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).


  1. Here we see Snooper & Blabber meeting with the legendary yeti.

  2. thanks for share.