Saturday 28 November 2009

Yogi Bear—The Brave Little Brave

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – Ken Muse, Mike Lah (uncredited); Layout – Dick Bickenbach; Backgrounds – Fernando Montealegre; Dialogue and Story Sketches – Charlie Shows and Dan Gordon; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Yogi, Bunny, Yawning Lion – Daws Butler.
Production E-20, Huckleberry Hound Show K-010.
First aired: week of December 1, 1958.
Plot: Yogi tries to keep a little Indian boy hunter from getting hurt.

If I asked you to name the cartoon character who calls out to woodland creatures to save a little boy from almost certain death, Casper the Friendly Ghost might come to mind. I’m sure you wouldn’t think of Yogi Bear. But that’s exactly what happens in this cartoon.

Everyone’s so used to Yogi being the happy-go-lucky rhyming schemer matching wits with Ranger Smith, they don’t realise there was a time when Yogi’s cartoons weren’t variations on the same formula (which could aptly describe Bill and Joe’s product at MGM as well). It really took a full season and a change in writers from Charlie Shows to Warren Foster to make that happen. But since Charlie started with a brand-new character, he and Joe Barbera tried him out in different situations, including several as a benevolent bruin protecting a child from harm. This is cartoon is probably the most unusual of the lot for, unlike Daffy Daddy, Barbera and Shows are going more for charm than laughs. The story builds really nicely in this one and though some of the bits in the beginning and middle are a little worn, the climax is pretty good and the ending’s kind of cute and a little surprising.

This cartoon is really helped by a couple of things. Dick Bickenbach was called on to design a pile of ultra-cute characters (somehow, I can hear Ed Benedict growling if he had been asked to do it). Having all characters except Yogi silent (until the end) enhances the plot. And (what I think is) the Capitol Hi-Q library is used to good effect. It’s strictly a mood music library, so the sound cutter set a mood by picking “Indian” cues instead of using the usual Seely-Loose material. My only quibble is I think ‘TC-219A Chase-Medium’ would have worked better in the climax scene but perhaps it didn’t mesh well with the low-key Native American beds. (TC-219A is heard in the opening of Foxy Hound-Dog when Yowp, in a sterling performance, is chasing the foxlet).

One of the ultra-cute characters is running left-to-right as the cartoon opens. It’s a rabbit who has a little jump (with accompanying sound effect) interrupting his run cycle, probably to break up the monotony a bit. As he runs off camera, our title character determinedly plods on (in a four-drawing cycle on twos) with his bow-and-arrow aimed for the bunny. Yogi is leaning against a tree and is an interested bystander at first.

First, the little boy can’t fire the arrow. He tries again and the bow thwacks him in the face. Then he gets the bow and arrow accidentally turned around and it gets Yogi in (where else in a Charlie Shows script?) the butt. We don’t see it happen. We hear the sound effect and see Yogi’s reaction. In an animation-saving device, pain is simulated by photographing one cell, sliding the cell up, photographing it again, moving it down again and so on. It’s a little faster on the cartoon than what you see below; I slowed down the simulation to let you see the drawings better.

So the bear gets involved in the plot. To the right you see one of the most glaring examples of mismatched colours in a H-B cartoon. You can tell which part of Yogi is the moving part. Anyway, the bear tells the kid to go home but he doesn’t listen and chases a skunk with a bow and arrow instead. Yogi rushes off camera to get him; Muse seemed to like ‘wheeled-feet-and-multiples’ exits as opposed to the stretch-diving ones of Carlo Vinci. Alas, Yogi’s rescue was too late.

Yogi again tells the kid to go home and keeps his bow and arrow. But the kid whips out another one from somewhere in his pants and stalks a woodpecker, who benignly takes care of it. The silent Indian boy is ready with yet another one and Muse re-uses the ‘can’t fire/face-thwack/backwards shoot/Yogi with arrow in ass’ animation. Oh, and he re-uses the wheeled feet exit as the bear spots “Hiawatha” aiming for the innards of an orange mountain lion. But then we get a nice bit of swoop animation for the rescue.

