Saturday, 5 March 2011

Augie Doggie — Tee Vee or Not Tee Vee

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera
Credits: Animation - Carlo Vinci; Layout – Bob Givens; Backgrounds – Dick Thomas; Story – Mike Maltese; Story Sketches – Dan Gordon; Titles – Lawrence Goble; Production Supervision.
Voice Cast: Augie, Lion – Daws Butler; Doggie Daddy, Neighbour Kid – Doug Young.
Music: Phil Green, Harry Bluestone/Emil Cadkin, Jack Shaindlin, Hecky Krasnow.
First Aired: week of December 7, 1959 (repeat, week of June 6, 1960)
Episode No: Quick Draw McGraw M-011.
Plot: After bragging to a neighbourhood boy that his dad is on TV, Augie gets his dad to cut a demo film for the TV station.

This cartoon’s a little different than some of the previous outings in the series. Instead of Doggie Daddy reluctantly giving in to Augie to try to please him, Daddy does it this time because he has stars in his eyes. TV stars, that is.

Things start off with Augie and the new neighbour pup outside the Doggie home arguing about whose dad is better. The neighbour sneers that his dad is “Rattle Tin Can, the famous TV star” and demands that Augie confess that Doggie Daddy isn’t on television. Augie, of course, isn’t going to admit that his dad is inferior, and tries to stall with several “Well, uh”s. Finally, he’s had enough of the goading and informs the disbelieving pup Daddy will be on at 7 tonight and to “Come over and see for yourself. And bring your own popcorn, too.” All this is news to Doggie Daddy, who overhears it from the window.

Daddy calls Augie in to ask about his TV appearance, then hands his “imagin-a-tive” son a bar of soap to wash out his mouth “for tellin’ such fibs” (this is after Augie tells his “award-winning dad” that Rattle Tin Can “is a wash-out compared to you”). But Augie isn’t contrite. In fact, he says he’s not lying.

Augie: All I have to do is take movies of ya. And take it to the TV station.
Daddy (sceptically): And dat’s how easy it is for me to become a TV star?
Augie: You could become the idol of millions.
(Daddy looks surprised)
Daddy (to audience): Ya know, da kid might just have somethin’ dere. Yes, sir. Heh, heh, heh. He might just have somethin’ dere.

Incidentally, on the audio track of the version of the cartoon I have, it sounds like Doug Young is rattling his script at the end of the last line.

We now get a string of gags as Augie plays director and casts Daddy in a bunch of typical 1950s television fare. We’ll give you a summary in a second.

Carlo Vinci is the animator in this cartoon and he doesn’t seem to quite have a handle on drawing the main characters. You can see Augie has an angular snout in three-quarters view in a medium shot (Augie looks normal in head shots). And Daddy’s snout looks a little odd in this little scene. But you’ve got to love the modern art in the background. A couple of Warners’ people are at work; Bob Givens and Dick Thomas had both recently worked in the McKimson unit.

Writer Mike Maltese was at Warners, of course, and came over with Givens. He seems to be padding this cartoon with a bit of extra dialogue. It takes a minute and 52 seconds to set up the situation and during the poundings Daddy there’s a lot of extraneous action that really isn’t amusing. An example is in the first movie-shooting gag when Daddy is staring at his gun and Augie says “Pay attention, dad!” It doesn’t really add to the plot or suit Daddy’s personality that much. It could have been left out.

Here are the gags Maltese gives us:
Daddy as a western star. Somehow, Augie has gotten his hands on a pony (maybe it followed him home, like in ‘Nag! Nag! Nag!’) and Daddy is supposed jump from it onto a makeshift bad guy. But the horsie decides to stop in mid-gallop and Daddy goes flying onto what turns out to be a fire hydrant.

Daddy as a jungle hero. Somehow, a lion at the zoo is in a cage without any bars and Daddy is supposed to swing Tarzan-style in and do, well, no one really says. Daddy points out the lion to Augie. “Oh. I didn’t notice,” the boy replies. Daws gives a nice, casual read. Augie then explains the lion has no “teeths” and that’s all Daddy needs to know. Doug Young lets out with an ersatz Tarzan yell (“Say! That ain’t bad! I gotta admire myself for dat one,” Daddy tells the audience). As Daddy swings toward the cage, the lion rushes off to put in a pair of huge false chompers. The violence happens off camera. “It’s amazin’ what they’re doin’ with dentistry these days,” Daddy tells us. “A jungle hero you’re not, no-talent dad,” Augie observes.

Daddy as a hard-boiled detective. Doug Young gets to have some fun here, as he does his Jimmy Cagney-style voice that he later gave to Bigelow the mouse. Daddy’s supposed to bust down a prop door and that’s it. But he gets carried away with his own acting and ignores the fact he’s busted down the door and Augie has yelled “Cut!” All right, Rocky! I’m comin’ in. You dirty rat!” he exclaims over and over. He keeps running and bashes down the front and back doors to his own house and some inside along the way before coming to rest against a clothesline.

