Saturday 29 December 2012

Snooper and Blabber — Scoop Snoop

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – Lew Marshall, Layout – Paul Sommer, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Story – Mike Maltese, Story Director – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Snooper, Blabber – Daws Butler; Editor, Snowman – Doug Young, Hazel – Jean Vander Pyl.
Music: Jack Shaindlin, Phil Green, Harry Bluestone-Emil Cadkin, Clarence Wheeler?, unknown.
First aired: week of January 10, 1961.
Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-033, Production J-104.
Plot: The editor of the Daily Beagle hires Snooper and Blabber to find the Abominable Snowman.

In “Scoop Snoop,” Snooper and Blabber are on their way in their helicopter to the Himalayas to find the Abominable Snowman. Blab asks: “Gosh, Snoop, do you think this copter can make to the Hima, Hima, uh, those mountains?” And Snooper replies: “It better, or we won’t have no cartoon.”

Hanna-Barbera cartoons commented on the action to the audience all the time but this is one of the few cases where a character actually referred to the fact he was in a cartoon while a cartoon was in progress. It’s not quite the same as the characters appearing in bumpers during the syndicated half-hours saying there were going to put on a cartoon show or watch the next (eg. Yogi Bear) cartoon.

Mike Maltese writes some neat little dialogue bits, but there really aren’t terribly many gags in this one and the ending is all too familiar. How many cartoon characters are sceptical about something but then look out the window and realise it’s true? Still, Maltese and Daws Butler’s word-bending is about all the cartoon has going for it. There’s nothing distinctive in the animation, character design or the settings (though the murky, digitally-pixilated dubs from TV prints may be to blame for the latter). In fact, Paul Sommer couldn’t be bothered to design Snooper’s helicopter with the eyeball that was on office doors, windows and, yes, even helicopters, in previous cartoons. About the most interesting thing is the “flash-bulb” effect when Blab takes a couple of pictures. The colours change to simulate a large amount of light being thrown on the subject. Here’s the effect when Blab, inside the Abominable Snowman, takes a flash picture.

The opening has Snooper and Blabber in the chopper with Snoop getting the lowdown on their next caper. “Stop speakin’ in griddles, Hazel,” “Give us the glory details” and “Leave us descend on the impatient editor, Blab, and find out what’s news” are among Snoop’s punny lines. And there’s the usual time-filling dialogue about Hazel’s parakeet.

There’s a brief scene in the office of the editor of the Daily Beagle. The editor’s on the phone with his boss, J.R. It should be noted that the man who oversaw the writers at Hanna-Barbera was one J.R. Barbera. “Stop the pressin’!” shouts Snoop. The gig: J.R. believes there’s an Abominable Snowman. The editor believes there’s not. Cut to Blab looking at a phone book. “He’s not in the Yellow Pages, Snoop.” “He probably has an unlisted number,” figures Snoop.

So at the 2:29 mark (including about 25 seconds of opening titles), the plot’s underway. Snooper is offered $5,000 for a picture of the Abominable Snowman (throughout the cartoon, Snoop pronounces the word “abdominable”). Landing in the Himalayas, Snooper points out Blab is standing in a huge footprint. “We’ll folly his footprints and viola! He’s on page one,” Snoop says. Blab muses “I hope he’s photogenic.”

Well, the Snowman is “lurchin’” around. He comes out from behind a mountain. The snowman’s only word through the cartoon is “gloogle,” so Blab decides to call him Mr. Gloogle. The Snowman uses his huge hand to squash Snoop through the snow and through the underside of a cliff, then winds up Blab’s tail and the assistant falls through the hole Snoop made.

Blab swings from a rope (being a Hanna-Barbera rope, we don’t learn what it’s tied to) and gets swallowed by the Snowman. Blab takes a picture inside. “How’d you make out?” Snoop asks (no, we don’t know how Blab got out of the Snowman’s mouth). “Great, Snoop,” Blab says. “I got a swell picture of his tonsils. “Great Josephine! What good is a picture of his tonsils?” “Well,” figures Blab, “it might help some deserving medical student pass his exams.”

