Saturday 15 August 2009

Quick Draw McGraw — Double Barrel Double

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – Ken Muse; Layout – Dick Bickenbach; Backgrounds – Bob Gentle; Story – Mike Maltese; Story Sketches – Dan Gordon; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Cast: Quick Draw, Baba Looey – Daws Butler, Narrator, Sheriff, Horseface Harry – Doug Young.
Released: October 31, 1959.
Plot: Baba Louie tells a narrator the story of how Quick Draw met up with look-alike bad guy Horseface Harry and brought him to justice.

Childhood memories are made of Quick Draw McGraw, say the sages, at least those inspired by TV cartoons. And who can’t forget the sight of Quick Draw being so stupid, he mixes up when he’s shooting and when he’s blowing the smoke from his gun? It was my favourite H-B cartoon joke when I was a kid. I still laugh at it.

The gag—which Mike Maltese uses at the start and end of the cartoon—is not only awash in memories, it is thoroughly appropriate, considering the whole cartoon is about mix-ups, visual and verbal. The premise is there’s a bad guy who looks just like Quick Draw and confusion reigns over who is who.

Maltese wrote all the cartoons on the Quick Draw show in 1959, Snooper and Augie included. They all have pretty much the same structure. They open with an establishing pan shot, drop catch-phrases throughout, and end with a character making an observation to the audience about the action they’ve just witnessed. And if Maltese can elicit echoes of some successful bits he used on Warners cartoons, all the better. This cartoon follows the Maltese formula.

A money-saving left-to-right pan over a background starts us off, while a narrator sets up the cartoon with language reminiscent of a big screen Western. Doug Young gives us a serious, low-key read.

Narrator: Even as the avenging eagle must return to his nest for rest, so, too, must the lawman, at times, relax his vigil.

The shot cuts to Quick Draw at his ranch putting up tin cans on a fence for some target practice, resulting in the aforementioned gun-blast in the face.

This is another Maltese work where the narrator turns into an interviewer (behaving more like Ed Murrow on Person to Person, which was popular on TV at the time) and starts asking questions of the characters on screen. The narrator asks Baba “As Quick Draw’s partner, could you tell us which western bad man gave him the most trouble?” And that brings us into our story.

“They” send Quick Draw and Baba Louie to catch Horseface Harry. Our hero spots a wanted poster of him.

Quick Draw: Look at the crin-i-mal face.That low brow! Those shifty eyes! That weak chin!
Baba: I thin’ he looks like you, Quickstraw.
Quick Draw: Look at that kind face. That nob-ell brow! That strong chin.

And—catchphrase one—Quick Draw reminds us he’ll do the thinnin’ around here. Unfortunately, the sheriff shows up. Quick Draw takes offence at begin called a “stranger” and hautily (but stupidly) remarks “Everybody knows who I am, sheriff!” Since he’s standing next to the ‘Wanted’ poster, the sheriff naturally thinks he’s Horseface Harry and pulls out a gun. Quick Draw and Baba run out of town and hide in a cabin (which we see in a stationary shot for almost five seconds)—the cabin of Horseface Harry.

Baba Looey peers out the window and invokes the spirit of Ricky Ricardo swearing at Lucy in Spanish as he spews an endless stream of what’s supposed to be Spanish (the only understandable word amongst the gibberish is ‘enchilada’) which is repeated by Quick Draw with some quick mouth and tongue movements that must have been fun for Ken Muse to try. That’s when Harry, gun drawn, makes his entrance. Maltese treats us to western-style cliché dialogue:

Quick Draw: I’m A-rresting you, Horseface. What do you say to that?
Harry: And I’m-a going to shoot you full of holes. What do you say to that?
Quick Draw: Oh, I’ll think of something. Don’t rush me.

Horseface starts firing and Quick Draw and Baba make a run for it (past the same window in the background 14 times). Quick Draw hides in a barrel, but peers out the top and remarks “I don’t see that stupid Horseface no place.” Of course, Horseface is standing next to him and, of course, there’s a knothole in the barrel, and you can guess what happens next. Maltese fits in catchphrase two—“Oooh. That smarts.”

Our heroes hide behind a couple of cactuses and Baba Looey comes up with a plan—Quick Draw will tell Horseface they’re each other and when Horseface turns him in to the sheriff, he’ll reveal who the real Quick Draw is. Maltese now tosses in his Warners inspiration, dating back to when he and Tedd Pierce wrote Duck Soup to Nuts (1944) and Daffy tried to convince Porky he was an eagle through word-play that got reversed:

Horseface: I’m Horseface Harry.
Quick Draw: Quick Draw McGraw.
Horseface: I’m Horseface.
Quick Draw: Quick Draw.
Horseface: Horseface.
Quick Draw: Quick Draw.
Horseface: Horseface.
Quick Draw: For the last time, I’m Quick Draw McGraw, and [catchphrase three] dooooon’t you forget it!

