Saturday, 2 April 2016

Yakky Doodle – Baddie Buddies

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – Dick Lundy; Layout – Tony Rivera; Backgrounds – Dick Thomas; Written by Tony Benedict; Story Director – Lew Marshall; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Narrator, Desperado, Bank Teller, Engineer – Daws Butler; Yakky Doodle – Jimmy Weldon.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
Copyright 1962 by Hanna-Barbera Productions.
Plot: Yakky Doodle tries to make friends with a bad guy in the Old West.

Yakky: Did I do something wrong?
Desperado: Did you do something wrong? (Laughs). Yeah. You were born.

Yes, Mr. Desperado, I feel the same way.

I don’t want to keep whining about how much I hate Yakky Doodle’s whining. But it really is annoying. This cartoon’s a really good example why.

It starts out with the duck moaning about being tired and lonely and having “no mamma to watch over me.” He tries making a friend of an armed Western bandit who decides to shoot him. But no. The bad guy takes pity on the duck who spouts a last request to his mamma: “Just tell her that I won’t be home for supper. Ever again.”

Wait a minute. Didn’t he just say he didn’t have a mamma? Why does he suddenly have one? I could understand if Yakky were playing some kind of con-artist trick on the bad guy, so beloved by Warners cartoon characters of the 1940s. But he’s not. And several times in the course of the cartoon he goes from morose and tearful to instantly bright and cheery. Of course, if the duck accepted the fact he’s a ruddy pain and nobody wants him, we wouldn’t have any cartoon.

Tony Benedict comes up with four gag sequences for the cartoon as Yakky unwittingly ruins every attempt by the unnamed bad guy to commit a crime, though two are similar. “Mr. Desperado,” as Yakky keeps calling him, tries to rob a bank. He pulls out Yakky from his holster instead of a gun (“Bang! Bang! Bang!” shouts the smiling duck). This gives the bank teller time to shoot at the bandit. The same thing happens when the crook tries to rob a stagecoach. The duck interrupts the proceedings with an apology, giving the people on the stage time to fire their rifles at the bad guy (with a crudely-drawn blast effect).



The other two sequences have the bad guy butted in the butt by a steer he tries to rustle when Yakky jumps on his hat and pushes it over his eyes, and getting clobbered by a locomotive engineer with a shovel after Yakky warns him the bad guy is going to rob the train.



The cartoon ends with the bad guy in jail. Yakky asks if they’ll still be friends when he gets out. The desperado says he’ll be in for 99 years. “You’re lucky, pal, you didn’t get life,” observes the laughing duck as the cartoon irises out.

Dick Lundy, known for his artistry with another duck at Disney some 25 years before this cartoon, is the animator. I really liked his work when he first arrived at Hanna-Barbara; he had some really funny extremes. By 1962, the studio’s cartoons were getting watered down. Lundy seems to have liked big eyes and big pupils in this one. He also draws Yakky doing the palm-up, finger-raised that John Boersma and other animators at the studio used.



Dick Thomas’ backgrounds feature the sketchy grass and mesa shading you’ll find in other cartoons. Tony Rivera did a nice job of designing the steam train.



Here’s part of the background in the opening pan. A narrator opened to put the story in an old west setting and then disappeared, which seems to be the usual procedure for narrators in H-B cartoons after Charlie Shows left the studio in 1959. Hoyt Curtin has a nice woodwind-ish, clip-clop cue to start the cartoon.


The rest of Curtin’s music should be familiar from other 1959-62 short cartoons and The Flintstones. It sets an appropriate mood.

3 comments:

  1. Maybe I’m thinking too hard here, and it really is a script inconsistency, but I always figured that Yakky regarded himself ABANDONED by his mama. Not that his Mama was dead, or there is some other reason for her non-existence, and that he hoped to find her someday.

    So, his last request to “Mr. Desperado” was to continue “The Quest for Mama” and to give her the message that he won’t be able to do, because he was shot.

    That said, for a Yakky cartoon without Fibber or Alfie (who REALLY made the Yakky series for me), this was quite good, with Yakky innocently foiling “Mr. Desperado’s” plans at every turn.

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  2. The mystery to me, Don, is why, if you hate Yakky so much, you continue to review his cartoons. Surely, there are others with characters you actually like that you could be reviewing instead? (Me, I always thought of Yakky/Iddy Biddy Buddy/Little Quacker as a three-year-old child--annoying, but lovable nonetheless--the H-B version of Tweety, in other words. I think that was the intended joke here. Also--little kids loved him--a lot. Never overestimate the power of six-year-old viewers!)

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  3. Hah!Mike, I think you meant UNDERESTIMATE (and I loved him too as a six year old..) I haven't seen this particular one that I recall off but I like some and hate others...the supporting cast is actually the reason why a lot of us, like Yowp, do...especially ALfy and Fibber.

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