Saturday, 2 November 2013

Augie Doggie — It’s a Worm Day

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – Ed Love, Layout – Walt Clinton, Backgrounds – Bob Gentle, Story – Mike Maltese, Story Director – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Augie Doggie, Sgt. O’Toole – Daws Butler; Doggie Daddy – Doug Young, Irving, Miss Bookend, Mr. Rowser – Don Messick.
Music: Phil Green, Jack Shaindlin.
First Aired: week of December 12, 1960.
Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-031, Production J-93.
Plot: Doggie Daddy tries to convince Augie he’s more intelligent than a book worm.

Can it be true? Calm, lovable Dear Old Dad so overcome with jealous rage that he tries to kill Augie’s friend? Yeah, that’s the comic situation Mike Maltese has come up with for this cartoon.

Maltese also borrowed a routine that Tex Avery perfected in “Rock-a-bye Bear” and “Deputy Droopy” at MGM—someone running away in a panic to let out a yell in extreme pain where no one can hear it. In fact, Maltese used the same device in a cartoon he wrote for Avery at Lantz, “The Legend of Rockabye Point.” So it’s perhaps appropriate that this cartoon was animated by Ed Love, who spent five years in the Avery unit at MGM (though he didn’t work on the cartoons mentioned above).

This was Love’s only Augie Doggie cartoon. His poses aren’t terribly extreme but they work well enough to let you know what’s going on in Daddie’s head.

The cartoon starts with Augie telling “brainy” dad (who is, as usual, in an armchair reading the paper) he’s going to use his friend Irving to help him with his homework.

Daddy: Wait, Augie. I’m as smart as your friend Irving. Ask me something.
Augie: Okay, dad. Um, what is grass made of?
Daddy: Grass? Uh, grass, uh, grass is, uh, made of green stuff. Yeah, yeah, green stuff.
Augie: Irving is waiting.

Head down, Daddy follows Augie into the “republic” library to “put this Irving in his place.” We now learn Irving is a book worm who lives in the library. Daddy is remonstrated by the librarian for loudly calling for Augie. She points to a sign and asks “Can’t you read?” Yes, it’s the old “smoking” gag.

Daddy: Uhn? (looks at sign). Q-U-I-E-T. So, who’s smokin’?

Daddy tip-toes away but his feet made a scrunching sound. “I forgot to oil my feet this morning,” he tells us.

The librarian calls up to head librarian Rowser, who has Don Messick’s Frank Nelson voice. Doggie Daddy’s attempts to squish Irving get waylaid during much of the rest of the cartoon by the worm dropping books on him, and Daddy rushing somewhere to scream so it doesn’t disturb the library, with the head librarian getting in the middle of it. One of the books, Daddy tells us, is a “bicyclopedia.” First, Rowser is clobbered and runs outside. Daddy is clobbered and runs to a window. Finally, the best gag as Daddy blows his “Yeowwww!” into a paper bag, Rowser demands he hand over the bag, then he opens it with the shout blowing back his head.

Finally, climbs on the mobile ladder that runs along the bookshelves to catch the “squirmy squirt.” He rolls out the door (Augie: “Wait, dad! That’s public property) and past the usual Irish cop.

The cartoon ends with “dear old incarcerated dad” in jail. Augie tells him police wouldn’t believe his explanation of what happened, so he brought a lawyer. Yes, it’s Irving. Who is Doggie Daddy to argue “wit’ a woim?”

There’s a little piece of music when Irving appears for the first time from the books that I can’t identify. We get full versions of Phil Green’s “Light Movement” and the cue that sounds like a circus introduction with music ascending up the scale twice. The sound cutter liked the latter so much, he started it over again after its 61 seconds were finished. Unfortunately, I don’t have its name.

0:00 - Augie Doggie Main Title theme (Hanna-Barbera-Curtin).
0:25 - GR-248 STREETS OF THE CITY (Green) – Augie and Daddy talk about Irving, Augie removes book from library shelf.
2:06 - doodle music effect (?) – Irving walks out, “Good morning, Augie.”
2:10 - EM-107D LIGHT MOVEMENT (Green) – “It is indeed a pleasure,” Daddy shushed by Miss Bookend, noisy feet, Miss Bookend on phone to Rowser, “Irving is my friend.”
4:04 - rising scale music (Shaindlin) – Daddy runs with book, no squished Irving, book lands on Daddy, book lands on Rowser, yells outside, Daddy yells out window, yells come out of paper bag, Daddy climbs ladder.
6:04 - GR-334 LIGHT AGITATED BRIDGE (Green) – “So, dere you are,” Irving runs away.
6:08 - fast circus chase music (Shaindlin) – Irving runs on top of shelf, Daddy rolls down street on ladder, officer on phone and runs out of scene.
6:42 - ‘FIREMAN’ (Shaindlin) – Daddy in jail scene.
7:09 - Augie Doggie End Title theme (Curtin).


  1. Mike Maltese also used the “running off to yowl in pain” bit in The Flintstones “The Hot Piano”… the episode where Fred and Wilma’s house has a “now you see it, now you don’t – and then you NEVER see it again” second floor!