A butterfly is the boy’s next prey and Yogi stops him from going off a cliff (Muse reuses animation of putting a paw on his head and turning him around), but then the cliff gives way and Yogi zooms to the bottom as his hat serenely floats down after him.

Next comes Mike Lah’s animation; you can tell because Yogi’s drawn with staring google eyes and his mouth moving around the side of his face. Oh, and the Indian boy has suddenly gained weight because he’s developed cheeks.

“Paleface Yogi” paints a target a tree and tells the boy “wherever you see a bull’s eye, feel free to fire at will.” But, by this point, Yogi’s backed into the wet paint, which leaves a target on his rear so we know what’s coming.

The boy pulls out another arrow, and Yogi dashes behind a tree. But the arrow ricochets twice off a cliff and heads straight down a hole in the tree where a branch used to be. Yogi knows what’s next. The arrow comes out a hole in the tree right by his butt.

Ken Muse is back for the climax scene. The native boy hears a fish splashing and gleefully runs to the river to shoot at it. The spitting sockeye takes care of himself. Unfortunately, the boy is not standing on a rock in the river. He’s supported by a turtle, who responds by sinking under water, taking the boy with him.

Watching all this is the little rabbit from the beginning of the cartoon, who runs to the sleeping Yogi and, using squeaks and gestures, indicates to the bear the boy can’t swim and is in danger. They high-tail it (with three seconds of cycle animation) to where the river becomes a waterfall then spot the boy. Like in a Tarzan movie, Yogi shouts to summon the forest creatures to help. The mountain lion and skunk from earlier in the cartoon answer the call.

Yogi is now above the falls, supported by all the animals, hanging onto the tree over the river in an imaginative layout (which could also have come from Dan Gordon’s story sketches). As the boy goes over the falls, Yogi plucks him to safety.

The animals to bid farewell to the lad, as Yogi finally convinces him to put down the bow and arrow. “I don’t have to worry about that bow and arrow any more,” remarks Yogi. But then we hear a familiar sound and see more re-used pain animation. “Gee, I didn’t know the thing was loaded. Honest,” says the rabbit in a little Daws Butler voice. He’s the first character in the cartoon besides Yogi to speak. Wait a minute! If he can talk, why did he use pantomime to warn the boy was about to go over the falls? And how was Yogi able to hold the kid aloft by a feather on a headband? For that matter, where did a stereotypical native boy come from anyway? Oh, well. We’ll overlook it this time, Charlie.

The boy was known as “Lil’ Tom Tom” when used in marketing; he’s found in Whitman’s “Huckleberry Hound/Yogi Bear Giant Playbook” among other places so, presumably, that’s what he was called on the model sheet. But Yogi doesn’t call him that in the cartoon. We get “Wampum,” “Hiawatha” and Yogi’s standard “Little Bitty Buddy.”

The cue sheet for this cartoon is a bit of a conundrum. After 24 seconds of the Yogi Bear theme over the titles, the sheet says eight seconds of “5-TC-21” was used. The Capitol Hi-Q library has “6-TC-21 Nostaglic Ghost” and I don’t hear it in this cartoon.

Next, it says “11-ZR-K7C” is behind four minutes and eight seconds of the action. This is a Geordie Hormel cue, but Hi-Q never had the second half of its alpha-numerics start with a letter. Quite a bit of Hormel’s music isn’t available for listening.

The final cue is by Spencer Moore and labelled “Q-743.” Hi-Q doesn’t use this numbering system but I’ve seen “Q-” on Moore cues on other sheets. It is heard for two minutes and 14 seconds, and starts at 4:43 when Tom-Tom is walking quickly and hears a fish splash through to the end of the cartoon. It is almost the same as a Moore cue on reel M-13 called “L-744 Melodic Western Underscore.” It has the same two drumbeat rhythm, and the same orchestration in the same key. But the melody appears to be slightly different. The cartoon ends with the Yogi title theme for six seconds.

Sunday 22 November 2009

The Augie Sounds of Cadkin and Bluestone

NOTE: The music in this post is not public domain. One can find the same audition-quality versions on the rights-holder’s web site. Yowp.