As a side note, Cagney would never have talked to Rocky. He played Rocky Sullivan in Angels With Dirty Faces, the classic movie that spawned one of the greatest cartoon parody titles in history. And he never said “You dirty rat!” But Al Capone did to Joe Aiello, according to biographer Fred D. Pasley.

Daddy in a war picture. Somehow, Augie has a live grenade (maybe it followed him home, too) which Daddy is supposed to throw at the “em-eny.” But Daddy forgets whether to throw the grenade or the pin. You can guess what happens.

Poor Augie. He laments “Some kids have great TV stars for fathers and some ain’t. I guess I’m just one of the ain’t kids.” Ah, but Daddy disagrees and pledges he’ll be on TV like Augie promised.

And he is. Augie and the neighbour kid watch Daddy go through parts of the routines he failed at miserably earlier in the cartoon. “Gee, do you think your dad will give me his autograph?” says the kid. The directors cut to a shot of Daddy standing in the set, with his head sticking out of the top. The part of his body in the set is in black-and-white, the part of him out of the set is in colour, a gag probably lost on most kids in 1959. Daddy finishes the cartoon with one of his “After all...” tag-lines: “How many kids can saw their dad’s not only on TV, but also in TV.

The music’s pretty typical for an Augie and Doggie Daddy cartoon.

0:00 – Augie Doggie Main Title theme (Curtin).
0:25 – CB-90 HAPPY HOME (Cadkin-Bluestone) – Augie argues with new neighbour’s kid, Augie and Daddy in living room.
2:17 – GR-472 HICKSVILLE (Green) – Augie explains western shot to Daddy, horse takes off.
2:38 – SIX DAY BICYCLE RACE (Shaindlin) – Horse gallops, Daddy flies off horse.
2:50 – GR-155 PARKS AND GARDENS (Green) – Daddy smashes into “bad guy”, Augie tells Daddy lion has no teeth, Daddy says he’s ready for his shot.
3:51 – LFU 117-1 MAD RUSH No 1 (Shaindlin) – Daddy does Tarzan yell, lion gets teeth, fight off-camera, Daddy flies through air.
4:23 – GR-155 PARKS AND GARDENS (Green) – Dental work line, Augie explains detective scene, rolls camera.
4:58 – EXCITEMENT UNDER DIALOGUE (Shaindlin) – “All right, Rocky” line.
5:03 – SIX DAY BICYCLE RACE (Shaindlin) – Daddy bolts for door, crashes through house, camera shake.
5:30 – GR-253 TOYLAND PARADE (Green) – “Dad! Oh, dear dad!”, hand grenade scene.
6:14 – THE HAPPY COBBLER (Krasnow) – Augie sighs his dad isn’t a TV star, Dad in TV set.
6:43 – up tempo show biz music (Shaindlin) – Kid wonders if Dad will give autograph. Dad signs autograph book.
7:09 – Augie Doggie End Title theme (Curtin).


  1. I always liked this one, of Augie showing that little kid next door that his dad, too, can be a TV star. Of course, they are already IN TV!:)

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  2. Sorry about mistyped Facebook link
    ABove's the link, in my name. Anyway, back to the topic. "Hicksville" is pretty unusual for Augie, as it's usually in Quick Draw. There's the British original EMI Photplay ID tag: GR 472, I only wish I knew what the US counterpart, for Capitol, would be, EM? or PG?-[number?]-we DO know that the US title's "Rural Foxtrot" [and that current Carlin title's "Softshoe Shuffle".] "Six Day Bike Race" I like a lot....was even in a Gumby ["Lawn Party"-"KatCassidyJr.'s" uploaded that to YouTube.]

  3. I always love the Detective gag scene - the final shot of Doggie Daddy smashing down just about every door is nicely drawn. True Maltease humour there =)

  4. Nowadays, of course, the B&W image in the TV set gag would be the thing that was lost on the kids (and a few years from now, the kids will be wondering why that TV has such a weird shape. Such is the progress of technology...)

  5. Keep in mind that when this originally aired, it was shown in black and white {Hanna-Barbera KNEW the future of television was going to be "all-color", and filmed everything they produced accordingly}. So the gag about Doggie Daddy being in black and white within the TV set- and in "Living Color" OUTSIDE of it (obviously a sly swipe at the appalling lack of color TV sets in most Amercian homes in 1959) wasn't seen [or appreciated] until the color prints were distributed in the fall of 1966.

  6. Interesting how in this cartoon, the 'kid' next door is also a dog. In virtually every other Augie episode in which he interacts with other kids, they're humans. Of course, interspecies interaction is perfectly normal in cartoons.

    I love how resourceful Augie manages to come up with a real lion and a real hand grenade as dictated by the situation.

  7. "You dirty rat!"
    I remember Jerry Lewis saying this line on the movie Pardners (1956).