Saturday, 5 May 2012

Quick Draw McGraw — Gun Gone Goons

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Animation – Dick Lundy; Layout – Walt Clinton; Backgrounds – ?; Story – Mike Maltese; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson (no credits).
Voice Cast: Quick Draw, Baba Looey, Townsman 1, Townsman 3, Bartender – Daws Butler; Narrator, Slippery Earl Slick, Wyoming Willie, Townsman 2, Townsman 4 – Doug Young.
Music: Hoyt Curtin, Phil Green, Geordie Hormel, Harry Bluestone/Emil Cadkin, Jack Shaindlin.
First Aired: Week of Jan. 11, 1960 (repeat, week of July 4, 1960)
Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-016, Production J-49
Plot: Quick Draw comes out of retirement to vanquish old foe, Slippery Earl Slick.

How can you not like a cartoon with Western dialogue like this?

Bartender: What’s your pleasure, stranger?
Quick Draw: Croquet. But I’ll have a glass of parsnip juice.

Mike Maltese gives us a bunch of his old dialogue favourites in this cartoon. We get characters echoing the narrator, old groaners and a silly running gag. And there’s an ending like Maltese used in ‘Double Barrel Double’ and ‘El Kabong,’ where Baba suddenly pops out of hiding to capture the bad guy.

The soundtrack pretty well carries the cartoon. There’s nothing out of the ordinary in Dick Lundy’s animation; even without the credits, you can tell it’s Lundy because Quick Draw lifts his snout at an angle and it twists back and forth. Walt Clinton’s incidental characters are a little less stylised than he came up with other cartoons, though Lundy draws them with lots of teeth. But I like Clinton’s opening layout drawn by, well, I don’t know. Dick Thomas and Vera Hanson had the same kind of two-tone, rose-coloured plateaus in the background in Quick Draw cartoons they worked on. Bob Gentle also did in a Yogi Bear cartoon except the mountain shades were green. I was leaning toward Gentle but it might be Thomas. The angular cacti are a nice little frame.

One of my favourite bits in this cartoon sounds like it came from a third-rate vaudeville act. Normally, that’d induce groans. But Daws Butler makes it work because of the stupid voice that he uses for Quick Draw. Our hero and Baba Looey are outside a hotel saloon. The shot is taking from inside so the swinging doors are blocking Quick Draw’s view.

Baba: Look, Quickstraw! Here comes Slick.
Quick Draw: Where? I don’t see nothin’.
Baba: I thin’ you see better if you open the door.
Quick Draw pushes the doors open.
Quick Draw: Hmm. I thin’ you’re right, Baba boy.

I have no right to laugh at such an obvious, old-hat joke, but it’s just so dumb, it’s perfect. That probably sums up Quick Draw’s appeal for me. He’s just so incredibly stupid (without being a total moron) but completely oblivious to it all. He’s the perfect character for someone like Maltese, who deftly puts together puns, old hoke, and logic out of left field in his best cartoons.

This one opens with the aforementioned establishing shot and Quick Draw talking to the narrator, a device that brings the viewer into the story and makes the characters more likeable. Quick Draw tells Baba “I think I’m hangin’ my guns up for good” (immediately after the narrator says the same thing) and decides to write his memoirs, which becomes the cartoon’s running gag.

Maltese takes a bit of a detour before we get to the actual plot of the cartoon. He reprises the Western “fastest gun alive” cliché that he used in the opening of “Scary Prairie.” Wyoming Willie rides into town for a dual with Quick Draw to prove he’s the fastest gun alive. Quick Draw apologises, but informs the bad guy he’s retired. In a TV Western, gunfire would result. Instead, the childishly-disappointed Willie slinks away, moaning “Gosh,” “Pshaw” and “Gee Willikers.”

Cut to a pan of a city street (with buildings at an angle on either side). Earl Slick is swindling people with phoney stock in an oil well that’s bringing in a hundred barrels a day (“No oil. Just barrels,” he confides in the audience). Maltese tosses in one of his repetition-dialogue gags.

Narrator: But it wasn’t long before the people realised they had been victimised and bilk-t of their funds.
Man wearing barrel: I just realised I have been victimised and bilk-t of my funds.

Lundy avoids making the scene completely static by having the man look down at the barrel he’s wearing, then turning his head to look down at the barrels the other three men in the scene are wearing.

The men march (with Phil Green’s “Toyland Parade” in the background) to Quick Draw and convince him to strap on his guns and settle an old score with Slick (who sold Quick Draw the Grand Canyon “as a receptacle for olllld razor blades”). A cute gag Quick Draw blowing dust off the six-shooters, firing them, and then squeaking moths fly out of the barrels. The cartoon’s half over.

Quick Draw disguises himself as “a simple, naïve, rich country boy” and enters Slick’s bar with a bag of cash. But Baba Quick Draw’s so dumb, he gets suckered into buying shares in Slick’s phoney oil well. Baba points out who’s just cheated him. “It was?” he says, looking confused at the camera, then indignantly repeats “It was?!” A fine job by Daws again.