Mike Maltese summed up a career in the commercial world of arts and entertainment through the beak of Daffy Duck. As Daffy demeans himself for cash by accepting a continual stream of pies in the face, he turns to the audience, shrugs and remarks with resignation: “It’s a living,” before returning to his emasculated lot in life.

Daffy in Daffy Dilly is a metaphor for the many talented artists who spent their lives up and down the ladder of success, sometimes having no option but to accept a spot on the lower rungs through circumstance because it paid the bills. The H-B studio was full of them. But so were/are other parts of the show business world. Thus you have journeymen in the world of music who travel from fronting orchestras and arranging for legends like Frank Sinatra to writing background music for child safety films and soft porn (Bill Loose).

Two musical talents who journeyed hither and yon with an unknowing whistlestop in the sound room at 1416 North LaBrea at Sunset (home of The Quick Draw McGraw Show) were Harry Bluestone and Emil Cadkin. There isn’t a lot of biographical information about either of them on the net, so I’m going to cobble together some snippets and then talk about their music that you can hear on Augie Doggie cartoons.

Harry B. Bluestone
Harry was born Harold B. Blostein in England on September 30, 1907 and apparently came to New York as a boy. He took up the violin at a young age, and the liner notes on his Artistry in Jazz album reveal “he performed the Bruch G-Minor Violin Concerto to critical acclaim when only 7 years old.” As a teenager, he travelled to Paris with a small jazz group to back up expatriate singer Josephine Baker.
Harry graduated from the Institute of Musical Art (later renamed Juilliard), and freelanced on numerous radio programmes in the 1930s with the Dorsey Brothers, Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw. He played with Bix Beiderbeck, Bunny Berigan and Red Nichols (who had in his employ a future cartoon sound genius named Treg Brown).
Harry moved to Hollywood in 1935 with the Lennie Hayton orchestra, which had been known as the Ipana Troubadors on Fred Allen’s Show in New York, when it became the first orchestra on Your Hit Parade (eventually replaced in 1939 by the legendary Raymond Scott). Bluestone had his own 15-minute radio show, recorded for Brunswick and was hired by Paramount Studios as its concertmaster.
He enlisted in the Air Force in 1942, rose to the rank of Master Sergeant and organised both the Army Air Force Orchestra and the Army Air Force Training Command Orchestra that replaced Glenn Miller, who went overseas to his eventual death.
After the war, Harry set up his own orchestra which backed Jo Stafford and Dinah Shore. He also got a first taste of the music library business as production manager for Standard Transcriptions. Among his discoveries while recording in France (to get around Jimmy Petrillo’s union) was singer Robert Clary, who later co-starred on Hogan’s Heroes.
Harry spent the rest of his life setting up various music publishing houses, writing and getting out his violin or his baton to work on albums by the Beach Boys, Peggy Lee and the Beatles (on Sgt. Pepper’s). He also wrote books in the ’80s on playing violin, guitar and trumpet.
He retired in 1987 and died in Studio City, California on December 23, 1992.

Emil M. Cadkin
Emil is still with us, with his son running his music production house. He was born in 1920 in Cleveland to parents who had emigrated from Russia, spent two years in college and was in Los Angeles writing and teaching music by the time he enlisted in the Air Force in 1942. His song I Have Everything I Want But You was copyrighted in 1938. After being discharged, he scored films like “The Big Fix” for bottom-of-the-barrel studio PRC.
Emil was an associate editor of ASCAP’s ‘The Score’ when it was created in 1948, and got a job in 1958 as musical director at Ritco Productions, a low-budget company that churned out westerns starring Forrest Tucker. He graduated to become musical director and arranger for Columbia Pictures and Screen Gems. He also got into the business of supplying taped music programming for radio stations, as Billboard of May 23, 1970 reveals he had been appointed music director of popular products (as opposed to classical) for American Tape Duplicators.
But he spent a decade writing music along with Bill Loose, which ended up in various libraries, including Capitol Hi-Q. Billboard of December 23, 1967 reveals:

Emil Asher Inc. has acquired distribution rights to the music library of composers William Loose and Emil Cadkin ... formerly contracted to Capitol Records ... The deal gives Asher the rights to distribute three libraries produced by Loose and Cadkin: Public Music Service (PMS), OK and PM.

