Picking a favourite character is pretty easy. It’s Quick Draw McGraw.
I’m not a fan of westerns but I enjoy seeing how the Quick Draw series makes fun of western film clichés. Quick Draw himself isn’t an absolute moron and I don’t think his cartoons would have been as fun if he had been. In most cases, he has the right idea of how to go about things but something fails miserably in the execution. Writer Mike Maltese fills up the story with something other than tired chatter. Quick Draw (and virtually every other character) talks to the narrator or the audience. The dialogue features surprising non sequiturs, self-references and corny puns. The series was kept fresh by Quick Draw occasionally assuming the guise of El Kabong, Maltese’s concept of “What if Zorro were inept?” And need I mention the appearances of Snuffles, who carried out the idea of a dog’s enthusiastic love of treats to a ridiculous and somewhat logical conclusion?
The Huckleberry Hound Show was a tough act for Hanna-Barbera to follow. Huck and Yogi were a smash hit and Huck even inspired a fad following in 1958 and 1959. But Hanna-Barbera came up with the idea of parodying TV genres—television was old enough and familiar enough for it to work—and the Quick Draw show won praise from critics and gained a loyal audience. Here’s a story from the Los Angeles Times of November 1, 1959, about five weeks after Quick Draw galloped all the way onto the air.
Quick Draw McGraw Satire Shoots Up WesternsJust how big of a hit was Quick Draw? This story from the May 11, 1960 edition of Weekly Variety has the answer. You can click on the ratings charts to get a better look at some of the specific numbers.
By DON PAGE
Recently, a careful count revealed there are no less than 29 westerns on television at prime time during the week. That’s saturation, ponder.
Correct this erroneous report. There are actually 30!
The statistician who made the survey neglected to include the rip-roaringest, gol-darnedest western of all, a show that stars the fastest gun alive—especially when he’s a horse.
His name is Quick Draw McGraw, a cartoon hero created by those master animators, Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna, who gave you Huckleberry Hound. Quick Draw is on our cover this week.
Each Monday Channel 11 at 7 p.m., lets Quick Draw out of his corral with his friends, who include some of the real pioneers of the Old West.
Quick Draw (a horse, you’ll remember) is possibly the only western hero alive with a burro as a sidekick. His burro, or ponder, goes by the name of Baba Looey and sounds strangely like Desi Arnaz.
The Quick Draw series satirizes the pants off TV’s westerns. And what better way to do it than with a horse as the hero? What could be more fitting? They talk about true-life cowboys with saddlesores, smelling of the open range. Well, Quick Draw has a built-in danger with natural saddlesores.
Quick Draw has a real cast of characters with him—appearing in other segments of Hanna and Barbera’s classic cartoon. There’s the private eye duo of Snooper and Blabber, a cat-and-mouse team. Tomorrow, for example, Snooper and Blabber hunt down Light Fingers Farouk, who is disguised as a dog. Here, too, is wonderful satire.
McGraw is actually designed for adult viewing although the animation pleases the children equally. But the dialogue is delivered with tongue in cheek. Only the big kids understand it fully.
It’s really a break for the adults. Most of ‘em can’t understand the other 29 westerns anyhow.
Kiddie Shows Build Up Unusual Strength in Top 10 Vidpix Survey
Kiddie vidfilm shows are cutting come fancy rating capers, some evidencing a remarkable consistency in market after market.
Checkdown of the ARB-VARIETY charts appearing in this issue, shows "Huckleberry Hound," "Popeye," "Quick Draw McGraw," and "Three Stooges" placing among the top 10 in a multiplicity of markets.
Some of the ratings are imposing. In Seattle-Tacoma, "Huckleberry Hound" copped a 36.6 for its Thursday at 6 p.m. slot on KING. It was number one in the market, followed by "Three Stooges" with a 30.9 on KOMO. In Philadelphia, "Popeye" was the number one syndicated show in the market. The "Popeye" series there is stripped Monday through Saturday from 6 to 6:30 p.m.
Cartoons making the top 10 syndicated chart this week were as follows: "Huckleberry Hound," among the top 10 in Seattle-Tacoma, Washington, Pittsburgh, New-Orleans, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Atlanta, Baltimore.
"Popeye" was among the top 10 in the following cities: Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, New Orleans, Atlanta and Baltimore.
"Quick Draw McGraw," placed among top 10 in following markets: Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Atlanta and Baltimore.
"Three Stooges," a non-cartoon kiddie show, placed among the top 10 in the cities surveyed in the following markets: Seattle-Tacoma, San Francisco and Minneapolis-St. Paul.
There are many five-minute cliff-hanger cartoons which are programmed in a general kiddie show.
Such five-minute strips wouldn't show up in the ARB-Variety charts which measure half-hour programs, or shows of greater duration.