The chase is on. Slick drops the bag of cash from a window of a hotel room to the ground below. Quick Draw’s already worked out what he wants to do and demands that Slick stay in the room until he can run him out of town—and tosses the bag back to him. Slick responds by dropping a dresser on him.

The chase resumes, with Slick and Quick Draw both commenting to the audience as they swing from a rope through the air and slide along the bar counter top. Slick pulls an impossible gag by pulling the window along the wall so Quick Draw slides through it and into a water-filled trough. “Glub! Glub!” shouts Quick Draw to Baba Looey. Ah, but the crafty burro is hiding in the bag of money, from which he pops out with a gun to stop Slick from heading to “Frisco and some jolly fun.” (Maltese had the bad guy “off to Mardi Gras and some jolly fun” in ‘Riverboat Shuffled’ and “San Francisco and a good time” in ‘Two Too Much.’

In the wind-up, Quick Draw is back writing his memoirs—in the trough.

Baba: Hey, Quickstraw. I thought you was drownding.
Quick Draw: Not till after I finish my book, Baba boy. Um, how do you spell “I can’t swim. Glub, glub”?

The soundtrack is notable for the stretches where the sound cutter doesn’t use the standard cue library but, instead, tosses in a honky-tonk piano playing the Quick Draw McGraw theme. I suspect the music was recorded to use in the background of the bumpers between cartoons on the Quick Draw show. It’s very effective.

0:00 – Quick Draw McGraw sub-main title theme (Curtin).
0:15 – ZR-39A WESTERN SONG (Hormel) – Opening shot of cabin, Quick Draw talks with narrator, writes on porch.
0:45 – (THAT’S) QUICK DRAW McGRAW (Curtin) – Wyoming Willie scene.
1:32 – CB-87A COME AND GET ME (Cadkin-Bluestone) – Pan over town, Slick in office.
1:58 – CB-86A HIDE AND SEEK (Cadkin-Bluestone) – Swindle scene.
2:23 – GR-253 TOYLAND PARADE (Green) – Townsmen in barrels walk, meet Quick Draw, moths in guns.
3:23 – (THAT’S) QUICK DRAW McGRAW (Curtin) – Quick Draw walks into Slick’s Place, bartender presses button.
3:51 – CAPERS (Shaindlin) – Slick reacts to alarm, grabs bag of money, “Hold on thar!”
4:36 – LFU-117-3 MAD RUSH No. 3 (Shaindlin) – Quick Draw runs up stairs, “Vamoose with the money.”
4:47 – GR-472 HICKSVILLE (Green) – Slick drops bag of money, Quick Draw gives it back, dresser, Quick Draw’s head in drawer.
5:14 – (THAT’S) QUICK DRAW McGRAW (Curtin) – Quick Draw and Baba at saloon doors, shot of Slick.
5:29 – SIX DAY BICYCLE RACE (Shaindlin) – Quick Draw runs up stairs, slides on bar counter, glug glug, “And some jolly fun!”
6:16 – (THAT’S) QUICK DRAW McGRAW (Curtin) – Baba pops out of bag, Quick Draw in trough.
6:42 – Quick Draw McGraw sub-end title theme (Curtin)


  1. "Yowp-Yowp" Dodsworth and HB-fans from the whole world,

    I could notice that the Hoyt Curtin's original music score from The Quick Draw McGraw Show (Hanna-Barbera/Columbia Pictures, 1959-62) have been being used on this Quick Draw McGraw episode.

  2. Ah, just more reasons that Mike Maltese, along with Carl Barks, are my heroes!

    Whenever I’ve had the privilege of writing a comic book script, I’ve always looked to them for inspiration!

  3. Is Quick Draw McGraw an impression of someone? The reason i ask is because, most of the characters of incredible Daws Butler are impressions of famous and non-famous people? Is it the same with Quick Draw?

  4. I’ve heard it said, several times, that QD was supposed to be Red Skelton. Though I used to watch Skelton’s variety show in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, and I can’t really say I saw that.

    Then again, I never drew any parallels between Huck and Andy Griffith either.

  5. Well, it's certainly not Sheriff Deadeye. You can go on YT and watch some of his old routines. It doesn't sound like Skelton's Clem Caddiddlehopper, either, who got parodied in cartoons elsewhere.
    Huck and Andy have the same accent. And Andy Taylor was pretty laid back.

  6. It was written somewhere on the web, that Quick Draw McGraw was an exaggerated Gary Cooper. For instance, in his western films, Cooper would say: "Now Hold on There" and Quickdraw would say: "Now Hooooooold on There".

  7. "If the good guy can swing on a chandelier, why not the bad guy?" A quintessential example of how Maltese lovingly deconstructs all of the cliches of whatever genre he's parodying.

  8. "Yowp-Yowp" Dodsworth and HB-fans from the whole world,

    This chemistry which involves the Dick Lundy's animation and the Walter Clinton's designs also works in another Quick Draw McGraw episode: Ali Baba Looey (from the 2nd season); as also on the Flintstones episode The Sweepstakes Ticket.

  9. The Cisco Kid on radio, said "Now hold on there", a lot more than Gary Cooper ever did.