Saturday, 6 November 2010

Quick Draw McGraw — Sagebrush Brush

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Animation – Lew Marshall ?; Story – Mike Maltese; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson (no credits).
Voice Cast: Quick Draw, Baba Looey – Daws Butler; Narrator, Philbert, Bull, Break-the-Bank Hank, Sheriff – Hal Smith.
First Aired: week of January 4, 1960, repeat week of July 4, 1960.
Plot: Disguised as The Whip, Quick Draw tries to bring Break-the-Bank Hank to justice.

El Kabong wasn’t Quick Draw’s only alter ego, but it seems as if Mike Maltese’s other attempt was either half-hearted or he just ran out of ideas. First, from out of the West, and a low-budget studio (PRC), came the King of the Bullwhips, Lash Larue. Then, from out of the West, and another low-budget studio (Monogram), came the unsubtly-named Whip Wilson. So it made perfect sense for a cartoon series making fun of clichéd Westerns to lift the concept of a whip-waving hero from Poverty Row and install it in Quick Draw McGraw as The Whip.

But it appears Maltese couldn’t, er, whip up enough interest or ideas for a seven-minute cartoon. The whole first scene has absolutely nothing to do with The Whip. It’s like Maltese had some old stereotypical B-movie Western dialogue kicking around he wanted to parody so he shoved it at the beginning of this short to fill up the time. Maltese had something like 68 cartoons to write for the Quick Draw show so it wasn’t like he had time to finesse the script (despite that, he still wrote the best cartoons at Hanna-Barbera).

So it is the cartoon opens with Quick Draw at a poker game. Baba Looey suggests he’s being rooked. Here’s the typical Western dialogue.

Quick Draw: I’m a-callin’ you, stranger.
Philbert: Mah name ain’t stranger, suh. Back home, mah pappy calls me ‘Four-Flusher Philbert.’
Quick Draw (pulls out gun): Well, I’m a-callin’ you a no-good, low-down, cheatin’ coyote, Philllbert.
Baba: I theen’ I drop out this hand. (Baba hides under the table).
Quick Draw: And I’m a-aimin’ to rid the West of a pest, on account of my name is Quick Draw McGraw.
Philbert (pulling out gun): Your account is closed, suh.

So we get hackneyed dialogue and a ridiculous sight gag. We don’t see the result of Quick Draw getting shot. The standard explosion smoke-cloud animation dissolves into the next scene where Quick Draw and Baba drive off in their jeep (in the old West??) and return in Lone Ranger-style masks as the Whip—“Scourge of the outlaw. Friend of the innocent”—and his sidekick Whipper-Snapper.

Both Lash Larue and Whip Wilson needed a heap of instruction before going before the cameras to display their whip-wielding prowess. Quick Draw could have used it, too, but “I’m too good to practice, man.” So we get displays of incompetence instead. A running gag is he keeps accidentally lashing Baba Looey’s butt. And Maltese serves up more B-Western dialogue after the Whip has Baba put an apple on his head so he can do a William Tell-style demonstration of his keen sense of accuracy:

Quick Draw: How do you like it—sliced, peeled or sauced? Heck, I’m so hot, I’ll bake it!

But the dopey Whip lassos a bull on a nearby bluff instead and pulls it on top of him.

Finally, we get into the plot. Break-the-Bank Hank has blown up the safe of the local bank and is making off with bags of loot by pushing them along the street in a wooden wheelbarrow. This street has only two buildings. Well, it has six, but Hank walks by the same pair three times. The same background makes an appearance throughout the cartoon. There’s actually lettering on the buildings; the one on the right reads ‘General Store’ and, despite the saloon-style swinging doors, the other is ‘Hardware.’

The Whip’s first attempt to lash Hank into surrendering ends up with more pain for Baba. Then Quick Draw tries the old carnival sideshow trick (it must have been done in a movie before 1960, too) of using his whip to take a cigar out of Hank’s mouth. He does everything but. First, he twists it around Hank’s hat, then his gun (which returns to Quick Draw’s face and fires), then his gun-belt (which makes his pants fall down) and then finally lashes his boxer-clad butt.

Hank (running away): I give up! I’m whipped. I’m getting away from that crazy Whip!
Quick Draw: Oh, well. Once-st a-gain, a crime has been a-venged by—the Whip!

Baba gets lashed by accident again. In the rear end again. Prompting this:

Quick Draw: You’ve held up your end, li’l pardner.

So the Whip and the Whipper Snapper walk back toward town to return the stolen bank money. Well, they’ve only got two bags. Who knows what happened to the rest of the cash in the wheelbarrow? Their stroll is stopped by a gun in the snout.

Sheriff: Stick ‘em up in the name of the law. I got you varmints before you could take your masks off.

Quick Draw tries to prove he’s the Whip with the apple-on-Baba’s-head trick. He painfully wraps the whip around the Sheriff instead.

The camera pans to the right where we discover Quick Draw and Baba in jail.

Narrator: Yup. The bandits and the outlaws are gone from the old West. Driven out by those defenders of law and order, the Whip and his loyal follower, the Whipper Snapper.
Quick Draw: You know somethin’, Quicks Draw. I theen....
Quick Draw: Now what have I told you about thin-nin-nin-nin-nin.
Baba: Ho-kay. Okay. Then you better thin’ how we goin’ gets out of here.
Quick Draw: Hmm. (turns to camera) Anybody out there, uh, got any idee-urs?

I haven’t said anything about the animation. There’s nothing really spectacular here. Lots of nose-bobs while characters talk, leaving me to believe Lew Marshall did this. However, HB had hired a bunch of people and it could be one of the newcomers.

