Saturday, 4 August 2012

Pixie and Dixie — Pied Piper Pipe

Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
Credits: Animation – Don Patterson; Layout – Walt Clinton; Backgrounds – Bob Gentle; Story – Warren Foster; Story Direction – Alex Lovy; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Pixie, Dog – Don Messick; Dixie, Jinks – Daws Butler.
Music: Bill Loose/John Seely, Hoyt Curtin, Spence Moore, Jack Shaindlin, Geordie Hormel, Raoul Kraushaar?
First Aired: week of September 26, 1960.
Production: Huckleberry Hound Show K-040.
Plot: Getting an idea from the book “The Pied Piper,” Jinks makes a pipe that forces Pixie and Dixie to dance.

Hanna-Barbera cartoons didn’t go in for old song references all that often, but there’s one in “Piped Piper Pipe.” The premise of the cartoon is simple. The evil Mr. Jinks sits down and reads “The Piped Piper of Hamelin,” only to learn that a pipe playing music can control mice. He carves a pipe and tests it on Pixie and Dixie. It works. The meeces can’t stop dancing when Jinksie plays. Regrouping in their mouse hole, the scene opens with:

Dixie: We’ve got to figure out somethin’, Pixie. I’m dancin’ with tears in my eyes.

The song in question is “Dancing With Tears in My Eyes” by Al Dubin and Joe Burke, a waltz written some 30 years before Warren Foster wrote this cartoon. To accent the “tears” bit, Dixie has his eyes closed. The split-in-half triangles for eyes tells you this cartoon was animated by Don Patterson.

This is a pleasant but fairly unspectacular cartoon. Jinks talks to himself (and, by extension, to the viewers). Pixie and Dixie talk to each other. Jinks talks to Pixie and Dixie. By 1960, the Hanna-Barbera shorts were becoming pretty dependent on dialogue. Chases? No long ones in this cartoon; there’s a six-second dollop of Jack Shaindlin’s “On the Run” accompanying the only chase scene. Violence gags? The bulldog next door jumps on Jinks. The meece get smashed with a fly-swatter. That’s it. No fun takes like you’d find in “Uncle Tex” or “Judo Jack” in the first season.

We’ve already explained half the story. Jinks declares the pipe “is the greatest thing since catnip. I’m drunnnk with power!” Dixie gets an idea—he puts a dog whistle into the pipe, so when Jinks blows it, he’ll annoy the bulldog next door and get clobbered. And that’s exactly what happens. And that’s what happens instead of the pipe giving the meece “a terpsichorean time-step.” “It don’t play musical music no more,” says Jinks, just before the bulldog grabs him by the throat. The bulldog only growls in this cartoon; considering the talky nature of the cartoon, it’s a surprise Foster didn’t give him any dialogue but it’s not really needed and there isn’t time for it in the cartoon anyway.

The final scene has one of those story devices that seems to have been popular on “The Flintstones,” where Fred begins to confess something to Wilma that the audience has seen, then the scene cuts to the point where Fred has finished telling the story and says “And that’s the whole thing.” Pixie and Dixie do the same thing here. We never hear the story they tell Jinks and we don’t need to because we know it.

The cartoon ends with a deal. If Jinks breaks his pied piper pipe, the meece will break the dog whistle. Pixie and Dixie toddle off happily as Jinks tells them they’re “good-type meeces, like.” When they’re gone, Jinks reveals to us he’ll make another pipe. Cut to Pixie and Dixie in their mouse hole. Dixie kept part of the dog whistle, just in case. The pair look at the camera and together admit “We just don’t trust that Jinksie.” And the cartoon ends like so many H-B cartoons in the future—with the characters giggling as the scene fades out.

There are six drawings in the little jig that Patterson animates. The first and fourth drawings are held for only one frame, the second and fifth for three frames and the third and sixth are on fours.

There’s a sneak cycle that Patterson draws where Dixie’s leg is extended out and the body brought to it in the next drawing that’s effective.

The most fun part of the soundtrack is to hear a solo flute version of the Augie Doggie theme when Jinks plays his pipe. It’s a rare departure from the stock music and a conscious decision would have been made to use it. Stock music wouldn’t have worked, even if the Capitol Hi-Q “X” series had a solo flute or recorder piece. Old familiar favourites make up the rest of the score. “On the Run” is only used for the brief period when Pixie and Dixie are actually running.

0:00 - Pixie and Dixie Main Title theme (Curtin-Hanna-Barbera-Shows)
0:12 - C-3 DOMESTIC CHILDREN (Loose) – Jinks reads Pied Pipe Story, makes pipe.
1:17 - Augie Doggie Theme (Curtin) – Jinks plays flute, meece dance, drop off table.
1:41 - L-80 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – Jinks tells meece he has a secret weapon, meece look at book, no cotton in the medicine cabinet, Jinks brings down fly swatter.
3:05 - LAF-2-12 ON THE RUN (Shaindlin) – Pixie and Dixie run into hole.
3:11 - creepy muted trumpet music (Kraushaar?) – Jinks talks to meece at hole entrance.
3:18 - Augie Doggie Theme (Curtin) – Jinks plays flute, swats meece.
3:26 - creepy muted trumpet music (Kraushaar?) – Jinks is drunk with power, Dixie tests dog whistle.
3:58 - TC-204A WISTFUL COMEDY (Loose-Seely) – Pixie and Dixie on window sill, Jinks snoozes,
4:48 - ZR-52 LIGHT QUIET (Hormel) – Dixie tip-toes to dog whistle, meece run away.
4:59 - L-78 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – Jinks wakes up, Dog stomps on Jinks, Meece make deal with Jinks, Jinks breaks flute, Meece break whistle.
6:15 - LAF-7-12 FUN ON ICE (Shaindlin) – Jinks promises to make new pipe, Dixie saves part of whistle, meece giggle.
6:56 - Pixie and Dixie End Title theme (Curtin).


  1. Hi,Yowp,nice review but the tune isn't "Pixie/Dixie" that's plaed, it's the "Augie Doggie"theme!!!Steve C.

  2. I was thinking the same thing as Pokey, from my long-ago recollection of this cartoon. I guess Augie’s was the most danceable theme they had at the time.

  3. Yeah, guys, I suppose that's why they picked it.