In the helicopter, Snooper tries snagging the Snowman with a lasso. The Snowman just pulls the chopper to the snow, wrecks it and runs in a cave. “Stop in the long arm of the law and me five-thousand-bucks fee,” shouts Snoop as the detectives run after him. Now the plot turns a bit, kind of like how Porky Pig came to the rescue when hero Daffy Duck kept failing in those 1950s Chuck Jones cartoons written by Maltese. “I just want to take your picture, Mr. Gloogle,” says Blab. Now the Snowman is interested, especially since the shot “will be in all the newspapers.” Blab goes in the cave where he takes a photo of the whole smiling Gloogle family. Now how do Snooper and Blabber get back to civilisation since their helicopter is wrecked? Easy. They get in a large paper airplane which is thrown aloft by the Snowman. Where did the paper airplane come from? Who knows.

The final scene is back in the office of the editor, who is looking over the photo. Even though it hasn’t been invented yet, the editor thinks it’s Photoshopped. “If this picture isn’t a fake, I’ll eat your hat. I still say there is abdominable snowman.” That’s when Mr. Gloogle appears in the office window (Blab had invited him to look him up whenever in town). Cut to the editor chewing. “I hope Mr. Editor has a 6 7/8ths stomach,” Blab tells us as he laughs and the iris closes on another cartoon.

This will give you an idea when the cartoon went into production. The Hollywood Reporter of April 15, 1960 reveals: Doug Young has been signed for a signing role opposite Daws Butler in the "Scoop Snoop" telefilm in the "Snooper and Blabber" teleseries. Bill Hanna directs the Mike Maltese script.

The sound cutter must have had plenty of time to work on this cartoon. Most of the music cues are very short. Some last around ten seconds and flow into each other pretty well, though using two short cues seems like overkill. Phil Green and Jack Shaindlin dominate as usual but there’s one little (contra bassoon?) tune toward the end that may be Clarence Wheeler’s “Woodwind Capers,” which found its way into some cartoons, according to ASCAP.

0:00 - Snooper and Blabber Main Title theme (Curtin, Hanna, Barbera).
0:25 - GR-248 STREETS OF THE CITY (Green) – Helicopter dialogue scene.
1:34 - jaunty bassoon and skippy strings (Shaindlin) – Editor on phone.
1:42 - GR-93 DRESSED TO KILL (Green) – Snooper at door, editor dialogue scene.
2:28 - GR-334 LIGHT AGITATED BRIDGE (Green) – Helicopter in flight.
2:40 - GR-457 DR QUACK SHORT BRIDGE No 1 (Green) – Snooper and Blabber in snow, “Standing in his footprint!”
2:51 - COMEDY SUSPENSE (Shaindlin) – “Gee, he’s a big one,” Snoop and Blab talk.
3:05 - CAPERS (Shaindlin) – Snowman appears, Snoop pushed through snow.
3:42 - GR-455 THE ARTFUL DODGER BRIDGE No 2 (Green) – Blab with camera, falls through hole.
3:51 - GR-454 THE ARTFUL DODGER BRIDGE No 1 (Green) – Blab with camera, scene fades out.
4:03 - GR-74 POPCORN (Green) – Blab on rope.
4:18 - GR-77 CUSTARD PIE CAPERS (Green) – Blab swings down, Snowman swallows Blab, Blab swings up to cliff.
4:33 - CB-85A STEALTHY MOUSE (Cadkin-Bluestone) – Snoop and Blab on cliff.
4:51 - light symphonic strings (?) – Helicopter in sky, pulled to ground.
5:11 - GR-455 THE ARTFUL DODGER BRIDGE No 2 (Green) – Snooper and Blabber in crashed copter.
5:16 - fast circus chase music (Shaindlin) – Snowman runs into cave, Snooper and Blabber skid to stop.
5:27 - C-C-F# short light underscore (Wheeler?) – Blab makes offer to Snowman, takes picture of Snowman family.
6:17 - comedy flute cue (Green) – Snooper and Blabber in paper airplane, Snowman throws airplane.
6:26 - GR-78 CUSTARD PIE CAPERS BRIDGE No 1 (Green) – Snoop and Blab flying in paper airplane.
6:33 - GR-456 DR QUACK (Green) – Editor talks with Snoop, Snowman peers through window.
6:48 - rising scale music (Shaindlin) – Snowman gloogles, editor eats Snoop’s hat.
7:10 - Snooper and Blabber End Title theme (Curtin).

