Saturday, 11 December 2010

Augie Doggie — Pup Plays Pop

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – Ken Muse; Layout – Bob Givens; Backgrounds – Art Lozzi; Story – Mike Maltese; Story Sketches – Dan Gordon; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Augie, Tom, Brat, Irish Cop – Daws Butler; Doggie Daddy, Orville, Brat’s Papa – Doug Young.
Music: Harry Bluestone-Emil Cadkin, Phil Green, Jack Shaindlin, Hecky Krasnow.
Production No: Quick Draw McGraw M-014.
First aired: week of December 28, 1959 (repeated week of June 27, 1960).
Plot: Doggie Daddy suffers when he agrees to exchange places with Augie and becomes a kid for a day.

There’s a situation that got a lot of use at Hanna-Barbera where a couple of bystanders see the main characters doing something unbelievable, and may even interact with them, then make some kind of reaction remark to end the scene. Of course, you’d see the same sort of thing done with a lot more finesse in a Warner’s cartoon, too; an animal pulling out a liquor bottle, making the pledge and throwing it away, or the bird’s reactions as he’s slowly driven nuts watching the handiwork of Hubie and Bertie in Roughly Squeaking.

This is just one of the cartoons where the situation arises where a couple of incidental humans witness Doggie Daddy acting like a child, and Augie Doggie acting like an adult. Unfortunately, Maltese really didn’t have a strong punchline.

Tom: I think you’re wrong, Orville.
Orville: Let’s ask and find out, Tom.
Tom (to Augie): Pardon me, uh, but which one of you is the father.
Augie: I’m the Daddy-dear.
Orville (pointing): And what’s that?
Daddy (somewhat disgusted): I’m his little sonny-boy.
Tom (to Augie): Courage, dad, courage.
Orville: Let’s go, Tom. I can’t stand it.

The funniest thing about the bit is Orville’s voice is coming out of Tom in the last sentence by mistake.

Then, again, Maltese isn’t going for big laughs in this cartoon. This isn’t a Bugs Bunny-style ‘wise-cracking foe’ cartoon like Good Mouse Keeping. It’s a slice-of-life piece where Augie projects the way he’d like to live his childhood on his father, and the gags are in the father’s reactions to how he can’t handle it. Maltese had come from Warners working with Chuck Jones who was the King of the Reaction Pose. The Jones unit might have made a charming one-shot from an idea like this. Instead, the best we can expect here is that Ken Muse’s few drawings get the gag across. He succeeds but without a lot of panache.

The premise is set up after Augie tries kissing up to dear-old-dad to get a third piece of chocolate cake. Daddy has evidently watched other ‘50s sitcoms full of kids who get sick eating too much candy (why doesn’t that happen amongst obese kids in real life today?) and says two pieces should be “suf-fuff-ficient.”

Augie: You mean, like Oliver Twist, I’m to go empty plated?

“Some day, when I’m a father,” vows the angered Augie, “I’ll know how to make my little boy happy.” So Daddy agrees, apparently to cheer him up, to changes places for the day.

Here’s most of Art Lozzi’s interior background for the scene from Bob Givens’ layout. It’s missing the stool against the wall at the left which shows up in a closer shot.

The first request from ‘Daddy’ Augie is for Doggie Daddy to finish the rest of the chocolate cake. “It’ll make you happy.” “Somethin’ tells me,” Daddy tells the audience, “I’m going to rue this day.”

So we get Augie wearing a fedora and Daddy wearing a kid’s hat. Augie’s bought Daddy a trike. I don’t think Daddy ever wore a fedora in any cartoons and Augie only had a Beaver Cleaver-like baseball cap, and is too old for a trike. but they’re symbols to make the situation play better. Daddy rides past the same store window that reads “sale” 13 times.

Next scene is in an ice-cream shop. The camera pans down the ice cream sundae Daddy is forced to eat. The pan and the subsequent hold on Daddy groaning gives Muse some easy footage.

Next gag is in a playground. Augie’s forced Daddy to go on a merry-go-round 11 times then puts him on a swing. Off Augie goes to get more “goodies.” Then comes the best scene in the cartoon. A spoiled jerk kid shoots Daddy in the snout with a suction-cup arrow and calls him “stupid.” He arbitrarily decides to play ‘cops and robbers’ and shoots Daddy in the face with a squirt luger. Dripping Daddy tells him he doesn’t want to play and the brat starts bawling for his dad. Nice drawing of the kid. And I like the Givens’ design on the father. “My dad can’t stand spoiled brats,” the little a-hole confides to us.

“All right, big kid, I want to talk to you,” growls the father. Daddy gets off the park bench and towers next to him. The father gulps, looks at the camera, remarks “he’s a big one,” and angrily strolls back to his son, gives him hell, with the line “You know I can’t stand spoiled brats.”

