Saturday, 28 July 2012

Quick Draw McGraw — Slick City Slicker

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – Dick Lundy; Layout – Dick Bickenbach; Backgrounds – Bob Gentle; Story – Mike Maltese; Story Direction – Alex Lovy; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Quick Draw, Baba Looey, Desk Clerk – Daws Butler; Narrator, Raindrop Kid, Man in Tub – Hal Smith.
Music: Harry Bluestone/Emil Cadkin, Phil Green, Jack Shaindlin, unknown.
First aired: week of December 14, 1959 (rerun, week of June 13, 1960)
Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-012, Production J-37.
Plot: In old San Francisco, Quick Draw tries to bring the Raindrop Kid to justice.

The highlight of this cartoon is writer Mike Maltese borrowing from his Oscar-nominated short “Mouse Wreckers” (1949), where Hubie and Bertie nail everything from the floor onto the ceiling to screw with Claude Cat’s mind. Here, Baba Looey does it to the robbing Raindrop Kid in a successful attempt to get him to give himself up. Of course, Quick Draw is such a dope that he falls for the ceiling-is-the-floor bit as well, and that’s where we leave the hero and bad guy as the cartoon ends.

Maltese also supplies us with a string of Wile E. Coyote-ish failed capture attempts, a running gag and a pun or two. Dick Bickenbach came up with a sharp-nosed design for Sylvester P. Successful aka the Raindrop Kid. Dick Lundy brings him to life and animates portions of the cartoon on ones, not something terribly common at Hanna-Barbera at the time.

It’s a shame the only versions of this cartoon out there appear to be from TV networks broadcasting someone’s muddy VHS tape. You can’t see the detail in Bob Gentle’s opening stylised panorama of the San Francisco waterfront. The camera pans left past turreted buildings (one appears to take up all of Nob Hill), hills in the distance in the midst of the water (looking more like Vancouver than San Francisco) and rail tracks in front. Maltese sets it up with narration by Hal Smith.

Narrator: This is San Francisco in the late 19th century. Hive of activity in the social whirl, where royalty mixed with scoundrels, is the plush Bella Crystal Hotel.

The camera cuts to a shot of the Raindrop Kid checking into the hotel. Baba Looey is disguised as a bellboy. The narrator (saying “Psst!”) has a confidential message for Baba. The Kid is carrying the stolen Bells Far-to-go money. “Don’t you thin’ I know it,” the annoyed burro replies. We know it, too, because it says so right on the bag. Putting obvious labels on bags is something Maltese was doing as far back as the late ‘40s when he was writing comic books.

Enter Quick Draw McGraw “pretending to be a country bumpkin,” staring at the ceiling “at all the lights and fancy thangs,” kind of a variation of what Bugs Bunny did in “Barbary Coast Bunny” (1956), written for the Jones unit by Tedd Pierce while Maltese was working at the Walter Lantz studio. Quick Draw does the Lundy snout roll when he tells Baba he’s a hayseed “and doooon’t you forget it.” “Gee,” Baba tells the audience, “I betch you Quicksdraw get a Oscar for thees.” The silly thing is he never really uses the disguise to try to arrest the Kid. The concept is dropped in the very next scene.

Here are the routines Quick Draw uses to try to arrest the Kid in his hotel room.

● Baba knocks at door with a pitcher of ice-water. When Kid answers, Quick Draw announces he’s under arrest. Kid clobbers him with a cane. “Ees qood for the head lomps,” says Baba as he pours the water on Quick Draw.
● Baba swings from a rope to Kid’s open window. Kid has a tennis racquet. He’s ready to “play ball with Quicksdraw McGraw” by volleying Baba back like he’s a ball.

● Quick Draw swings from the rope. Into the wrong window. He lands in an Englishman’s bathtub. “I say, old boy, have we been properly introduced?” It’s the start of a running gag.
● Quick Draw shinnies down a rope to the Kid’s window. An arm with a pair of scissors emerges. “Hold it. You’re supposed to be shiverin’ with fright on account of I’m Quick Draw...” The scissors cut the rope. “...McGraw.” Fortunately, our hero lands in the hotel’s awning, which shoots him back up outside the window. After avoiding Kid’s cane twice, he gets clobbered the second time. Down he goes.
● Kid clobbers a plank that Quick Draw uses to try to get in the back window. The vibrations knock him off the plank, onto a flagpole, through a window and into the Englishman’s bathtub. “By George, I have it! Didn’t we meet in an African yak hunt?” Maltese is setting up for the kind of dialogue he’d later use between Snagglepuss and Major Minor.

● Baba knocks at Kid’s door, saying he’s a cane salesman. “I theen this one will make an impression on you.” You know what’s coming. He clobbers the Kid unconscious.
● Baba uses the time to switch the floor with the ceiling of Kid’s room. Lundy and Maltese didn’t have the budget of the Hubie and Bertie cartoon with the similar upside-down, head-game scene, so instead of expression and music to set the mood like at Warners, this cartoon uses dialogue (and a head-shake cycle) out of necessity. Some of the dialogue is off-camera, meaning the shots are of Baba Looey at the door not doing much of anything. And the meandering, low-key Emil Cadkin/Harry Bluestone music in the background just doesn’t suit what should be the climax of the plot.

I love the Today’s-Modern-City-of-1955 music that opens the cartoon. But if you know which library it came from, you’re doing better than I am. The sound cutter uses a whole pile of Bluestone-Cadkin cues which strikes me as something unusual for Quick Draw cartoon.

0:00 - Quick Draw McGraw Sub-Main Title theme (Curtin)
0:15 - Metropolitan music (?) – shot of San Francisco, Raindrop signs register.
0:40 - CB-86A HIDE AND SEEK (Bluestone-Cadkin) – “Only unjailed member...,” Baba as bellboy, “Psst. Hey, Baba.”
1:08 - CB-87A COME AND GET ME (Bluestone-Cadkin) – “That’s the stolen Bells Far-to-go money,” Baba follows Raindrop.
1:22 - GR-472 HICKSVILLE (Green) – Quick Draw as bumpkin, Raindrop clobbers Quick Draw.
2:36 - CB-86A HIDE AND SEEK (Bluestone-Cadkin) – Slingshot scene, Quick Draw on rope.
3:10 - CB-83A MR TIPPY TOES (Bluestone-Cadkin) – Quick Draw swings on rope, bathtub scene.
3:24 - GR-248 STREETS OF THE CITY (Green) – Quick Draw on rope, “mercy” scene, in bathtub.
5:01 - CB-87A COME AND GET ME (Bluestone-Cadkin) – Baba with cane, room switch scene, Baba talks to Quick Draw.
6:31 - ‘FIREMAN’ (Shaindlin) – “I’m a comin’ on in,” Quick Draw and Raindrop leap upward.
7:00 - Quick Draw McGraw Sub End Title theme (Curtin).


  1. Let's do something to get these great cartoons back on the air on either CN or Boomerang;what do we have to do to make them start showing them once more.

  2. "Yowp-Yowp" Dodsworth and friends,

    There's a part from this Quick Draw McGraw episode which was animated by Don Patterson (albeit this episode having been animated by the Disney member Dick Lundy), which's the scene where Quick Draw ends landing into the Englishman's bathtub. I could identify the Don Patterson's animation by the angular movements.

  3. I have this cartoon in Super 8, and I love it!