Tuesday 25 December 2012

A Huckleberry Christmas

Huckleberry Hound never celebrated Christmas on his cartoon show. Seasonal shows were never found in syndication back then. But Christmas could certainly be a plot line in comic books, designed to be bought and not recycled at inappropriate times of the year. So Huck was featured in a holiday season comic that seems to have come out in 1962.

I have no idea who the artist is, and can’t explain the incongruous cover, but I love the Christmas tree drawing. Billie Towzer, our roaming correspondent, sent this last Boxing Day and I’ve been waiting since then for the right time to post it.

Whitman had a series of eight hardback comics. Donald Duck and Bugs Bunny were featured in two of them, the rest had Hanna-Barbera characters (Yogi; Pixie, Dixie and Jinks; Snooper and Blabber and Quick Draw; the Flintstones and Augie Doggie with Loopy De Loop). You can see the covers on the last page. Whether the stories were originally published in Gold Key comics, I don’t know. People well-versed in the comic book world, I’m sure, can add insights.

So I hope you enjoy these 50-year-old Huck stories and are having an enjoyable holiday season. Click to enlarge each picture. My thanks again to Billie for this Christmas gift to you.

Saturday 22 December 2012

Huckleberry Hound — Nuts Over Mutts

Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
Credits: Animation – Ed Love; Layout – Tony Rivera; Backgrounds – Dick Thomas; Story – Warren Foster; Story Director – Alex Lovy; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voices: Huckleberry Hound, Cop – Daws Butler; Narrator, Snickering Dog – Don Messick.
Music: Jack Shaindlin, Bill Loose-John Seely, Geordie Hormel, Raoul Kraushaar.
First Aired: week of December 13, 1960.
Production: Huckleberry Hound Show K-044, Production E-118.
Plot: Huck tries to help a snickering dog.

A dog snickering at someone else’s misfortune certainly was a durable concept at Hanna-Barbera. Most cartoon fans think of Muttley when they hear about the idea, but that kind of character was around long before him or Precious Pupp, who debuted a couple of years earlier. A white, reversible-eared, snickering dog appeared as Huckleberry Hound’s adversary in five cartoons, starting with “Fireman Huck” and “Postman Panic” in the first season, “A Bully Dog” in the second, “Nuts Over Mutts” in the third and “Two For Tee Vee” in the fourth, though the last-named features a big-headed bulldog. The concept actually pre-dates Hanna-Barbera; you can find it in Tex Avery’s wonderful “Bad Luck Blackie” (1949), for example.

Writer Warren Foster follows the same format in this cartoon as in “A Bully Dog.” A narrator sets up the situation, and there is a series of almost-blackout gags as the dog thwarts Huck’s attempt to meet his goal, leaving our hero worse for wear, with the dog snickering to cap the scene.

Probably the most notable thing about this cartoon isn’t the snickering dog. It’s Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera’s product placement. At one point, Huck attempts to lure the snickering dog with Gro-Pup T-Bone Dog Biscuits. They’re a real product. And they’re made by Kellogg’s, which happened to sponsor the Huckleberry Hound Show. It’d be really shameless except for the fact the Huck show was sold/bartered to stations as a complete half-hour package including Kellogg’s ads between the cartoons. So it isn’t much different to have the sponsor’s product in one of the cartoons itself. And that’s the package the dog biscuits came in at the time (they also appear as Snuffles’ favourite snack in several Quick Draw McGraw cartoons).

