Saturday, 16 January 2010

Augie Doggie — Nag-Nag-Nag

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – Dick Lundy; Layout – Ed Benedict; Backgrounds – Bob Gentle; Story – Mike Maltese; Story Sketches – Dan Gordon; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Cast: Augie, Cyclone – Daws Butler; Doggie Daddy – Doug Young.
Production: Quick Draw McGraw M-003, Production No J-23.
First aired: week of October 12, 1959 (rerun, week of April 11, 1960).
Plot: Augie tries to sneak a horse into the house past Daddy.

There are several basic premises which pop up time and time again in Augie Doggie cartoons. One of them is the “Can I keep him, huh, can I, can I?” plot, where Augie makes a new friend or has a new pet and excitedly asks the reluctant Daddy if it can stay with them. This is one of them.

Several things really brighten this cartoon. Mike Maltese pulls some cute lines out of his crazy, fertile brain, Doug Young is always fun as Daddy, and—in this particular cartoon—we get some great Ed Benedict designs and little touches by Dick Lundy, both of whom spent time at Lantz, Disney and MGM.

Here we have the interior of the Daddy family living room (what is their last name, anyway?). That’s where our scene opens as the worried Daddy pacing, wondering where Augie is. But we hear the door open and the scene cuts to Augie at the door holding a rope that is hanging out the door. What’s at the end of the rope? Augie struggles as he pulls and explains it’s “just an itty-bitty, stray, homeless pony that follered me all the way home, he did,” There’s a lot of head-shaking on twos going on in this scene. The first two frames below are when Daddy sees the off-camera door open and the two below that are of when the “pony” is pulled in. The second shake is accompanied by the sound effect of a door knocking to emphasize Daddy’s surprise. It’s a clever idea. Instead of re-using animation, Lundy comes up with two different shakes. You can see how he does them, two drawings for each shake.

“Can I keep him” etc. follows from Augie’s mouth, along with the usual kissing up. He calls him “animal lover dad” and “dear soft headed, uh, hearted dad.” When Augie corrects himself to say “hearted”, we get a dialogue head shake for emphasis. Lundy’s trying to toss in a bit of personality within the confines of limited animation. You sure wouldn’t see something like this in a Breezly and Sneezly cartoon. And notice the rectangular shadows to keep the background from being monotonous. I’ve seen this in other cartoons of 1959-60; I don’t know if Ed Benedict would have done this in layout or Bob Gentle decided on the colour separation.

Mike Maltese seemed to love dialogue word-play (witness the Bugs-Daffy-Elmer hunting trio of cartoons at Warners). “Can I?” “No!” “Can I” “No” “I no can?” Then we get a bad pun. The horse is named Cyclone. Daddy tells Cyclone to “blow.” Cyclone literally kisses up to Daddy, giving him one on the snout, and then breaks into a goofy grin. Daddy yells at him to get out. Maltese then audaciously hands this line to Augie: “But, Dad, baby, it’s cold outside.” How many references to pop songs do you hear as a throw-away gag in a Hanna-Barbera cartoon (other than a pun on a song title)?

“Poor old Cyclone can catch a cold,” Augie laments. The hammy horse nods in affirmation and tosses in some sneezes and coughs for good measure.

Daddy pulls down the window blind and tells Augie to have his milk and go to bed. Augie sadly drags himself into the kitchen, but then brightens when he sees Cyclone at the back door, panting and whimpering like a dog. Yes, I know that Augie is the dog in this cartoon, but let’s set that aside. Ed Benedict comes through with a flat-‘50s style kitchen.

“Who are you talking to?” the off-camera Daddy demands. Augie explains he’s talking to his glass of milk. “What won’t these kids do next?” Daddy says smilingly to the audience. But then we get yet a different two-frame head shake on twos as Daddy hears a muffled noise. The shot cuts to the fridge door, inhaling and exhaling. It blows open and there’s Cyclone. We get another goofy grin. Eating a banana is a nice touch. Daddy yells at him to get out, and he does so by running mid-air off-camera in a little cycle of drawings.

Daddy settles in his living room chair to read a book. There’s a sneeze. Augie admits it wasn’t him. “Well, who did snoze?” asks Daddy. There’s another sneeze and the two look up to see Cyclone hiding in a light fixture. The next sneeze rips the light off the ceiling and the horse land on top of Daddy, who kicks him out.

The next attempt has Augie with a fishing rod out of the upper storey window. He’s attached a string around the horse’s middle to try to raise him into the home. The string slips around a bit but Augie finally starts pulling up Cyclone, who doesn’t look too happy. A slide whistle accompanies a cell of the horse going up and down. Daddy shows up and asks “Now, how come you’re fishing this time of the night?” “Oh, I don’t know, dad,” Augie replies. “It’s just a hobby I guess.” Daddy grabs the “hobby” and his eyes grow, wondering what’s on the end of the line. He reels in the horse, who lands on top of him. “I have only one word to say,” the prone dog remarks. “Out!” And the horse runs off stage, presumably out the window, as we hear a whistle and a loud crash.

