Saturday, 4 June 2016

Yakky Doodle – The Most Ghost

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – Allen Wilzbach; Layout – Walt Clinton; Backgrounds – Dick Thomas; Written by Mike Maltese; Story Director – Paul Sommer; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hansen.
Voice Cast: Yakky Doodle – Jimmy Weldon; Chopper – Vance Colvig; Fibber Fox – Daws Butler.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
Copyright 1961 by Hanna-Barbera Productions.
Plot: Fibber Fox pretends to be ghost to scare away Chopper so he can eat Yakky.

I really don’t want to dislike Yakky Doodle cartoons. Especially if Fibber Fox is in them. But, boy, this one is boring.

After a while, if you’ve seen enough cartoons, you know what’s going to happen. In this cartoon, Fibber Fox hides in a ceiling light fixture. Do I need to tell you what happens? No, you’ve seen it before, too.

And Mike Maltese has a huge hole in the story just for the sake of the plot. Fibber Fox douses himself with flour to look like a ghost. Fine. He’s ghostly-white in a bunch of scenes. Suddenly, he’s his old self, wearing his turtleneck sweatshirt. How did that happen? When? Why? Well, the why’s easy to answer. Maltese needed to have Chopper discover the “ghost” is Fibber, so he wrote the story where Chopper would see Fibber shaking flour on himself. But the flour had to disappear for that to happen. Even the great Maltese phones it in once in a while, especially in some of these Yakky cartoons.

In the earliest Hanna-Barbera cartoons, you’d see some good takes from Carlo Vinci, George Nicholas or Don Patterson. Even Lew Marshall mangled Mr. Jinks pretty well in the Huck show’s first season in 1958. But in 1961, things were bland, bland, bland. I can understand that maybe the Tex Avery outrageousness of the ‘40s was passé in the post-UPA era but it’s almost like there was a studio directive not to get very over-the-top. This drawing is a fear take of Chopper.



Even worse, the same animation of Fibber jumping, Chopper posing and Chopper running out of scene is used at least three times in the cartoon. It’s like something out of Filmation. I can picture Lou Scheimer watching this and saying “Lower the bar, Joe and Bill! Lower the bar for us!”

Matching shots? Eh, who needs them? These are consecutive frames.



So are these.



Size matters? Not in this cartoon. You can see above that Yakky changes size in relation to Chopper’s head. A couple of examples.



Al Wilzbach’s the animator in this cartoon. Here are a couple of his exit drawings with multiple eyes.



Walt Clinton handles the layouts in this cartoon. I’m not sure how these things were handled, but I guess he was in charge of colours for the characters. I like how Fibber is outlined in red when he’s a ghost. The smash drawing to the right by Wilzbach may be my favourite in the cartoon.

Dick Thomas gets the background credit. I would have guessed Bob Gentle was responsible as he always seemed to get the assignment whenever an old house had to be drawn. Thomas does a very nice job, especially with the establishing shot. I’m sorry I can’t snip together the interior because the characters get in the way.


Same with a couple of the exteriors below. The colours are very effective.



Fibber calls himself a “friendly ghost” (Chopper even blurts out the standard “G-g-g-g-ghosts!” stutter you hear in countless Casper cartoons). I can’t help but think if the writers at the Jay Ward studio did this cartoon, they’d make a self-aware crack about another friendly ghost and being in the wrong cartoon.

Hoyt Curtin’s music is fairly standard issue. You’ve heard the cues on Wally Gator and other short cartoons about this time. It works well enough.

5 comments:

  1. The screen grabs are great! Almost like they were painted yesterday.

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    1. NO cartoon with Fibber can be all bad!

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  2. There should have been a Casper reference.:D

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    1. Casper reference? A little premature at this time! :)

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    2. Ok, I didn't know an animation insider had made the remark "a little premature". Hardy premature! Casper had already been on the scene...(and I know you weren't beuing serious....:), Ray!)SteveC

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