Ed Love is the animator. As usual, characters have two upper teeth during dialogue. And I like the look he gave the snickering dog during the tippy-toe sequence. But I wonder if Ed was in a hurry to get this cartoon animated. The characters don’t jerk their heads as many angles as they did in early Love cartoons. And some of the drawing isn’t all that pretty. Then, again, it may be because of Tony Rivera’s designs. I’m not crazy about the cop, for example.

The backgrounds are by Dick Thomas. In the opening of this cartoon, he draws buildings as outlines but has buildings as blocks of colour within them, like in the opening of “A Bully Dog.” And there’s one background drawing that simply different shaped rectangles of colours to abstractly indicate buildings. But his skies are a basic light blue and his grass is green; no wild colours like Art Lozzi might try. He has some nice brown shades on the snickering dog’s house.

Let’s run through Foster’s familiar-sounding storyline.

Don Messick’s narration informs us of the job of a city dog catcher, who performs a noble service. The dog catcher in this story is Huck, who gets a chorus of ‘My Darling Clementine,’ re-written especially for his occupation. The idea that a dog (Huck) is capturing other dogs is never satisfactorily explained in any of these Huck/Snickering Dog cartoons. “Yes, a lost dog’s best friend is the dog catcher,” says the narrator before the shot dissolves to a snoozing dog in his doghouse. “But there are some dogs who don’t think so.” Hey, wait a minute. How can he be a “lost” dog if he’s in his yard sleeping next to his dish? “The approaching dog catcher represents fun, fun, fun!” First snicker. Fade out.

The dog pretends to be crippled by hobbling on a crutch. Huck decides to rescue the “aminal.” The dog runs into his yard, slams the door shut and the following Huck smashes into it. “Must be a mighty powerful draft whistlin’ through that yard. Slams the gate shut real hard” Second snicker. Fade out.

“Operation Fish Pole” is next. Huck tosses a bone on a fishing line at the dog. Third snicker. Dog ties fishing line to a car that drives off (it’s 1960 so the car is without tailfins). The car pulls Huck off camera. No violence. Fourth snicker. Fade out.

It’s Gro-Pup T-Bone Dog Biscuit time. A trail of biscuits leads to Huck who plans to corral the dog by dropping a metal garbage can over him. The dog gulps all but the last biscuit. Fifth snicker. Instead, he rushes to a bystanding cop and bites him in the butt. Sixth snicker. The chase is on. Huck corrals the officer instead of the dog. The annoyed cop drags Huck away. Seventh snicker. “A little lost dog, eh? Wait till the sergeant hears this one.” Fade out.

Huck’s been released with a suspended sentence, a warning and a $200 fine. Cut to the dog rolling down the street on top of a tire, croaking “beep.” Huck’s pleased to see the dog’s leg has “healed” (though he’s seen the dog in two other scenes since the crutch gag) but discovers the wheel’s been stolen from his van. The dog ends up bouncing the wheel off Huck’s head (burying Huck into the sidewalk) then kicking it at the running Huck, who lands flat on his back. He’s not drawn crumpled or anything; he looks perfectly normal. Foster’s line is the tired: “Well, he let me have it, alright.”

Huck reaches into the dog’s house and pulls out the dog chomped down on his arm (like in “A Bully Dog”). “I got a firm grip on you I have.” Eighth snicker. Fade out. Meanwhile, the cop’s on the phone. “Stolen dog, eh? Right out of a dog house.” Huck strolls by with the dog on his arm singing his modified version of “Clementine.” Cut to a scene of Huck in jail. The camera pulls back to reveal the dog on his arm. “He won’t be roamin’ the streets—for 30 days, at least.” Ninth snicker. Fade out. All done.