Harry asks him to prove it, and we get a reprise of the gun-fire/smoke-blowing mix-up earlier in the cartoon.

The next little scene has its inspiration from theatrical cartoons, such as Canary Row when Tweety rolled a bowling ball down a drainpipe at Sylvester on the other end. Horseface is outside one end of the cabin, Quick Draw is at the other. He shoots into the drainpipe, and the bullet comes out the other end into Horseface’s butt. This is a really clever sequence. Muse draws a little kick-back on the gun after Quick Draw fires it, just like a real gun. The sound-cutter (Greg Watson?) has a nice collection of metallic clattering sounds as the bullet travels along, with appropriate bangs at it turns corners.

The cartoon now borrows from a cartoon that borrows from live action as Quick Draw skids into the cabin and behind a dresser. Horseface does the same and stares into the dresser’s frame, wondering whether Quick Draw’s visage is his. The mirror bit was done by Bugs and Elmer in Hare Tonic (1945) but it’s a classic routine of film comedy from the Marx Brothers’ Duck Soup (1932). There’s great timing here as the bit ends with Harry suddenly producing a cigar while Quick Draw lights it. The gag works well because it’s unexpected.

Harry pulls a gun. “Got you, you sickening, western good guy!” But then Baba Looey pops out of a dresser drawer and gets the drop on the “sick, sick, sick western bad guy.” And that’s the story of how Quick Draw caught Horseface Harry, as Baba tells the narrator.

Quick Draw ends the cartoon with the gun-fire/smoke-blowing mix-up earlier in the cartoon (after telling the audience he “only goofts once” then doing it anyway) and Baba anti-climactically remarking “I like that Quickstraw. He’s crazy. Don’t you thin’ so?”

Horseface Harry made return engagements in Kabong Kabong’s Kabong (March 12, 1960) and Two Too Much (Sept. 24, 1960)

Phil Green and Jack Shaindlin dominate the music track. Green wrote a main version of some of the cues in the Comedy Cartoon series of EMI Photoplay discs along with two or three short bridge versions. Thus we get the second bridge version instead of a snippet of the full Custard Pie Capers at the end.

Victor Lamont did a number of piano-roll-style solo pieces for the Sam Fox library that were picked up by Capitol Hi-Q and one of them is here. Winter Tales (aka Hearts and Flowers) was another and used in other H-B cartoons.

There is no credit title card on the version of the cartoon I have (sorry for the muddy screen caps) so the cue timing reflects this.

0:00 - Quick Draw sub main title theme (Hanna-Barbera-Curtin).
0:15 - ZR-39A WESTERN SONG (Hormel) – Quick Draw practices his quick draw.
1:06 - TC-205 LIGHT MOVEMENT (Loose-Seely) – Baba talks to narrator.
1:35 - GR-74 POPCORN (Green) – Quick Draw and Baba walk to Wanted poster.
1:48 - GR-99 THE DIDDLECOMB HUNT (Green) – Quick Draw looks at poster.
2:27 - related to 'Excitement Under Dialogue' (Shaindlin) – Sheriff shoots at Quick Draw.
2:42 - ROMANTIC JAUNT (Bluestone-Cadkin) – Quick Draw and Baba hide in cabin; Horseface shows up.
3:45 - fast chase music (Shaindlin?) – Quick Draw and Baba run from bullets.
3:59 - COMEDY SUSPENSE (Shaindlin) – Quick Draw shot in barrel.
4:13 - GR-472 HICKSVILLE (Green) – Baba tells Quick Draw to confuse Harry; dialogue mix-up.
5:42 - COMEDY SUSPENSE (Shaindlin) – Quick Draw shoot Harry through drainpipe; mirror bit.
6:33 - SF-? HOME ON THE RANGE (arr. Vic Lamont) – Quick Draw shoots himself.
7:01 - GR-79 CUSTARD PIE CAPERS SHORT BRIDGE #2 (Green) – Baba remarks “He’s crazy.”
7:09 - Quick Draw sub end title theme (Curtin).


  1. It seems that the layout from this episode was done by Dick Bickenbach.

  2. Dodsworth,

    This word-play between Quick Draw and Horseface Harry reminds very much the word-play between Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, at the moment that Elmer Fudd was pointing his rifle in one of them:

    Daffy (with that whole antipathy): "It's the rabbit hunting season!"
    Bugs (with that whole cynism, turning the rifle to Daffy): "Duck hunting season!"
    Daffy (turning the rifle to Bugs): "Rabbit!"
    Bugs: "Duck!"
    Daffy: "Rabbit!"
    Bugs: "Duck!"
    (Elmer shoots on Daffy, letting him with his beak turned, and then, he fixes his beak)
    Daffy: "You're depictable!"

    There's always the Michael Maltese's finger on these gags...

  3. Congratulaitons for identifying the open music, another Hormel piece.

  4. "Hold on Thar,Babba- Louie, I'll do the thinin around here!"