The OK library featured music by Loose, Cadkin and Jack Cookerly; Loose and Cadkin are also credited on the EMI Photoplay series with co-writing melodies in the 1960s with Phil Green, whose cues also appeared on H-B cartoons. Unfortunately, the Cadkin-Loose partnership that began in 1959 resulted in litigation between the two sides years later, with Cadkin claiming Loose’s widow, her late husband’s trust and their publisher had removed Cadkin’s name as the writer or co-writer of 5,000-plus pieces of music. Cadkin also launched a separate case against Bluestone’s widow Leora and several others. Anyone interested in the legalities of all this can do an on-line search of court rulings, as we’re here to talk about the cues on Augie Doggie. So leave us to do some Snooper and Blabber-type detective work.

Bluestone and Cadkin may have met while serving together in the Air Force, but we do know the two were writing songs together as early as 1944. In 1954, the two formed the C and B Music Library to compete against the growing number of stock music companies selling audio for television production. Production music expert Paul Mandell says some of these cues ended up on The Lone Ranger and Jungle Jim. Bad sci-fi fans gleefully point out their work can be heard in The Killer Shrews (1959). The music was distributed by Capitol, the makers of the Hi-Q Library. The way I read Mandell’s essay on the subject, C and B (or “C-B” as he calls it) was distributed by Capitol. But at least four reels—L 1A through 4A—ended up in the Hi-Q Library itself.

The future of all this Bluestone-Cadkin music gets a little confusing after that. A newspaper story in 1961 reveals Bing Crosby’s publicist Maury Foladare and Bluestone (who played violin for The Old Groaner) put together some old cues of Bluestone’s for a library called Musi-Que, designed for soundtracks of home movies. But there already was a Musi-Que, founded in 1958 by Bluestone’s old employer, Standard Transcriptions. Whether the two are the same isn’t clear, but it appears possible Musi-Que released the Bluestone-Cadkin cues used in H-B cartoons. Regardless, those L-1A to L-4A cues, and the beds in the Musi-Que library, were purchased several years ago by another company, and given fresh names.

Below are the eight C and B cues used by Hanna-Barbera, mostly in the Augie Doggie shorts. I have included the Hi-Q alpha-numeric code, but the names are ones given to them by the current rights-holder. Click on the title in green and the music should play.

1. CB-89A Romantic Jaunt
2. CB-83A Mr. Tippy Toes
3. CB-87A Come and Get Me
4. CB-90 Happy Home
5. CB-92A First Steps
6. CB-85A Stealthy Mouse
7. CB-91A Playful
8. CB-86A Hide and Seek

You can find more H-B cartoon music here (Phil Green), here (more Phil Green), here (Geordie Hormel) and here (Spencer Moore).

Oh, Bluestone, by the way, has one other cartoon connection, once removed. As a violinist, he worked with Billy May on the beloved Capitol children’s records of the late 1940s, records which featured cartoon favourites like Bugs and Daffy, with voices by Billy Bletcher, Pinto Colvig and Sara Berner, all of whom made appearances at Warners and other studios.

Not a bad way to make a living. Better than a pie in the face. Daffy would agree.

Saturday 21 November 2009

Quick Draw McGraw — Cattle Battle Rattled

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Animation: Dick Lundy; Layouts – Ed Benedict; Backgrounds - Joe Montell; Story – Mike Maltese; Story Sketches – Dan Gordon; Title – Art Goble; Production Supervisor – Howard Hanson (no credits available).
Cast: Wife, Cowboy, Quick Draw, Baba Looey, Cattlemen’s Assn. Head, Snuffles – Daws Butler; Narrator, Husband, Phantom Rustler, cows – Hal Smith.
Released: November 30, 1959 (Los Angeles).
Plot: Quick Draw and his occasionally faithful dog Snuffles try to bring the Phantom Rustler to justice.

Take something familiar and exaggerate it to the point of absurdity. Laughs will generally follow. And maybe that’s why Snuffles in the Quick Draw McGraw cartoons is so memorable, despite not appearing all that often (reruns excepted). Everyone knows dogs love dog biscuits and even the prospect of one gets them hyper. Mike Maltese took this fact to a ridiculous extreme.