Let’s face it. Foster doesn’t give Huck a lot of witty cracks to the camera and Love could have just as easily drawn a mashed-up-looking Huck after being bashed around because only the mouth moves anyway. But these guys were under an incredible workload. Foster was writing the entire Huck series, plus a bunch of The Flintstones and Loopy De Loop theatrical shorts.

The cop isn’t Irish in this one. Daws gives him a W.C. Fields voice. Maybe it was because of Fields’ reputation with dogs.

There’s lots of running in this cartoon so Jack Shaindlin’s “On the Run” gets a lot of use. Shaindlin’s sad trombone/violin music during the crutch sequence works well. Having Huck sing “Clementine” (at length) while stock music is in the background at the end is really dissonant and I have no idea why it was done.

0:00 - Huckleberry Hound Sub Main Title Theme (Curtin).
0:14 - LAF-21-3 RECESS (Shaindlin) – Narrator speaks.
0:32 - Clementine (trad.) – Huck sings, “But there are some dogs…”
0:55 - 7-MR-183 creepy muted reverb trumpet music (Kraushaar) – “…who don’t think so”, dog tippy-toes, snicker, Huck in truck.
1:29 - LAF-72-3 sad trombone music (Shaindlin) – Dog on crutch, Huck tells dog he’ll rescue it.
1:53 - LAF-2-12 ON THE RUN (Shaindlin) – Dog runs, closes gate, Huck crashes.
2:02 - TC-301 ZANY WALTZ (Loose-Seely) – Huck flops to ground, snicker.
2:16 - LAF-21-3 RECESS (Shaindlin) – Huck with fishing rod, snicker, dog ties fishing line to car, car drives away.
2:53 - LAF-20-5 TOBOGGAN RUN (Shaindlin) – Fishing line unreeling, Huck pulled away, snickering.
3:16 - LAF-27-6 UNTITLED TUNE (Shaindlin) – Huck with dog biscuits, snicker, dog bites cop, “Come back here, you mutt.”
4:04 - ZR-47 LIGHT MOVEMENT (Hormel) – Dog runs, Huck catches cop in garbage can, Huck dragged away, snicker.
4:39 - C-14 DOMESTIC LIGHT (Loose) – Huck on sidewalk, dog on tire, truck missing tire, Huck dashes out of scene.
5:12 - LAF-2-12 ON THE RUN (Shaindlin) – Huck runs down street, wheel on Huck’s head.
5:33 - 8-MR-377 creepy muted reverb trumpet music (Kraushaar) – Huck in hole in pavement, dog on wheel.
5:44 - LAF-2-12 ON THE RUN (Shaindlin) – Huck runs down street, tire crashes into Huck, dog on Huck’s arm, snicker.
6:14 - LAF-7-12 FUN ON ICE (Shaindlin) – Cop on phone, Huck walks with dog on arm, Huck and dog in jail, snicker.
6:58 - Huckleberry Hound Sub End Title theme (Curtin).

Thursday 20 December 2012

Christmas Flintstone

Hanna-Barbera’s first attempt at a Christmas cartoon was “Christmas Flintstone” which aired in a brand-new Friday Flintstones time slot at 7:30 p.m. on December 25, 1964. It was a comparatively ambitious endeavour, with John McCarthy called on to write a couple of original songs and Hoyt Curtin adding Christmassy background music (with trombones and a nice little beat in one part) to his regular mix of cues.

Some of the backgrounds are pretty nice, too. We mentioned a couple of years ago on the blog about the rather unsubtle plug for Flintstones Building Blocks in the final shot of the cartoon. Well, that isn’t the only far-too-obvious product placement. Check out the toy department in the store that hires Fred to be its Santa Claus.

Shockingly, you could buy Pebbles, Bamm Bamm, Dino and Baby Puss dolls just like the ones on the cartoon! As you probably know, the whole reason Pebbles came into being was because Ideal Toys wanted a Flintstones doll character to hawk.

Here are a few of the snowscapes in the cartoon.

There’s a background continuity error (yes, we’re humbugish enough to point this out). Fred goes from inside his house to outside. Here are the backgrounds.

