Saturday, 18 August 2012

Snooper and Blabber — Real Gone Ghosts

Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
Credits: Animation – Lew Marshall, Layout – Dick Bickenbach, Backgrounds – Bob Gentle, Story – Mike Maltese, Story Sketches – Dan Gordon, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Narrator, Scarum, Blabber – Elliot Field; Snooper, Captain, Harum – Daws Butler.
Music: Jack Shaindlin, Phil Green.
Fired aired: week of Nov. 30, 1959 (rerun week of May 30, 1960).
Episode Number: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-010.
Plot: Snooper and Blabber are hired to remove two ghosts from a ship.

How many times has the guys-disguised-as-ghosts routine been used? Mike Maltese doesn’t use it here. The ghosts are actually ghosts in “Real Gone Ghosts.” And whether the gag was used before this, I don’t know, but I’ve always liked how the ghosts roll up like an old window shade before disappearing.

This is one of those cartoons where you don’t ask yourself a lot of questions, like how can a ghost can hold a badminton racket, or how come a ghost’s clothes can become ghostly and disappear, go through walls, etc. The purpose is to watch Snooper and Blabber (mainly Blab) get walloped by a couple of ghosts they’re trying to evict from a ship. Of course, they succeed (by sinking the ship) but still lose in the end, with another cartoon coming to a conclusion with the Hanna-Barbera Endless Chase™. It’s an average cartoon but still more entertaining than Casper.

Maltese starts out with a spoof of the radio show ‘Inner Sanctum,’ with its squeaking door and scary-but-smarmy narrator. And he borrows from his Warners cartoon “The Haunted Mouse” (1941) with a ghost giving a hotfoot. The sound-cutter uses a couple of Phil Green mystery cues in this scene and it works really well. The Capitol Hi-Q library had more dramatic horror music (after all, it was used in the movie “Night of the Living Dead”) but the bombast would have been a bit much.

The Captain vows to the ghosts he’ll get rid of them by hiring “only the greatest private eyes in the world—Super Snooper and Blabber Mouse, that’s whom!” It looks like this is another scene where Maltese’s workload at Hanna-Barbera left joke opportunities hanging. Says Scarum, the ghost with a green hat: “Uh, Harum, what’s a private eye?” It’s the perfect set-up for a punch line. The answer? “Search me.” You know if Maltese had more time, he’d have come up with something funny or corny instead of a straight line.

Cut to the “Greatest Private Eyes in the World.” They’re so great, they don’t have an office. They live in garbage cans in an alley and their phone is a police call box. Hmm. Seems to me that idea was used again in another Hanna-Barbera series down the road. Anyway, we switch from “Inner Sanctum” to “Duffy’s Tavern” as Snoop, using his Archie voice, answers the phone with an Archie-like rhyming motto. “When others fail, we stay on the trail.”

Snooper and Blabber arrive at the docked ship. Nice angles in Bick’s layout. Bick gives the car a door, something he generally avoided.

The basic idea behind the rest of the cartoon is Snoop doesn’t believe in ghosts, while Blab is afraid of them. The ghosts chase and abuse Blab and laugh. That’s really about it. A look at some of Maltese’s dialogue:

Snoop: Now, there’s nothin’ to be nervous about, Blab. Just keep sayin’ “There ain’t no ghosts.” Simple, right?
Blab: Right, chief.
Snoop: Oh, and another thing. Don’t fire ‘til you see the whites of their sheets, right?

Maltese does fit in the predictable “Be my ghost,” as Blab runs through a door that Harum (the pink pirate-hat one) has made in his body. There’s Harum’s “What’s your speed, keed?” that sounds left over from Charlie Shows’ rhyming pairs of words he shoved into Yogi Bear’s mouth a year earlier. And when Snooper catches the falling Blab, who has an anchor falling above him, and the whole lot go through the ship’s hull into the harbour, Snoop turns to Blab and says “You’ve put on a little weight, haven’t you Buster?” Maltese should have left it there, but the scene cuts to the ghosts and Scarum adds “Yeah. Fat in the head,” which is really a weaker line.

The finale has Snoop tossing a bomb at the “phoney phantoms” (yes, he still doesn’t believe in ghosts). The ghosts play baseball with it, but Harum’s swing at a “spooky screwball” misses, the bomb goes down a bell-mouth ventilator into the hold and kablast! The ship sinks. Observes Blab on the dock, “The captain ain’t going to like it, Snoop. There ain’t no ship.” Snoop replies that there “ain’t no ghosts” either and the ghosts repeat the line over and over as they chase Snooper and Blabber down the street in the detectives’ car (after it, for reasons unclear, loses the body and chassis along the way).