In fact, Maltese uses the idea as a running gag in Snuffles’ second appearance, Cattle Battle Rattled. That could get tiresome in the hands of a lesser writer, but Maltese embroiders the cartoon with other silliness and stupidity. Combine that with some fun layouts and poses and you get an entertaining seven minutes.

There are no credits on this cartoon, so someone is going to have to help me here. The animator’s one of the three H-B added to its staff in 1959—Dick Lundy, Don Patterson or George Nicholas, all ex-Disney types. The BCDB says it’s Lundy. I can’t tell. Here’s where experts can help us all learn by telling how they can tell who is animating this one. The layouts I can guess at.

The first great layout comes right at the beginning. Any fan of 1950s design will like the wife who is serving a scoop of brown mush to her husband, as the narrator intones “At the turn of the century, the beef-hungry north wanted cattle.” The angry husband objects. “Something’d better be done about us beef-hungry northerners!” he cries, raising his fork into the air in declaration.

“And so the cattle drive was started.” We get a cowboy with a similar nose-eye-ear design to what Ed Benedict came up with Hustler Rustler Huck. The cowboy orders his animals to ford a river. So the cows dive in. We only see two of them but the drawings are really funny. I like how the second cow plugs his nose.

Ah, but a pan to the left reveals the villain of the piece, The Phantom Rustler.

Maltese loved having the narrator carrying on conversations with the on-screen characters in Quick Draw cartoons. And he did it right away in this one with an old vaudeville gag that George Burns and Gracie Allen used as a signature. “Say hello to the folks, Phantom,” requests the narrator. So the rustler turns to the camera and repeats the words verbatim. Then he orders the cattle to “stick ‘em up” and we get another fun drawing of the cows.

The shot dissolves to Quick Draw and Baba Looey in the Cattlemen’s Association building. The head of the group points to a map showing where the rustler will strike again. “He must be stopped. Can you do it, Quick Draw?” Quick Draw is so stupid, he looks behind him and says “All right, Quick Draw, speak up. Can you do it?” “Psst, Quick Draw. I think he means you,” Baba suggests. Quick Draw agrees to take on the job and introduces the star of the cartoon.

I really love the drawings of Snuffles in this one; they’re better than what Ken Muse came with in the first cartoon. Look at his dopey expression when Quick Draw calls and then the enthusiasm when told a dog biscuit awaits.

Everyone who knows these cartoons knows how Snuffles hugs himself in ecstasy after eating a biscuit, springs into the air and floats down. But the animator adds a few big-eyed drawings. Then Snuffles bicycles with his feet when rising into the air, and descends in a different position that when he rises. And when he finally lands, he stretches out using five different drawings. The beady eyes and wavy mouth remind me more of Nicholas than Lundy.

So off they go on the trail of the rustler. His hideout shack is sniffed out by Snuffles, who gets another dog biscuit before pointing it out to Quick Draw. The ecstasy animation gets re-used here, to the ecstasy of the Hanna-Barbera accountant.

Quick Draw decides to use his “old noodle” to capture the rustler, after warning Baba “Now don’t you start thinnin’ around here.” So our hero puts on a pair of cow horns to “make like a juicy T-bone steak” and begins lamely moo-ing outside the rustler’s open door. However, the rustler is prepared with a Hanna-Barbera branding iron. We don’t see Quick Draw’s immediate reaction; instead the director cuts to Quick Draw flying with smoke trailing from his butt. “That’s using the old noodle?” Baba asks the audience.

Our hero orders Snuffles to get snarrrlling (Daws stretches the “ar”) to “flush out that rustling varmint.” We get a repeat of the first part of the ecstasy animation but before Snuffles can bicycle into the air, Quick Draw demands some action. But, no, Snuffles wants yet another biscuit. “Uh uh. Get a goin’!” orders Quick Draw. Snuffles begins angrily muttering, like Muttley and other dogs in Hanna-Barbera’s future.