You can see the door is open on the inside but closed on the outside. How did the door get closed? Fred didn’t do it. And where’d the lamp go? And the build up of snow outside the door? And how did the doorknob change sides? And the wreath? And the door colour? Maybe… maybe it was the work of the Spirit of Christmas.

The funniest background is the one where Dino runs from his basket. Look at the women dinosaur pin-ups! Rowrr!

The old guard of Bob Gentle, Monte and Art Lozzi didn’t have a hand in this cartoon. The old guard was giving way to new artists. The backgrounds are credited to Phil Lewis, Rene Garcia and Don Watson. Lewis started as an in-betweener during the last gasps of the Warners Bros. studio. He died a couple of years ago. Rene worked on a bunch of shows in the mid to late ‘60s. Someone on Tumblr posted this great colour picture of him with some Flintstones backgrounds.Watson worked on a pile of H-B shows in the ‘60s as well and was still drawing until at least a few years ago. All three of them ended up at Filmation at one time or another.

The Flintstones began its nose-dive for me when Pebbles showed up and then really started tiring before it lurched into its sixth and final season (Gerry Johnson, Hoppy, Gazoo, Gruesomes, Bewitched characters in the Stone Age and sunshine-singing kids all took a toll). But the show was still capable of good episodes after Bea Benaderet was summarily dismissed and this was one of them. You can credit the fine performance of Alan Reed, Warren Foster’s story and even some of the wintery landscapes.

Monday 17 December 2012

Flintstones Weekend Comics, December 1962

It’s a little tough to pick out a favourite panel from the weekend Flintstone comics for this month 50 years ago. The dinosaur reindeer are great, but I love the multiple flipping Freds on December 9th.

All four main cast members, Dino and Baby Puss make appearances. Gene Hazelton’s kid creations, Amber and Pee-Wee (a boy), only made it into the Flintstones dailies this month. I couldn’t begin to guess who the artist is on these.

Wilma’s a blonde in the December 2nd comic. Dino is helpfully holding a copy of the Bedrock News in the opening panel. We get a back view of the annoyed Wilma. I can’t find any secret messages in the blocks in the final panel. Dinosaurs apparently roam the neighbourhood.

I didn’t make a note of the three-row version I found so we’ll have to be content with a two-row version of the December 9th comic from the Windsor Star (which appeared the day before in Canadian newspapers as they didn’t publish on Sundays then). The multiple Freds and the long tongue on Fred in the final panel are just great. The sidebar strip accompanied both the weekend and daily Flintstones in the Star. Whether it was supplied by the syndicate or a concoction of the paper, I don’t know, but for reasons that are lost to time, it features Fred, Barney, Wilma and some unidentified woman instead of Betty. Maybe it was Barney’s first wife. There’s a Gerry Johnson joke in here somewhere but we must move on.

The stupid version of Barney appears on December 16th. Fred’s got one of those George Nicholas wavy mouths in the final panel. Today’s odd sound effect is “Voing!”

What you say? The reindeer’s name is Irving? (feel free to read those sentences in any of the New York accents). It doesn’t appear the writer (Hazelton?) fit in the names of any Hanna-Barbera employees in the December 23rd Christmas edition comic. Wilma asks the same question in the first panel that was on my mind. The dinosaurs with the strap-on reindeer antlers are pretty neat. Note how Dino makes a cameo appearance in the first panel with his head peeking out behind the door.

Great expressions on Wilma and Betty in the final two panels in the December 30th comic. Check out what’s in the background. Baby Puss is running away in the opening panel, there’s an exploding volcano in the first panel of the second row with Dino a little closer to the foreground (it’s impossible to tell it’s him in this particular photocopy). I think the store in the first panel of the third row has an ‘Acme’ sign.

As I mentioned with the Yogi weekend comics, it’s become too difficult and time-consuming to track down decent quality versions of these strips and one large source of newspapers has dried up for me so I suspect I’ll discontinue posting these.

