The Quick Draw McGraw Show debuted on September 28, 1959 on the “Kellogg’s network.” Kellogg’s agency, Leo Burnett, placed the half-hour cartoon show on stations across the U.S. willing to air it. But after the Kellogg’s deal expired in 1966, Screen Gems syndicated the show (with animation re-drawn to delete any Kellogg’s references). The distributor took out two-page ads in the trades. Broadcasting magazine ran this on March 28, 1966. Judging by the copyright date, these drawings were used in earliest campaigns.
The Quick Draw show got good reviews when it came out; critics liked the gentle satire on TV westerns, detective shows and klutzy father sitcoms. The Los Angeles Times put Quick Draw on its TV magazine cover a month after he debuted, though the typographer somehow managed to put the wrong year on it.
Hanna-Barbera has been lashed over the years for its limited style of animation but I haven’t heard too many people criticise the studio’s bouncy theme songs (other than you can’t understand some of the lyrics the Randy Horn Singers are chirping out). Quick Draw had a great theme; it was lots of fun when characters in the cartoons broke into it to refer to Our Hero. Quick Draw’s lyrics have echoes of the Bugs Bunny theatrical shorts. It’s not improbable that Yosemite Sam would describe himself as the “high fallutin-est, fastest shootin’-est,” since he used similar rhymes in Bugs’ cartoons.
Here’s a drawing from the opening animation. I don’t know who did the opening animation; I think someone mentioned Ken Muse’s name once (Muse definitely did the Top Cat opening and closing).
Hanna-Barbera and Screen Gems never wasted time marketing their characters. Games, puzzles, Hallowe’en costumes and, of course, comic and colouring books. Here’s a back page of an early Quick Draw colouring book. I post it because it’s neat to see Harvey Eisenberg mentioned. John Carey worked in animation as well, moving from the Iwerks studio to Warners Bros., where he remained for the rest of the 1930s and through the ‘40s.
This may be the oddest piece of Quick Draw merchandise. It was produced by Linemar in 1960. Why would Quick Draw be in a plane?
If I recall correctly, El Kabong was featured in 10 of the 45 Quick Draw cartoons (I’ve posted a storyboard for another which never got made). I found this on the internet. I suspect it’s a piece of recent fan art, judging by the layout. Mike Maltese admitted he loved Douglas Fairbanks’ silent films and was determined to write a swashbuckler into the Quick Draw series.
One of the great things about the Hanna-Barbera half-hour shows was the little cartoons between the cartoons when the characters on the show interacted. But we’ll never see them for the Quick Draw show because we’ll never see the Quick Draw show on DVD. So, we present a storyboard for one of them. I wish I knew the artist because these drawings are very well done.
Look! Hanna-Barbera slippers! I don’t think I’ve seen boot-shaped slippers for kids since the ‘60s. Yogi in a T-shirt?!
Why is Quick Draw such a good character? For one thing, he gets funny lines. “Shucks,” he tells the TV audience after shooting himself yet again at the start of Scary Prairie, “I had the bullet in backwards.”
But the main reason Quick Draw is such a good character is he’s a perfect combination of heroism and incompetence.