Saturday, 9 March 2013

Pixie and Dixie — Woo For Two

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – Bob Carr; Layout – Tony Rivera; Backgrounds – Bob Gentle; Story – Warren Foster; Story Direction – Alex Lovy; Titles – Lawrence Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Mr Jinks, Dixie – Daws Butler; Pixie, Marcel, Telegram Boy – Don Messick; Brigette – Julie Bennett.
Music: Bill Loose-John Seely, Jack Shaindlin, Spencer Moore, Raoul Kraushaar?, Geordie Hormel.
First Aired: week of December 5, 1960 (rerun, week of April 24, 1961).
Episode: Huckleberry Hound Show K-045, Production E-119.
Plot: Mr Jinks thinks the kitten next door wants to marry him.

There’s a great routine in the climax of the Warner Bros. cartoon “Fool Coverage” (1952, written by Tedd Pierce) where Porky Pig qualifies for an insurance policy payout from Daffy Duck. The list of conditions keeps growing, becoming more and more outlandish and impossible, but Porky meets them all. The same sort of thing happens in this Hanna-Barbera cartoon. Mr. Jinks is challenged to a duel and told to choose the weapons. Jinks tries to come up with one that doesn’t exist so the duel can’t go ahead.

Jinks (confidently): Okay, pops. The weapons I choose are, uh, Turkish duelling pistols.
(Marcel hands him the pistols).
Marcel: Turkish duelling pistols, m’sieur.
Jinks (hesitantly): With p-p-pearl handles?
(Marcel flips over the pistols to show off the handles).
Marcel: Pearl handles, m’sieur.
Jinks: Made in (gulps) 1760?
Marcel: Look at zee date.
Jinks: 1760. Fhoo. (looks at camera) They’re more plentiful than I thought.

Jinksie has always affected hip-type coolness but in “Woo For Two,” he fashions himself a ladies’ man, which fits his personality (more so than the asexual meeces getting excited over a fake girl mouse in “Mouse Trapped” the following season). But his coolness is fake, readily demonstrated by the inept way he tries to impress the kitten when he meets her. And when he’s not around her, he's merely lovestruck.

Much of Warren Foster’s plot is based on misunderstanding, part of which is contrived. He sends a love note to Brigette, the kitten next door. She knows it’s a love note. And she responds to it. But she also knows she’s unavailable as she has a fiancé. Logic would seem to dictate that she’d tell that to Jinks in her response, but she doesn’t. Of course, there wouldn’t be a cartoon if she did, or it’d be considerably different than the one Foster wrote.

This is another cartoon where the meeces maintain a healthy suspicion of the cat during the full seven minutes. Even Jinks says he “likes” the meeces—“and I use that term lucidly”—at the beginning of the cartoon when he surprises them with a large slice of Swiss cheese on a plate. Dixie reveals the reason—Jinks is in love with the heretofore unknown French girl cat next door. He’s been sending her notes. The scene fades to Jinks reading one of them:

Roses are red, violets are blue, like.
How’s about some parlez-vous, like?

Then he folds it up and, ad-libbing another rhyming couplet, tosses it like a paper airplane. It lands at the feet of Brigette. “I must say he writes zee funny love letters. I will invite him over, just to be, uh, zee good neighbour.” Can someone explain why cartoons have a peculiar brand of Frenglish where “the” is pronounced “zee”? In French, “the” is either “le”, “la” or “les.” The “th” digraph is pronounced “t.” Where does “zee” come from? Pepe LePew?

Anyway, the girl cat is played by the lovely Julie Bennett in her only appearance in a Pixie and Dixie cartoon. Somehow, I don’t think Don Messick’s falsetto would have worked as Brigette.

Meanwhile, back at the meeces’ place, Jinks is reading his next soon-to-be-sent letter when a paper airplane response from Brigette flies into the cat’s mouth. “She loves me! She ans-wered my letter,” exclaims the happy Jinks, who sniffs the note. “My favourite perfume! Liverwurst Number 5.” The note begins “Dear Sir” and ends “Respectfully yours.” Jinks misconstrues the formality as love. We next find him in a medium-close shot behind the fence separating his home with Brigette’s. “I’ll just play it cool. Dignified. Sort of the, you know, uh, hard-to-get type.” And that’s when Jinks shouts: “Hiya, Bridget! Bet ya can’t do this!” The cat is standing on his hands twirling his feet, then splits his feet and bounces on his butt.