Saturday 15 December 2012

Pixie and Dixie — High Jinks

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – Dick Lundy, Layout – Tony Rivera, Backgrounds – Art Lozzi, Story – Warren Foster, Story Direction – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Pixie, “Moon Cat” – Don Messick; Dixie, Jinks – Daws Butler.
Music: Bill Loose/John Seely, Jack Shaindlin, Spencer Moore, Raoul Kraushaar.
Production: Huckleberry Hound Show K-043, Production E-109.
First Aired: week of April 17, 1961.
Plot: Jinks puts Pixie and Dixie in a rocket to the moon, but it lands in a cheese factory instead.

“So, like, I’m moody,” Mr. Jinks tells the TV viewer, after chasing Pixie and Dixie back into their mouse hole near the start of High Jinks. That would possibly explain why Jinks would spend his time building a rocket with the idea of shooting the meeces to the moon, then turn around and rescue them from danger, then turn around the chase them with a broom. Perhaps Jinks felt he was the only one who could abuse Pixie and Dixie and took umbrage at other cats who did.

Of course, that’s just in this cartoon. The relationship between the cat and meeces wasn’t consistent through the whole series, even after Warren Foster took over following the first year to write the remaining three seasons. In High Jinks, Pixie and Dixie consider Jinks a friend, albeit one they’re wary of. But the meeces are also pretty ignorant. They have no trouble believing the highly-unlikely situation that Jinks has sent them to the moon, then he somehow came up there to rescue them, and then somehow got back to Earth on his own.

Even setting that aside, this cartoon is below-average for Foster. There’s a lot of dialogue that’s purely situational; the characters describe what is happening or what is about to happen. There are no bright quips. And there’s no adversarial give-and-take between Jinks and Pixie and Dixie. The two meeces are passive through the whole cartoon; they don’t initiate anything, they’re just kind of victims of the plot. The only violence Jinks experiences in the whole cartoon is when his rocket swooshes into the sky and the trail of flames burns him.

Veteran Dick Lundy handles the animation from Tony Rivera’s layouts. It’s competent. I like Lundy and I wish there was something really interesting to point out about his work here. Jinks wags his head a couple of times. Lundy sure likely big eyes. See how he draws the main characters.

Rivera only has one other character to design in the cartoon, the brown-coloured cat with the growly voice that appears in various guises over the course of the series. This time, the cat seems to have a squashed head. Rivera designed all the props as well. He couldn’t have come up with a simpler drawing of a moon rocket.

Art Lozzi’s backgrounds aren’t all that daring. Like the animation, the interiors are functional; there’s a drawing of wall decorated only with a shadow and a baseboard that’s repeated in the chase sequences. The inside of the mouse hole has sloppy caulking between the boards (Dick Thomas drew the same sort of thing). The exteriors are nice enough. We get a shot of the Jinks/Meece residence which doesn’t appear to be in a suburban neighbourhood (there are no other homes or even a fence) with a glowing full moon. And there’s a street scene with a green sidewalk (that sounds more like Lozzi) and brick buildings of different pastel shades. The scaffolding and lamp post are the same as other Lozzi cartoons.

As for the story, Pixie and Dixie decide to investigate the hammering in the basement, but an electronic eye sets off an alarm and Jinks chases them back into their hole (Jinks’ misspelling “Back! B-A-K, Back!” is the gag here). The cat reveals to the audience he’s built a rocket. When he explains to the meeces he’s sending them on a free trip that’ll make them famous—to the moon, they get somewhat wide-eyed and zoom back into their hole (Pixie: “Did he say the moon? Dixie: “You heard it, too). Jinks gets them out with a canister of laughing gas. The meeces suddenly stop laughing when they’re placed in the nose of the rocket. Then they faint. The cartoon’s more than half over.