A few things:

● Daws uses an Ed Wynn-type voice for Harum. It’s a more excited version than the one he used for Wally Gator a couple of years later.
● The cartoon is one of four where the voice of Blabber is supplied by Elliot Field, who was hosting the afternoon show at KFWB at the time.
● When Blab runs into a brick wall, the sound cutter uses a gong.
● Maltese brings back Harum and Scarum rolling up like window shades in the Snagglepuss cartoon “Be My Ghost” with Don Messick as a giggly Scarum (Harum has traded his pirate hat for a nightcap).

Unfortunately, several of Jack Shaindlin’s cues will have to remain unidentified but you’ve heard them all before in cartoons.

0:00 - Snooper and Blabber Main Title Theme (Hanna-Barbera-Curtin).
0:25 - EM-131I EERIE (Green) – Pan across ship, hotfoot, Ghosts laugh, “That does it!”
1:09 - GR-57 THE SHADOW OF A MAN (Green) – “I warned you gooney ghosts,” ghosts vanish.
1:54 - tick tock flute music (Shaindlin) – Snooper answers phone, pull up to ship, ghosts vanish.
2:52 - PG-181F MECHANICAL BRIDGE (Green) – Snoop and Blab runaway scene.
3:13 - EM-131I EERIE (Green) – Blab hunts for ghosts, finds Scarum..
3:42 - SIX DAY BICYCLE RACE (Shaindlin) – Scarum scares Blab, brick wall, down and up hatch, Harum appears.
4:36 - GR-77 CUSTARD PIE CAPERS (Green) – Harum laughs, badminton, Harum boos.
5:28 - rising scale vaudeville music (Shaindlin) – Blab up mast, Snoop catches anchor, Snoop tosses bomb, Harum misses bomb with bat.
6:27 - related to Boxing Greats No 2 (Shaindlin) – “I missed,” ship sinks, “The Captain ain’t going to like it, Snoop.”
6:42 - GR-77 CUSTARD PIE CAPERS (Green) – “There ain’t no ship,” ghosts in car chase Snoop and Blab.
7:10 - Snooper and Blabber End Title theme (Curtin).


  1. Yowp writes:

    “The ghosts are actually ghosts in “Real Gone Ghosts.” And whether the gag was used before this, I don’t know, but I’ve always liked how the ghosts roll up like an old window shade before disappearing.”

    Maltese also did this in Snagglepuss “Be my Ghost”.

  2. Was Elliot Field under contract to Hanna-Barbera. Did Hanna-Barbera have contracts? Didn't think so, until heard an interview with Marvin Kaplan about his castin gas Choo-Choo. He said that, they had made HB's contract actors Daws Butler, Don Messick and Lennie Weinrib (?!?) try to immitate him. And when they couldn't, they hired him.

    Another question, what did Lennie Weinrib do for Hanna-Barbera in 1961. Don't remember Weinrib doing anything for them until ''The New Scooby Doo Movies'' in 1972.

  3. "Hey Blab, whadya doing up in the crow's feet?"

  4. Kaplan's comment (in the TOP CAT DVD interview) about Lennie Weinrib confused me, too. He and Weinrib did work together in the "Hey, It's The King" segment of 1977's CB BEARS anthology. (If you don't remember it, consider yourself lucky.) I believe that was Kaplan's first H-B gig since TOP CAT. So maybe Kaplan was recalling 1977 rather than 1961. Or he was being facetious.

    For the record, Weinrib's first H-B role was in the Season 5 1964-65 finale of THE FLINTSTONES, in which he did 'Jimmy Darrock's dialogue. He spent the next six years at DFE and Kroft. His first regular character part on an H-B series was Moonrock and Bronto on 1971's PEBBLES & BAMM-BAMM.

  5. Didn't William Hanna and Joseph Barbera get Jimmy Darren do do himself (while at it didn't they get Ann Margret, Hoagy Carmichael, Elizabeth Montgomery and tony Curtis to do their dialogue.

  6. Sure sounds like Lennie Weinrib as Darrock to me.

  7. Kaplan is not someone who would get the facts wrong. Probably Lennie Weinrib was a part of HB's crew by 1961. Didn't know it, but on the other hand didn't know that Eliot Field or Peter Leeds did anything for them. Weinrib was doing episodic characters on ''Twilight Zone'', ''Dennis the Menace'' and ''Peter Gunn'' in 1961. Was also appearing regularly on several raio programs in the mid-1950s.

  8. Why did Elliot Field leave Snooper and Blabber?

  9. Lennie Weinrib's heard in a DFE "Inspector" cartoonn,cartoon,too, and yes, he definitely is credited in that Flintstones that also had James Darren, when HB and Darren were with Columbia Pictures..and Screen Gems. It's the one where Fred's a surfer and goes by the name of Troy (don't worry, he KNOWS who he really is!:)LOL).Weinrib sometimes then went under his formal born name, LEONARD Weinrib.:)Steve

  10. The ghosts-rolling-up-as-window-shades gag also appeared in Disney's "Lonesome Ghosts" (1937).