  2. The 'scream in the bag' gag reappeared in at least two H-B cartoons: one with the Goofy Guards and one with Scooby-Doo. I'm not sure if it originated in a WB, or more likely, Avery cartoon.

  3. The early H-B's were more satirical and a little more edgy than the tamer stuff that followed afterward. Occasionally as in this one a main character would end up on the wrong side of the law. Several early H-B cartoons show the protagonist in jail in the last scene. Situations like this add dimension to the characters and also show that just because they're loveable and funny doesn't keep them from making mistakes and getting into big trouble now and then. It can be humorous and ironic when a "good guy" ends up like a "bad guy." Doggie Daddy's library experience is rendered all the more interesting when it doesn't end up getting resolved in his favor--and having the bookworm-antagonist as his one last hope delivers the final dollop of irony.

    In the later cartoons, (fill in the blank with whatever late 60's--early 70's H-B show you want) the main characters were treated more like "role models" and not much that was adverse ever happened to them. At the very end, one character would make a statement or a bad pun about the (extremely mild) adventure that had just happened--either that or a funny animal character would pull some silly antic--and then everybody would laugh, and then would come the fade out.

    The irony and the satire, and just knowing the characters aren't necessarily "safe" from misfortune, keeps these old cartoons worth revisiting.

    1. And that, Scarecrow, is the difference between a cartoon made for early evening syndication, and one made for Saturday morning! Well analyzed, and I concur completely!

  4. Hanna-Barbera, also in the early 1960s, used that Avery gag for another Flintstones gag beside the one that Joe T. mentioned ("Hot Piano")-"The Sweepstakes Ticket" and an earlier Augie that Yowp reviewed, "A Peck O'Trouble" with the Jerry Lewis/Daws Butler woodpecker (same voice as Quisp and one of the Goofy Guards that Howard mentioned)-with (just to show how variety works here!) Doggie Daddy on the other (i.e.,"the shushing") end of it! Just imagine if Doggie Daddy did the pain causing, not being on the shushing or receiving end.And of course it was used in several Tom and Jerry cartoons, including a certain one that won an Oscar (tm) whose title was about, uh, being "quiet, please".:)Steve C.

  5. If Daddy can't read the "QUIET" sign in the library, what is he doing with that newspaper all the time?

    1. "Oh, the shame of it! My own father - a reader misleader!"

      "Augie, my son, my son...It pains me to inform you your old man is a dysfunctional illiterate."

  6. Ironic that Frank Nelson is imitated here, but, earlier in 1960 on the Flintstones, he'd get his first major series of voices (not counting stuff like Walter Lantz's "Dig that Dog" cartoon of 1954)
    in "No Helpt Wanted", which I believe is the 4th broadcast Flintstones, as well as Messick doing that Nelsonesque voice for the two Yogi's "Genial Genie" (title character) & "Gleesome Threesome" (TV newsman), one of the Snooper and Blabbers already reviewed, and later on the Flintstones in one of the first to bring back Mel Blanc (after his famous hospitalization), "The Costume Party",(Messick as Nelson as Mortimer Stoneface, "the only costumer in town"-see comment on next episode) with the impression of Frank Nelson done by Doug Young (Doggie Daddy himself!) on the "Flintstones" "Pebbles's Birthday Party" on the Yowp review a few years ago "Storyboards and Dancing Girls" (the episode itself was written by Tony Benedict, himself the subject of a Yowp post just a week or so ago)(Young as Nelson did the "only caterer in town", the variant that's been often evoked by fans in recent decades.)

    It's interesting. Larry Harmon's crappy Bozo the Clowns had a party-based episode with the emcee being a (obviously NOT actual!) Frank Nelson (impersonated) type (Larry Harmon himself or Paul Frees, already pretty highly self-priced, which makes the presence of a mimic odd here), and I'm sure that if Jay Ward wanted a Frank Nelson type he'd get Bill Scott, Paul Frees or Daws Butler and not the real thing. Yet UPA's really cheap Mr.Magoos had a Frank Nelson-voiced blonde haired/blue eyed "1890s Mellerdrammer" actor in a movie (only a few words)-I forgot the title but it's a TV UPA, and the VERY small TVS/Universal-MCA "Amos 'n' Andy" supposedly PC-ised " animal-centered 1961 cartoon "Calvin & the Colonel" was said to have the real Frank Nelson, who did make it into a handful of very early Flintstones and THEN by the 70s actually DID appear in HB and DePatie-Freleng cartoons. Mark Evanier's fond of telling of a story about a circa 1983 CBS Storybreak special cartoon "The Roquefort Gang" with Nelson as a cat but a mimic on a then-much heard radio ad imitating Nelson, both of whom wound up in the cast with the real Frank Nelson complaining about the mimic, costarring as a voice unbeknownst to Frank, to whom (after confessing to Mr.Evanier) the impressionist 'fessed up, impressing Frank Nelson who only wanted, and got the impressionist's promise not to do it ever again. POSTSCRIPT: Soon after this the guy refused to mimic anyone, even getting Frank Nelson for a sequel to that radio ad. Mark Evanier's told this story mostly notably in Comics Buyers Guide and in his News from ME in the voices section: Frank Nelson. Maybe Mark Evanier himself will drop on by.