The sound cutter did a fair bit of cutting. Even some of Phil Green’s ‘S’ series cues—generally under 30 seconds—have been edited for time. There’s an appearance at the end of the cartoon of what sounds like a faster version of Jack Shaindlin’s ‘Sportscope.’ Shaindlin had fast and slow versions of some of his cues—‘Capers,’ ‘On the Run’ and ‘Six Day Bike Race’ are examples. The cue was used at the end of Talk It Up Pup with Augie Doggie. Bill Loose and John Seely’s laughing clarinets of ‘TC-303 Zany Comedy’ make a rare appearance outside the Yogi and Huck shows.

Then there’s a woodwind cue heard twice that I haven’t been able to track down. There’s a short introduction (not used in this cartoon) then it goes into three notes, the first and second an octave apart, then four notes, with the first three in a triad. It’s not a Capitol Hi-Q cue and doesn’t sound like anything by Shaindlin’s Langlois Filmusic. So that leaves a few possibilities. Hanna-Barbera used music from the Sam Fox library, most of it were releases on Hi-Q. The BMI database has George S. Chase and Roger Roger listed as composers of music on Quick Draw—both wrote for the Valentino library and Chase’s stock music from the Video Moods library found its way into Plan 9 From Outer Space. There’s also one other possibility. Clarence Wheeler, who scored the George Pal Puppetoons and the Blondie movies in the ‘40s, then worked at the Walter Lantz studio in the ‘50s, wrote a cue called ‘Woodwind Capers’ which ASCAP says appeared on the Yogi and Huck shows, and a cue was also used in Augie Doggie and Snooper and Blabber. No mention of Quick Draw. The mystery cue was used in both Augie and Snooper. But, unfortunately, we don’t have a positive ID yet.

0:00 – Quick Draw McGraw Sub-Main Title theme (Hoyt Curtin).
0:15 - PG-161H LIGHT MOVEMENT (Green) – Pan across town, Quick Draw shakes.
0:31 - COMEDY SUSPENSE (Shaindlin) – Shot of Baba Looey, poker game.
1:19 - GR-333 BUSTLING BRIDGE (Green) – Quick Draw and Baba disappear, Whip and Whipper Snapper appear, Quick Draw stops jeep.
1:39 - C-C-F# woodwind underscore (?) – The Whip’s declaration, bulls pulled on top of Quick Draw, Baba runs away.
2:42 - rising scale vaudeville music (Shaindlin) – Quick Draw and Baba in jeep during narration.
2:54 - GR-96 BY JIMINY! IT’S JUMBO (Green) – “Mighty quiet...”, bank goes boom, Hank wheels money, Baba whipped, Quick Draw shot in face.
4:43 - TC-303 ZANY COMEDY (Loose-Seely) – Reaction shot of Quick Draw shot, Hank’s pants down, Hank turns and runs.
5:06 - fast show biz music (Shaindlin) – Hank running away.
5:14 - GR-347 GATHERING THE PRODUCE (Green) – “Oncest again...” scene to fade out.
5:35 - C-C-F# short light underscore (?) – Sheriff scene.
6:26 - related to SPORTSCOPE (Shaindlin) – Jail scene.
6:59 - Quick Draw Sub-End Title theme (Curtin).


  1. Yowp, good call. Sure looks like Lew Marshall to me.
    "I'm too good to practice." Great line.

  2. And going by this cartoon's ending, it's no wonder why Mike - or in this case, Queeks-Draw - didn't reappear as "The Whip" any time soon. Although I did like the name Whipper-Snapper, just for the fun of it.

  3. fabulous post! I love Quick Draw!

  4. Another great post. Ah yes, good Ol Monogram and Producer's Releasing Corporation. Poverty Row. Other than a bunch of 16mm prints floating around in the public domain,I had read that Warner Brothers bought the majority of the old Monogram film stock, and various studios have the PRC stock. Fitting tribute. The dialog in this Quick Draw short sounds a lot like those LaRue and Wilson westerns. Hal Smith is always a welcome addition. Also love the line " I'm too good to practice ". My dad once told me that LaRue's die hard fans were always a bit confused. It seems Lash did what was somewhat unheard of when it comes to Saturday Matinee western good guys. Whenever he was on loan to Paramount, Universal or any other major studio around that time, he was usually cast as a heavy.

  5. Pretty crazy to think that music used in "Plan 9 from Outer Space" would appear in a Hanna-Barbera Cartoon.

  6. I always thought that Quick Draw rode in a jeep because he couldn’t be seen riding a HORSE!

    Think about it. To my recollection, Quick Draw McGraw was TV’s only western star who never rode a horse! He drove a jeep or he walked into town.

    Closest he came was in the theme / credits sequences to his show, where he drove a stagecoach PULLED by a team of horses.

    …But I don’t think he ever rode a horse.

    Maybe Goofy never walked Pluto either!

  7. No, Marc, just the same composer. It might be from the same library, but I suspect it's not.

  8. Yowp, a few questions:
    What reels of the Hi-Q library are PG-161H LIGHT MOVEMENT (Green), EM-147 DOCUMENTARY MAIN TITLE (Green), ZR-39A WESTERN SONG (Hormel)on and what series of the library are they in?

    Also, could you do a post on Ali-Baba-Looey, please?

  9. S-31, M-47 and M-12, in that order.

    My version of 'Ali Baba Looey' is really lousy and I already banked cartoons through the new year. Maltese's dialogue is great in it.

  10. The difference between El Kabong and The Whip is Maltese gave the former it's own unique silly recurring gag of the hero braining his enemy with his guitar (complete with funny, off-key guitar sound effect), while the latter was simply an extension of whip-related gags used in past cartoons (including by Maltese, when he had Daffy dress up as the Crisco Kid in "My Little Duckaroo"). That doesn't make this a bad cartoon; it just makes it not a memorable one.