Augie returns with “a rutabaga sand-a-wich and a radish milkshake” so Daddy high-tails it back on the tricycle to get home and lock the door. Here’s the background by Lozzi. Daddy zips by the same clump of buildings 13 times. I’ve tried to match the colours as best I as I can snipping this together.

Road + Speeding + Cartoon = Irish Cop appearance. Yes, Maltese shows he passed his ani-math course by dragging out this old bit. The O’Officer has another great design from Givens; complete with reversible feet. But Muse doesn’t give much of a surprise take on the cop. It’s a three-drawing cycle and it’s more like the head is throbbing than shocked. Carlo Vinci gives better head takes.

Maltese gives us a surprise in the plot. We’re all used to the sub-genre of the “bystander sees something unbelievable” situation: the “sceptical bystander cop” who doesn’t believe an explanation of the unbelievable situation by the main characters, then discovers it’s true, and remarks to the camera. The alien-meets-cop in Mars Little Precious is a good example. But Maltese doesn’t give it to us. The cop hears Daddy out, sees Augie approaching with the rutabaga sand-a-wich and catches on. And he plays along, too.

Cop: Are you the father of this lad?
Augie: Y-y-y-y-yes, sir.
Cop: Alright. Then I’m throwin’ the book at ya.
Augie: A-a-at me?
Cop: Your boy’s been speedin’, resistin’ arrest, drivin’ without a license, and that’s only the half of it. You, bein’ the father, have got to take the rap.

With that, handcuffs drop in front of Augie with a clank. The best part is we see it from Augie’s level. I really like the visuality of it. You know that if this had been done in an H-B a couple of years later, they would have skipped it as unnecessary and stuck with a talking head, cutting to Augie grasping Daddy’s leg.

Anyway, Augie quickly decides to drop the “father” act begs Daddy to save him from jail. We fade to the final scene where Augie promises to henceforth have only two pieces of chocolate cake for lunch, then pauses—“provided I can have three for dinner.”

Daddy: I would have been awfully disappointed if my boy hadn’t said dat.

The sound cutter uses some nice little tunes. He cuts into the bridge portion of Hecky Krasnow’s ‘The Happy Cobbler;’ we don’t hear that guitar part often in cartoons. One of Phil Green’s solo flute pieces is heard; it sounds related to ‘The Bravest Wooden Soldier’ but it’s not in that portion of the Photoplay library; some of Green’s stuff sounds similar. And we get almost the full version of Jack Shaindlin’s bassoon and string piece that reminds me of frolicking, scurrying squirrels. I don’t have the title of it.

0:00 - Augie Doggie Main Title theme (Curtin).
0:24 - CB-90 HAPPY HOME (Bluestone-Cadkin) – Cake-eating scene.
1:46 - GR-58 GOING SHOPPING (Green) – “Something tells me I’m going to rue this day,” bystander dialogue.
2:24 - CB-89A ROMANTIC JAUNT (Bluestone-Cadkin) – Ice cream sundae scene.
2:56 - jaunty bassoon and skippy strings (Shaindlin) – Daddy on swing, Brat squirts Daddy and bawls, father walks past brat.
4:14 - THE HAPPY COBBLER (Krasnow) – “My daddy can’t stand spoiled brats,” Daddy runs from Augie.
4:57 - circus running music (Shaindlin) – Daddy on tricycle, cop pulls over Daddy,
5:29 - CB-89A ROMANTIC JAUNT (Bluestone-Cadkin) – Cop questions Daddy, threats Augie,
6:42 - flute bridge (Green) – “Thanks officer, I’ll take it from here.”
6:45 - rising scale music (Shaindlin) – Daddy and Augie at kitchen table.
7:09 - Augie Doggie end title music (Curtin).


  1. This is the only cartoon we here Phil Green's "Goin Shopping" on, is it not? I always liked that tune.

  2. Ha! I forgot "Going SHopping" is in this. It's also in "Whatever goes Pup". Like that rising scale Shaindlin music.

  3. This is another well-written Augie cartoon with a lot of heart, where Augie has that authentically sweet, boyish personality thanks to Daws Butler's great delivery. (It's too bad that within a few years Augie would become an insufferable boy genius!)

  4. Actually, Augie became an insufferable boy genius in a matter of a few episodes, not years. This quality thankfully did not prevail throughout every cartoon. Even in a couple of the later shorts, he was more concerned with believable childlike issues such as growing up and protecting the mouse that Dad is trying to get rid of.

    What's refreshing in this cartoon is that the cop is not your stereotyped (Irish brogue notwithstanding) clueless/moronic cop so often found in H-B cartoons. Rather he shows real cleverness and resourcefulness in dealing with the situation, as does Dad.