Saturday, 3 June 2017

Yakky Doodle in Foxy Proxy

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – Dick Lundy, Layout – Dan Noonan, Backgrounds – Art Lozzi, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Director – Paul Sommer, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Yakky Doodle – Jimmy Weldon, Fibber Fox, Fuzzby, Psychiatrist – Daws Butler.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
Copyright 1961 by Hanna-Barbera Productions.
Plot: Fibber Fox tries to eat Yakky by pretending to be his mommy but starts acting like his real mommy.

How many times did Sylvester try to lure Tweety into a pot or a pan by playing some kind of game? And wasn’t there a Warner Bros. cartoon where a dog was driven nuts by sadistic gophers and started flying like a bird?

Well, these ideas found a home in the Yakky Doodle cartoon Foxy Proxy. Unlike Gopher Broke, this cartoon isn’t creepy. It’s just silly. Fibber Fox tells a psychiatrist at the start of the cartoon that he enjoys being a fox, we have a flashback where the charms (?) of Yakky turn him into a protective mother type, then return to the psychiatrist’s couch where he “has an irresistible urge to fly south for the winter,” starts quacking and flies south, joined by Yakky to end the cartoon.



Writer Mike Maltese added an interference character about two-thirds of the way through, a green fox named Fuzzby who keeps waiting for the now-reluctant Fibber to eat Yakky, grabs the duck, swallows him, then is choked into spitting him out (off-camera) by the “mommy dear” fox. (Warners used this hungry third-character concept, too, with Sam the orange cat in the Tweety cartoons, as well as other animated shorts).

Yakky’s a little more tolerable in this cartoon. His “I’m an orphan. I don’t have a momma” isn’t delivered tearfully or pathetically. And he’s pretty naïve. When he plays “cold snack” with Fibber (similar to the “sandwich” game Sylvester once played with Tweety), Yakky has no clue the fox really wants to eat him. “Oh, you’re the nicest, best-est momma I ever had,” says the duck. “I love you, momma.” Such dialogue could be wretch-inducing, but Jimmy Weldon says it with such sincerity, and Daws Butler puts just the right amount of emotion into Fibber’s response to the audience (“He loves me”) that it comes across well. Daws, of course, was a master at dialogue. Weldon did a fine job, too, though it’s no secret I dislike the Yakky character.



Maltese didn’t supply much witty dialogue; he seemed to save that for Snagglepuss. However, he gave Fibber “You close your eyes and count to bordelaise. I mean, uh, that’s French for ‘100’,” and “I’ve done sneakier things in my day but, somehow, I just can’t remember what they were.” Fibber is, by far, my favourite character in the Yakky cartoons. Maltese also tossed in a standard pepper/sneeze gag.

Dick Lundy’s animation is, sad to say, little more than serviceable. By 1961, even mildly-outrageous takes were out for the most part in cartoons, especially on television.

Art Lozzi, as usually, provides some inspired backgrounds.



And Lozzi seems to like green in this cartoon.



The opening shot of the psychiatric hospital. See the stylised cars.



There’s plenty of medium up-tempo music from Hoyt Curtin’s tracking library (Touché Turtle, Flintstones) to keep the atmosphere of the cartoon happy.

9 comments:

  1. The story cribs a lot from Hanna-Barbera's first MGM cartoon where they handled directing and sole producing duties, "That's My Mommy", where the hook is also that Tom wants to eat the duck-who-thinks-he's-his-mommy, but ends up going off with him at the end (albeit in the nearby pond and not in the air).

    Since this is 1961, we get Curtin's music cues, but it would have been interesting to see what pieces would have been chosen for the psychiatrist scenes if we were still in Capitol HiQ music library time -- the awful choice of stock music is one of the things that made "Gopher Broke" feel so leaden and creepy.

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    1. Thanks for the knowledge, JL. I keep watching these later HB cartoons and thinking "I've seen that somewhere" but can rarely remember where. I've seen so many cartoons I lose track.
      The Spencer Moore cues, in particular, in Gopher Broke, add to the creepiness, along with the Loose-Seely TC-22 Sublime Ghost. I don't think the Capitol music worked very well at Warners, but that's not a topic for this blog.

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    2. Also Hugh Harman or Rudy ising's Mel Blanc starrer "The Hungry Wolf", where a hungry wolf (Blanc) gives up (sort of) his wanting a rabbit to be its mother (the bunny's too cute to eat..!)

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  2. I think Fuzzby was meant to be another fox. All the foxes in the series have names that start with F. The shot of the cave exterior is gorgeous. Love those greens.

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    1. Agreed, GT. Let me fix that. He wouldn't be out of place in an episode of Top Cat, though.

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  3. Hello, YOWP. This is a rather strange question. Do you know of any LGBTQ+ employees (animators, writers, actors, etc.) who worked at Hanna-Barbera? Just wondering.:)

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    1. Well, don't tell anyone, but I hear Where's Huddles?'s Paul Lynde was "that way."
      Regardless, it's not really a topic for this post.

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    2. Well, don't you tell anyone, but I've heard that Princess Paw Paw and Flim-Flam's Susan Blu is also gay. I meant some of the animators, writers, etc. Someone who wasn't as high-profiled as Lynde. I think the topic deserves to be analyzed and mentioned. It is Pride Month after all:)

      ''Where's Huddles?''! Really? Is that the first thing that comes to mind when you think of HB and PL? Not - "I'll get you, Penelope Pitstop! Ta-Dum.

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    3. I don't want to upset Yowp by contributing to your non-post related aside, but I would guess he thought of Where's Huddles? First because Paul Lynde's character seemed to be being played more as a gay stereotype character in that than The Hooded Claw was.Though I never really understood why hating football would be a gay trait, what with all the players slapping eachother on the butts. I mean, I'm not gay and I hate football!

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