Saturday, August 6, 2016
Yakky Doodle – School Fool
Credits: Animation – Bill Keil, Layout – Walt Clinton, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Director – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Yakky Doodle – Jimmy Weldon; Chopper, Kid – Vance Colvig; Pugsy, Teacher – Daws Butler.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
Copyright 1961 by Hanna-Barbera Productions
Plot: Chopper protects Yakky from a bully in class.
There are two things that we learn from this cartoon: twelve divided by three is 129, and Yakky Doodle cartoons are sure weak without Fibber Fox or some other wisecracking antagonist.
The bad guy in this cartoon is a puppy who can dish it out but can’t take it. Mike Maltese builds up some sympathy for the naïve Yakky who’s picked on by the little canine jerk, but the story isn’t laden with gags or much silliness. Maltese, to reiterate a point I’ve made before, just doesn’t seem inspired by the Yakky series and had, I suspect, much more fun writing for Snagglepuss (eventually, Yakky was given to Tony Benedict).
(As an aside, when did dunce caps become obsolete? Can you imagine the lawsuit if a kid were forced to wear one today?)
This is a rare cartoon in that Vance Colvig gets to do a voice other than Chopper’s. He plays a kid in school who sits behind the bully Pugsy. But wait. The teacher tells Chopper to sit behind Pugsy. Where’d the kid go? He vanishes for the rest of the cartoon.
Interestingly, there isn’t a lot of violence in the cartoon. At the end, when Pugsy challenges Yakky to a fight, Chopper gets involved but doesn’t directly retaliate against the kid. Instead, he uses a slingshot to cause an apple to fall off a tree and onto Pugsy’s head. This lack of direct violence seems to have pretty much become mandated in cartoons by the networks a few years later when they started bending over for do-gooder groups. The only other things that happen are Chopper flicking Pugsy’s head to make him swallow the peas he’s going to shoot at Yakky (not very hurtful) and sitting on a tack (butt violation jokes were pretty standard at Hanna-Barbera). Here’s Bill Keil’s expression on Chopper, who sits on a tack by mistake. He’s doing a good impression of Lucy Ricardo.