Saturday, September 13, 2014

Quick Draw McGraw — Mine Your Manners

Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
Credits: Animation – Bob Bentley, Dick Lundy (uncredited); Layout – Tony Rivera; Backgrounds – Art Lozzi; Written by Mike Maltese; Story Director – John Freeman; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Quick Draw McGraw, Baba Looey, Snuffles, Jack Pott – Daws Butler; Narrator, skunk, miner, store owner – Don Messick.
First Aired: 1961-62 season.
Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-043, Production J-130.
Plot: Quick Draw employs Snuffles to get a skunk out of a mine.

This cartoon appears to have served two purposes. One was to make people laugh. The other was to kiss up to Kellogg’s and its ad agency, Leo Burnett.

Kellogg’s, of course, sponsored “The Quick Draw Show” in its original run in syndication (in the U.S.) and Kellogg’s cereals were plugged in the opening and closing credits, and between the cartoons. Kellogg’s was also the maker of Gro-Pup T-Bone dog biscuits. Is it any coincidence that Quick Draw’s bloodhound Snuffles went into ecstasy over dog biscuits? And of a certain kind with the box featured in the cartoons themselves?

No doubt Kellogg’s was happy to see the free plugs in this cartoon. Quick Draw holds the box in several scenes, and then Baba Looey has to buy a box from a nearby store after the supply runs out.



There are at least two animators on this cartoon. In an earlier post, we went into how the Snuffles ecstasy animation was reused in later cartoons. It originated in “Ali Baba Looey,” a second season cartoon animated by Dick Lundy. The exact same drawings were used in “Dynamite Fright” the following season (the credited animator was Hicks Lokey). In this cartoon, the drawings aren’t reinked exactly the same way but they’re obviously from the same artwork and the same timing is used as in the other two cartoons. Here’s an example. On the left is a frame from this cartoon and on the right is one from “Dynamite Fright.” You’ll see the line under the eyeball isn’t identical, the neck lumps go back to a different place on the collar, the body isn’t positioned at the same angle, among other things. But they must have originated with Lundy’s work, so Lundy should get a credit in my view.



Let’s check out Art Lozzi’s desert background. You can see where the background repeats. The mine is on an overlay.



The whole plot centres around Cartoon Law No. 1256H—namely, “Skunks in cartoons must smell all the time.” Naturally, we all know that skunks only spray when they’re in danger. Otherwise, they waddle around on their merry way, stopping to sniff things. The skunk in this cartoon smiles most of the time and seems quite self-satisfied about being a skunk.

Let’s take you through the story, which begins with Don Messick’s narrator explaining how poor Jack Pott became rich by striking gold which falls on top of him. The gag is the stars he sees after being knocked on the noggin by nuggets turn into dollar signs.



Fast forward many years to when Jack Pott is a rich man—but suddenly thwarted when the skunk trots into his mine and the smell makes everyone run for their lives “and some fresh air.”


Narrator: So, old Jack Pott sent for none other than that famous lawman...er, uh, uhh, ohh, what’s his name? Um...
Quick Draw (displeased): This is terrible embarrassin’.

The rest of the cartoon goes pretty much as you might expect. Pott promises to make Quick Draw a rich man if he gets rid of the skunk. That’s when Snuffles enters the picture. Snuffles gets one biscuit, then two, but can’t handle the skunk smell and demands a third biscuit to perform his job. Quick Draw promises to pay later (Snuffles mutters about Quick Draw being a cheapskate and a welsher) and when it turns out the biscuit box is empty, Snuffles puts the skunk back in the mine. Quick Draw dons a clothespin on his nose and decides to do the job himself. Snuffles is a jerk here. His extremely long arm reaches into the mine grabs the clothespin, and then he rolls the entrance shut and traps Quick Draw (holding his breath) with the smelly skunk. Baba runs to the store, gets another box of biscuits (“it’s a matter of life and breath,” says Baba to the storekeeper). Snuffles lets the blue-in-the-face Quick Draw out of the mine.



Ah, but Snuffles is forgiven for his actions (after all, Quick Draw’s rich because of him), and the cartoon ends with the skunk in a sack being given a dog biscuit and going into Snuffles-like rapture (complete with moaning and floating from mid-air). Baba ends the cartoon: “I like that Quickstraw. He’s got a soft heart—and a head to match.”

Hoyt Curtin wrote some nice little western cues; a jaunty clip-clop with muted trumpet opens the cartoon. There’s a nice medium, lilting cue when Quick Draw McGraw arrives, but it should have been cut when Baba started singing the Quick Draw theme. One of the Top Cat “hurry-in-the-city” cues is used when Baba rushes to and from the store to buy some dog biscuits. The selections are all pretty good. A bassoon laughing cue when Quick Draw’s regaining his breath wasn’t used too often, if I recall. Some Lippy/Wally/Touché cues surface as well, include one every time Snuffles runs into the mine (also heard on the “The Flinstones.”)

Quick Draw says “Hold on thar!” but we don’t get an “I’ll do the thinnin’ around here” or “Oooh! That smarts!” in this cartoon.

This is one of three Quick Draws to have “Hanna-Barbera” on the title card and the only one with script calligraphy.

3 comments:

  1. This cartoon was animated by Robert Bentley. One of the WB 1960s Saturday AM collections includes it with full credits. Those familiar with Bentley's animation (flat facial features, large eyes) on various Snagglepuss, Yakky, and later Yogi cartoons will recognize it. Of course, this doesn't include Lundy's stock footage of Snuffles in ecstasy.

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  2. This cartoon marks the last appearance of Snuffles in a Quick Draw McGraw cartoon. "Tail Wag Snag," a Snagglepuss cartoon, marked his official last appearance. In the scene where Quick Draw is heading in to retrieve the skunk in the mine, Snuffles sounded like Yogi Bear when he was singing to himself. Jack Pott's line: "I'm Rich, I'm Rich. I also got me a splittin' headache" is a really funny line.

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  3. One of Robert Bentley's earlier cartoons was Frank Tashlin's 1938 Warner Bros.Porky Pig and his Momma cartoon "Wholly Smoke" (where he's credited as "Robt.Bentley" to writer George Manuell's "Geo.Manuell). I've personally always liked the calliography logo,wishing that it was always the logo--it even turned up on a tie in blue coloring book for the 1973 HB-Paramount feature "Charlotte's Web" with young pig owner Fern Arable and the star piggie Wilbur featured underneath the calliography HB logo on the blue background.

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