Snagglepuss started out life as a world-weary and somewhat show-bizzy antagonist who was clearly smarter than Quick Draw McGraw and the others he took on. It was obvious he was a rounded character that the studio could do more with. But when they gave him his own series, he became a protagonist, so he had to undergo a personality (and colour) modification. He changed from orange to pink and became more enthusiastically theatrical, leaning on the Shakespearean side.
That kind of characterisation was perfect in the hands of Mike Maltese. One of the funniest Bugs Bunny cartoons ever made was Maltese’s Rabbit Hood, where Bugs adopts a Shakespearean vocabularistic style as he easily outsmarts the Sheriff of Nottingham. Besides the natural silliness of streams of Mock Macbeth coming from a pink mountain lion, Maltese added a punny twist. While Warren Foster would settle for more obvious plays on words like “I caught him bare-handed. Yogi Bear-handed, that is,” Maltese would take a pun a bit further. “Forsooth. And five-sooth, even,” Snagglepuss would remark.
In fact, such a remark came in Royal Ruckus, one of 32 cartoons in the Snagglepuss series. Its storyline is similar to Maltese’s Quick Draw McGraw cartoons. Snagglepuss dashes off stage to become a swordsman (he doesn’t change into the wrong costume by mistake; perhaps Maltese didn’t have time for that one in the story) and is so inept, the Queen has to rescue herself. At the beginning, there’s a rhyming narrator and the bad guy talks to the audience, like you’d find in an El Kabong cartoon.
Fun With Dialogue:
● Snagglepuss recites a little poem. “ ‘Cause it’s the day to be happy and gay,” he declares. Today’s audience will read something into it.
● The King shoots Snagglepuss in the butt with an arrow. “Got him on the first shot. Just inches from the heart,” exudes His Majesty.
● “You unmitigated churl!” Snagglepuss yells in response at the King.
● Snagglepuss demands proof he’s the King. “Make me a Duke. Or a Count. The Prince of Wales. Or Porpoises, even.”
● The kidnapped Queen cries for help from a carriage after the King promises her liberator will be “royally rewarded.” “Won’t somebody save me and royally rewarded thereon?” asks the Queen.
● Snagglepuss makes a quick change into a musketeer outfit. “Exit, touché-in’ all the way, stage left!” (Hmm. Remind you of a certain turtle?)
● My favourite line from Snagglepuss, reminiscent of one in a Bugs Bunny cartoon: “Drop that Queen, Jack!”
● Yes, Snagglepuss fits in a “Heavens to Murgatroyd!” and “...and all that jazz.”
● Snagglepuss engages in eager sword play with Count Down. Cut to shots of the Count sitting in a chair then another shot of him drinking tea, ignoring the whole situation.
The animator is Don Patterson. It’s really not one of his better cartoons, but you can’t miss his bit lip and triangular closed eye lids.
Dick Thomas is the background artist. Nice establishing shot to open the cartoon. Thomas’ swirling-line trees and scratchy grass are here, too.
The layout artist is Paul Sommer. He designed the secondary characters.
The voice actors are Daws Butler, Don Messick and Bea Benaderet. It’s probably her first non-Flintstones role for Hanna-Barbera.