Brigette’s opinion of Jinks suddenly changes. She seemed a little enchanted with his love letters, but now thinks he’s “zee screwball.” Jinks now gets filled with zee LePew-esque sexual over-confidence. “Well, uh, let’s not fight it, baby. Uh, you know, I mean, this is bigger than two pussycats.” His attempt to kiss Brigette is met with a sock in the face. “Aw, she’s a croquette, like. Leads a guy on and POW!” he tells the meeces in the next scene.

The meeces stroll along the grass, mulling over the situation when Pixie (except it’s Dixie talking with Pixie’s voice coming out of him) notices Marcel, Brigette’s finacé, at the front gate. The two French cats are going to get married today. Meanwhile, Jinks is in his basket, mulling over the situation himself and concludes when Brigette turned him down because of “an engagement” it means the two of them are now engaged. So he bolts for the home next door, where Pixie and Dixie are explaining Jinks’ motivation to the French cats. Marcel decides to “scare heem away”—apparently, an explanatory conversation isn’t a possibility—and that’s when Jinks walks into the scene on his hands. “I see you brought you, uh, brought your father for the wedding. Hiya, pops! You’re not, like, uh, losin’ a daughter, uh, you are gaining a hip cat.” Marcel flips him over and then challenges him to the duel mentioned above. Marcel only shoots a blank at Jinks, which the meeces explain to him after a dying scene. “Well, oh yeah, mm hmm. That explains why there were no holes in my pelt.”

So things are now back to normal. Jinks is chasing the “miserable meeces” with a broom into their hole (Pixie and Dixie pass the same light socket six times before the shot cuts to Jinks running past the same painting three times). But then comes a mysterious telegram. It’s from Cashmiri Lovesong, the big movie star, who wants to see Jinks next week. Well, actually, it’s not. The meeces realise Jinks won’t chase them when he’s in love so they plan to keep stringing him along with phoney telegrams. And they laugh about it as the cartoon fades to black.

The sound cutter didn’t bother hunting around for a lot of music for this one. Jack Shaindlin’s “Recess” is used twice and so are two other cues. We have cue changes in mid-dialogue in some scenes.

0:00 - Pixie and Dixie Main Title theme (Hanna-Barbera-Curtin-Shows).
0:13 - LAF-27-6 UNTITLED TUNE (Shaindlin) – Jinks brings cheese to meeces, love letter sent to kitten, gets return note in his mouth.
1:30 - creepy muted trumpet music (Kraushaar?) – Jinks looks down at note, “come over this afternoon…”
1:56 - LAF-21-3 RECESS (Shaindlin) – “We can converse,” Jinks at fence.
2:31 - LAF-2-12 ON THE RUN (Shaindlin) – Jinks jumps.
2:41 - L-81 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – Kitten talks, Jinks slapped, swollen eye.
3:09 - TC-300 ECCENTRIC COMEDY (Loose-Seely) – Meeces walk, Marcel shows up, Jinks in basket, Jinks walks on hands, “Hiya, Pops.”
4:12 - L-81 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – “You’re not, like …”, Jinks chooses weapons, Jinks dying scene.
5:20 - TC-300 ECCENTRIC COMEDY (Loose-Seely) – Marcel reveals the bullets are fake, Jinks gets up.
5:45 - ZR-48 FAST MOVEMENT (Hormel) – Jinks chases meeces, broom comes down.
5:54 - LAF-21-3 RECESS (Shaindlin) (Shaindlin) – Shot of meeces in hole, telegram scene, meeces laugh.
6:56 - Pixie and Dixie End Title music (Curtin).


  1. The plot also mirror's Bill & Joe's 1946 effort, "Springtime for Thomas" but adjusted for the limited animation world. I actually like the end gag better on this one than on the Tom & Jerry short, though because of the nature of the characters, the T&J gag wouldn't have worked here very well, and the pantomime nature of that series would have made Foster's verbal end gag impossible to execute there.

  2. Thanks, JL. I didn't go back and look over the old T&J romance cartoons (and there were enough of them to make a cheater cartoon) to compare.

  3. No one mentioned another connection that this and "Mouse Trapped" have - to Jones/Maltese's "Mouse Warming", made around the time of "Fool Coverage"-with the new girl, paper airplanes..

  4. Probably because it's a real stretch if anyone wants to find a similarity between the two.