Saturday, March 19, 2016
Snagglepuss – Footlight Fright
Credits: Animation – Bob Bentley; Layout – Walt Clinton; Backgrounds – Fernando Montealegre; Written by Mike Maltese; Story Director – John Freeman; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervison – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Adventurers Club Head, Snagglepuss – Daws Butler; Major Minor – Don Messick.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
Camera: Norm Stainback.
Filmed: January 5, 1962.
Copyright 1962 by Hanna-Barbera Productions
Plot: Major Minor pretends to run a travelling road show to capture ham actor Snagglepuss.
The best Snagglepuss cartoons were filled with plots taking ridiculous but logical turns and clever plays on words. The average ones had enough catchphrases and silly lines so they weren’t a total loss. Footlight Fright is one of the latter. There’s nothing uproariously funny, but if you like Snagglepuss, you’ll smile through this one.
The plot carries on with Major Minor pretending to be a road show impresario (“lured by the fragrance of greasepaint, the sound of applause and all that show biz jazz”) to capture Snagglepuss. The cat falls for the bait and auditions on a mobile stage. Maltese evokes Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet with Snagglepuss’ monologue: “Ere the mockin’bird is mockin’ and long before the dawn hath gone, I’ll be waitin’ ‘neath the balcony with knees a-knockin’. Just call me Snag ‘cause my name ain’t John. Ta ta! Curtain!” The stage turns out to be a cage. (“Heavens to Claustrophobia! I’ve been iron curtained,” he tells us when the metal bars clang down).
Snagglepuss tries to bluff his way out by pretending to be a motorcycle cop but the Major catches on (Major: “Acting? Is that what that was?” Snagglepuss: “Oh, that I should suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous critics.”). The Major is welcomed back into the Adventurers Club and is set to blast Snagglepuss with his rifle (“fortunes of the hunt and all that jolly rot”) but Snagglepuss cleverly makes a last request—a performance on stage in front of the Club members. Incidentally, Bentley isn’t big on matching shots from scene to scene. Here are consecutive frames.
I must admit I’m puzzled by Snagglepuss’ final performance. The lines go:
It isn’t that I love Caesar less, but that I love Rome more.
Alice Rome, that is.
Who is Alice Rome? Is this just an arbitrary gag or was there someone (or a movie/TV/book character) with that name when this cartoon was made?
Hoyt Curtin’s cues from Loopy de Loop work their way into the score, and the last sequence uses a nice medium-slow accordion version of the Snagglepuss theme.