare” and others), his surprise yelling emulates Bugs screaming at Elmer Fudd “Confidentally, I am a wabbit!!” (“A Wild Hare” again), while the routine of the “dying” greech pulling out a picture of his wife was lifted from a Daffy Duck cartoon of World War Two vintage. And it seems to me Doggie Daddy’s obliviousness of being transported to outer space has a little similarity to the Maltese-penned “Jumpin’ Jupiter,” a Porky Pig-Sylvester short. Maltese also borrowed from his earlier work at Hanna-Barbera; the idea of Augie Doggie communicating with Martian friends came from “Mars Little Precious” two seasons earlier.

There’s an inside gag in this cartoon as well. There’s an H-B pennant on the wall in Augie’s bedroom.



John Boersma receives the animation credit. Is it really him? There’s some really odd animation. There’s one scene where he jerks Daddy’s head and body around during dialogue, like Don Williams drew in that Uncle Batty cartoon in the Pixie and Dixie series. At times, Dear Old Dad goes from having two eyes to one, depending on the position of the head. Sometimes he draws Daddy’s eyes overlapping one another, while other scenes have them separated. Other times, Daddy is cross-eyed. There’s one spot where Augie’s head is down during dialogue so the animator doesn’t need to draw a mouth moving. And he likes to have Daddy’s eyes closed and teeth exposed during laughter.



Here are some of Daddy’s reactions when the greech screeches in his ear.



Ex-Disney type Noel Tucker handled layouts, so he could have designed the incidental characters. Here’s a Martian version of Ranger Smith and a shot of the newly multiplied greech family.



Here are some of Art Lozzi’s backgrounds. It’d be nice to have a drawing of the Martian trees free of characters.



Maltese dialogue:

● When Augie asks where they’re going to spend their vacation, Daddy replies: “Well, we could hunt caribou in Timbuktu, moose in Moosopotamia or even wild pizza in South Pizzarie.” Unfortunately, Daddy has no money (does he even have a job?) so they’re “forced to fish for minnows at Shlump’s Swamp.” Daddy is, as usual, in an armchair, but he’s not reading a newspaper this time.
● Via radio, Akba teaches Augie how get his house to blast off for Mars. As the house rises, Daddy wakes up and asks Augie what’s going on. “You were merely having a flight-mare,” replies the son-my-son.
● We get a Sylvester, Jr.-like “Oh, the shame of it!” from Augie after Daddy shoots at the Martian greech, who goes into a phoney death act. Then a paraphrase of an old song—“Mine own papa is a greech killer!” Daddy’s response: “But, Augie, my boy, boy, I got a huntin’ license.”
● Daddy and Augie rush into the house and it lands back on Earth. “Ah, it’s good to be back on good ol’ terra cotta once more!”
● Augie indulges, once again, in the old “Can they stay, huh, can they, dad?” routine. Daddy doesn’t exactly want to go back to Mars, so he agrees. “Well, after all,” he says to end the cartoon, “how many families have genuine Martian greeches for house guests?”

Miscellaneous notes: Some sources say this was the last Augie Doggie cartoon put into production....Akba has that wavering voice Don Messick used for aliens in a number of Hanna-Barbera series....The greech hops along to a sound effect made with a large rubber band....All of Hoyt Curtin’s cues picked by the sound cutter fit the cartoon nicely.

4 comments:

  1. You mean there's YET ANOTHER H-B pennant in the background.

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

    I always thought that the mischievous greech looks like a "wabbit".
    And we cannot forget that the greech's female mate is named Greta. This detail is mentioned on this Augie Doggie & Doggie Daddy episode.

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  3. Noel Tucker, who made the layouts from this Augie Doggie & Doggie Daddy episode, also made the layouts in some episodes from the Popeye TV series from the 60s, more exactly in the episodes produced and directed by another Disney disciple: Jack Kinney, for King Features Entertainment.

    .

    ReplyDelete
  4. Greech: (yelling) "Greech."

    ReplyDelete