The best part of any Snagglepuss cartoon is the declamations made by the pink lion, generally near the start thereof. Witness this soliloquy from “Arrow Error.” It starts with Snagglepuss (supposedly) reading from Robin Hood, then acting out the part of Robin shooting arrows. It’s Mike Maltese at his best. Phoney Shakespearean English, puns, silliness and borrowing a catchphrase that was pretty well-known in 1961.
“What ho, Sheriff of Nottingham. ‘Tis I, Robin Hood. He, who robbeth from the richeth, and giveth to the pooreth. Hand over the gold. And the charger plates. Or thou shalt feel my sturdy bow and arrow, even.”
Ah, if Robin Hood were but alive today. To help the poor woodland creatures from the hunter’s gun. To assist ‘em, even. Whyyy not!
With bow and arrow. Toing! He’d rescue the frightened katydid. Or is it katy-didn’t? No matter. The forest will re-vertebate with the sound of his toinging arrows. Toing, toing, toing! And again. Toing! The hunter will be put to rout. Scram, even. And the cheery chipmunk could one-st again chip amongst us. Unfrayed. Et cetera, et cetera.
“Whyyy not!” was the exclamation by Dayton Allen during character sketches on The Steve Allen Show (as an aside, Allen was a cartoon voice actor himself, playing Heckle and Jeckle and numerous other characters at the Terrytoons studio from the ‘30s into the ‘50s).
(A side-note: Hanna-Barbera had a character in development named Toing Tiger. One wonders if Maltese was responsible).
So Snagglepuss decides to be Robin Hood, don a green felt hat and a quiver of arrows, and help the less fortunate. Naturally he comes up on the losing end. First he tries to save some ducks from a hunter (“Come back, little ducks! Returneth thou hence. Thou art safe now. Robin Hood sayeth so”). The ducks think he’s a hunter, steal his bow and arrows and attack him with them. Then he unexpectedly crashes into an elephant in a tree and decides to ensure the pachyderm (Wadsworth, by name) isn’t forced at gunpoint to return to the zoo. The enthusiastic, hero-worshipping elephant is reminiscent of Maltese’s Quick Draw McGraw cartoon “Elephant Boy Oh Boy.” In the end, the huge beast crushes Snagglepuss, who asks for asylum in said zoo.
Other than the dialogue, there’s nothing really outstanding in the cartoon. Art Lozzi was responsible for the backgrounds; the blue tree trunks give it away. There’s a pan over a background to open the cartoon.
Another from later in the cartoon.
Walt Clinton handled the layouts and incidental character designs. As John Kricfalusi reminds you, look for the low ear. That means it’s more than likely a Clinton layout. The elephant is attractively designed, too.
The animation is by veteran Hicks Lokey. He gives Snagglepuss an odd chin design in one profile shot.
Let’s give you another endless cycle. Here are the ducks (one is named Charlie) running away with Snagglepuss’ bow and arrows. There are three drawings of wings shot on twos, meaning the cycle takes six frames (nothing else is animated). Story director Art Davis has timed the cycle so the ducks need 12 frames to pass the same trees in the background. This is a little slower than the animation in the cartoon.
Other Snagglepuss dialogue nuggets:
● “The Audu-Bon-Bon Society shall hear of this, forthwith and to wit!” (after the ducks snatch the bow and arrows).
● There’s a “Heavens To Murgatroyd,” “Heavens to peanuts,” “Heavens to submarines” and “Heavens to mashed potaters!” (just before the elephant lands on him).
● “Exit, merrie as ever, stage left!” “Exit, forsooth, stage left!” “Exit, fractures and all, stage left!” “Exit, upside-downee, stage right.”
● “Hark! ‘Tis the voice of a lark in yon bark!” (after hearing a cry for help in a tree).
Daws Butler, Don Messick and Doug Young all provide voices in this cartoon with familiar themes from Hoyt Curtin.