Snuffles zooms inside and barks at the rustler, all right. But the bandit is prepared with his own dog biscuit, in a very abrupt cut going from a frame where Snuffles is growling to one where he is sitting silently looking up as the rustler holds the treat in the air. Before giving it he demands a favour, which he whispers in Snuffles’ ear. “I have a feelin’ Snuffles is behind me all the way,” Quick Draw. You know what’s going to happen next. After, a quick cycle of two drawings to show the pain, the shot cuts to Snuffles with his teeth in our hero’s posterior. The take has been slowed down a bit.

The dog rushes back to collect his reward. Since we’ve seen the ecstasy animation 2½ times, we get a cutaway reaction shot of the rustler (who does little more than blink to save more new drawings). “I wonder what he sees in those things?” the rustler asks himself and decides to find out. We get a funny little sequence here with the rustler copying Snuffles poses, except the bicycling feet is replaced by thrusting feet.

“Stick ‘em up, Phantom Rustler. You’re under arrest!” the armed Quick Draw orders. “Who cares?” sighs the bad guy. “And so the Phantom Rustler was jailed, never to rustle again,” intones the narrator, as we get a shot of both the rustler and Snuffles in jail, begging for biscuits. I can only presume Snuffles is there on an assault charge.

“I wonder what they see in them dog biscuits?” Quick Draw puzzles. So he tries one. And nothing happens. So he strolls back into the sheriff’s office and slams the door. But Quick Draw shows he’s just a little slow. We get five seconds of a shot of the building with Quick Draw making his own Snuffles-like noises, again saving a whole bunch of work for the cameraman. The shot pans over to a window where a sliding cell of Quick Draw floating down. And, like in a bunch of Maltese-written H-B cartoons, a character turns to the camera to give the closing line. “I theen Quickstraw is not only brave, he’s also bashful,” Baba tells us.

Someone has asked why Snuffles wasn’t given his own series. It’s a question that’s certainly debateable. On one hand, he had more personality than Precious Pupp, who inherited Snuffles’ “ratzin’-fratzin’” under-the-breath complaining. But, on the other, the dog-biscuit orgasm may have worn out its welcome every week. It was probably smarter for Hanna-Barbera to use him judiciously in a few cartoons. And he was never animated better than he was in this one.

A lot of Jack Shaindlin’s Langlois Filmusic library seems to have been used in this cartoon. As I don’t have copies of most of the music, I can’t identify it. There’s a harmonica version of Oh, Susannah which could be from the Sam Fox Variety library. SF-11 is a Sam Fox cue that was in the Hi-Q library. Hi-Q stripped off the original name and composer, who is J. Louis Merkur.

As for the harp music when Snuffles descends, it’s not in the harp cues in Hi-Q reel L-39 that I can hear, so it may be in one of the Hi-Q ‘S’ series reels.

0:00 - Quick Draw sub-title theme (Curtin).
0:16 - tick-tock/flute music (Shaindlin) – Wife serves husband goop.
0:28 - OH SUSANNAH (trad.) – Cattle drive scene.
1:01 - GR-472 HICKSVILLE (Phil Green) – Quick Draw asked to find rustler, accepts.
1:41 - unknown jig (?) – Quick Draw calls Snuffles, Snuffles eats biscuit.
2:12 - CRAZY GOOF (Shaindlin) – Snuffles snuffs out rustler’s cabin; eats another biscuit, Quick Draw puts on horns.
3:32 - circus running music (Shaindlin) – Quick Draw moos, flies after being branded.
3:50 - CRAZY GOOF (Shaindlin) – Snuffles gets another biscuit, barks at rustler, rustler hold biscuit.
4:40 - GR-96 BY JIMINY! IT’S JUMBO (Green) – Rustler makes offer to Snuffles.
4:47 - circus medium march (Shaindlin) – Quick Draw chomped.
5:15 - SF-11 LIGHT MOVEMENT/MOUNTAINEERS' HOEDOWN (Merkur) – Rustler gives biscuit to Snuffles; has one himself.
5:47 - tick-tock/flute music (Shaindlin) – Jail scene, Quick Draw eats biscuit.
6:47 - Quick Draw sub end title theme (Curtin).