Jinks uses a dynamite plunger to set off the rocket which crashes through the roof of a cheese factory. Jinks purposely strolls over. Meanwhile, the rocket has landed in a wheel of cheese. The meeces think they’re on the moon because, after all, the moon was made of cheese until 1969. And Pixie thinks the other wheels of cheese are “a lot of other moons.” What? Why would moons be in a building with wooden crates? Their cheese-tasting plan is interrupted by the warehouse’s cat who says to the meeces, “Welcome, angels.” What? Are there angels on the moon? The cat picks up the moon talk and explains he’s “the man in the moon’s pussy cat.” The meeces make a run for it. We never do see the “moon cat” capture them or even chase them. Instead, we get a budget-saving walk cycle of Jinks who hears the commotion. He realises his meeces are in trouble so he makes a quick dash (to save drawings again, Jinks is shown horizontal in mid-air and the next drawing is simply coloured lines to indicate he’s zoomed away). Cut to the brown cat holding the meeces with only his upper body showing so the legs don’t have to be animated. He walks into Jinks’ fist. Jinks sneers at the “moon cat.”

So how will they all get back to Earth? Yes, the meeces still think they’re on the moon. Jinks holds the mice-ensconced rocket above his head, ready to throw it back to Earth. But, for some reason, they’re not in the downtown area now. They’re on a lawn that’s exactly like the one belonging to the Jinks/Pixie and Dixie home. Dixie asks how Jinks will get back. “That does not matter. I’m just a old, mean pussy-cat.” Jinks tosses the rocket and it lands against a table in their living room. Pixie starts crying because Jinksie is stranded on the moon. Well, of course, he’s not, and he pokes his head through a window. The meeces promise to do anything he says for saving their lives. Jinks yells at them to “Get back into your meece hole! Back! B-A-K, back.” Cut to Jinks chasing Pixie and Dixie with a broom. They’re smiling as they dodge the broom because they’re happy to be home. So the cartoon ends with a chase.

The Hanna-Barbera “pop” sound accompanies the realisation by the meeces that Jinks is sending them into space (it’s the sound the studio used for dripping water). As for the music, the sound-cutter changes cues in mid-scene a couple of times. The music is all familiar stuff. Nothing by Geordie Hormel this time. There’s a brief part of a scene where there’s no music—it’s when the meeces snap out of their laughing fit, stretch their bodies up, roll their eyes and faint. It works well.

0:00 - Pixie and Dixie Main Title theme (Hanna-Barbera-Curtin-Shows).
0:13 - C-3 DOMESTIC CHILDREN (Loose) – Pixie and Dixie read, alarm activates.
0:51 - LAF-72-2 RODEO DAY (Shaindlin) – Pixie and Dixie run, in hole, “really riled up.”
1:14 - L-75 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – “Yeah, he’s a mean one…”, Jinks talks to himself.
1:33 - L-80 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – Shot of house, Jinks in basement, moon trip offer, meeces run away, laughing gas canister, Pixie starts laughing.
3:02 - TC-437 SHOPPING DAY (Loose-Seely) – “Jinksie wants to send us,” Jinks puts meeces in rocket, Jinks outside rocket.
3:45 - no music – Pixie and Dixie inside rocket, faint.
3:52 - 7-MR-183 creepy muted reverb trumpet music (Kraushaar) – Meeces crash to floor, rocket shot into sky.
4:05 - LAF-2-12 ON THE RUN (Shaindlin) – Shot of Jinks burned, rocket crashes into cheese factory, shot of cheese, “Hey, Dixie.”
4:27 - TC-432 HOLLY DAY (Loose-Seely) – “You okay?”, brown cat wakes up, tries to grab meeces.
4:57 - LAF-74-2 LICKETY SPLIT (Shaindlin) – Meece run away, Jinks runs to the rescue, punches brown cat, thud.
5:22 - L-75 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – “You are, like, so right,” Jinks throws rocket, crashes, meeces in living room, Jinks talks to meeces through window.
6:39 - LAF-74-4 fast rising scale music (Shaindlin) – Jinks yells at meeces, chases them with broom.
6:58 - Pixie and Dixie End Title theme (Curtin).