Daddy’s sleeping on his chair as the next scene opens. Augie and Cyclone are on the front sidewalk. Augie’s put roller skates on the horse to shove him into his room. But the noise from the passing horse wakes Daddy. “So, ho! It’s roller skatin’ you want, eh?” Daddy pushes the forlorn-looking horse from behind. “It’s roller skatin’ you’ll get.” You can hear the exertion in Doug Young’s voice. There’s even a little two-drawing vibrating animation cycle on the horse. Daddy shoves Cyclone out the back door, and the horse rolls down the street. Daddy now channels Jimmy Durante’s language-butchering as he bids “Aw rez-vore.” Not so fast, Daddy. The horse is stopped by a wire fence, which springs him back to the place whence he came. Well, almost. The force breaks down the back door, Daddy ends up on top of him but instead of rolling out the front, the horse has somehow changed direction, and rolls down the stairs as Daddy shouts the obligatory “Whoa!” They go past the same door and pictures in the background five times first. The crash is, naturally, off-camera, though Augie’s peering at it down the stairs. “Okay, Cyclone, I know when I’m licked,” says Daddy as we get a head-shake from Augie now. “Can I keep him, can I, can I?” excitedly asks the jumping Augie. We know the answer.

Maltese uses his standard Doggie Daddy wind-up question to the camera, which starts “After all, how many...” This time it concludes with “fathers have a live, horse-hair sofa?” And then Daddy does his usual laugh as the cartoon fades out (no iris this time).

Maltese re-worked the idea of Augie trying to keep a pet horse a year later in Horse-Feathers. The horse in that cartoon has pretty much the same design but is coloured blue and named Rosco.

As for the music, the sound cutter seems content to let most themes play on until the next scene. The “rising scale” music starts by going up nine notes, then in the next bar, doing it again a little higher. There’s a bunch of Jack Shaindlin pieces where for which I don’t have titles (one has ‘Fireman’ as part of the title); he seems to have written these for newsreels in the 1940s.

0:00 - Augie Doggie main title theme (Hoyt Curtin)
0:24 - GR-65 BUSH BABY (Phil Green) – Augie brings in Cyclone, Daddy kicks him out, Achoo!
2:07 - CB-89A ROMANTIC JAUNT (Harry Bluestone-Emil Cadkin) – Daddy pulls down window blind, Cyclone in kitchen, sneezing heard in living room.
3:48 - vaudeville rising scale music (Shaindlin) – Cyclone falls from light onto Daddy.
4:13 - CB-87A COME AND GET ME (Bluestone-Cadkin) – Cyclone on a fishing line, Augie puts roller skates on horse.
6:00 - fast show biz music (Shaindlin) – Cyclone rolls past Daddy, back into house and into cellar.
6:47 - ‘FIREMAN’ (Shaindlin) – Daddy says Cyclone can stay, horse-hair sofa.
7:09 - Augie Doggie end title theme (Curtin)


  1. Good cartoon today. 1 more thread to go and you will make it to your 100th thread.

    Also, a brief note on another cartoon, "Stranger Ranger": Not a good cartoon, with the way the gorilla treats Yogi, plus Ranger Smith dosen't even return by the end of the cartoon. Maybe he had to go on a like 2-month vacation or something. I can't remember what he said.

    Hold on a moment...

    Be on the lookout for Cyclone, a horse that was brought home by Augie Doggie. He may damage your house, so be careful.

    Back to the commentary, I will post "Breaking News Jokes" every week if the cartoon is a good cartoon.

    Hope to see you soon!

    Also, enjoy this week's Breaking News Joke.



  2. That was a pretty nice cartoon. Dick Lundy was good at making Augie jump around! His style has much more of an identity here, it's quite geometric, like when Art Davis worked with Frank Tashlin.

  3. I always consider Lundy's models and animation of the pre-1966 H-B series- particularly THE FLINTSTONES- to be templates for the way the characters appeared in comic books and other merchandising: very solid and evenly proportioned.

    So it's interesting to note how some of Lundy's earliest H-B character animation contained amusing embellishments. In the Quick Draw episode SLICK CITY SLICKER, when the Raindrop Kid laughs at his own corny joke, his head seems to move straight into the camera and waggle around for a few seconds. In one of the last Huck shorts, SCRUBBY BRUSH MAN, the tough would-be customer reacts to Huck's free gift with a sarcastic "Well, ain't that sweet?" If you look very quickly you'll notice the guy blowing a kiss with his finger, all while retaining his gruff expression!

  4. Ed Benedict designs are the Best, They RULE!!!- Asim