Saturday, 21 December 2013

Quick Draw McGraw — Shooting Room Only

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Animation – Lew Marshall, Layout – Tony Rivera, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Story – Mike Maltese, Story Director – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Quick Draw, Baba Looey, Fly – Daws Butler; Narrator, Box Office Smash, Ticket Taker – Doug Young; Sage-Brush Sal – Julie Bennett.
Music: Hoyt Curtin, Jack Shaindlin, Bill Loose/John Seely, Geordie Hormel, J. Louis Merkur.
Camera: Norm Stainback.
First aired: week of May 22, 1961.
Filmed: May 25, 1960.
Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-032, Production J-95.
Plot: Quick Draw mixes with a dangerous theatre robber, Box Office Smash.

There’s a little game you can play watching some of the old Hanna-Barbera cartoons, the Gee-That’s-Familiar Game. It’s a game when you sit watch a cartoon and, suddenly, it reminds you of something from an old theatrical cartoon you once saw. You can play it with “Shooting Room Only.”

The idea of Box Office Smash sitting in the theatre firing off his guns in anticipation of his favourite act brings to mind the same kind of thing in “High Diving Hare” (released 1949), the great Bugs Bunny short written by Tedd Pierce. The scene of Box Office pretending to be an usher leading Quick Draw McGraw up and up numerous flights of stairs is pretty reminiscent of what Bugs pulled on Elmer Fudd in “Hare Do” (also Pierce from 1949). Of course, the gags aren’t identical, what with the confines of limited animation and all. And the ending is pretty much the same as Mike Maltese’s own Quick Draw cartoon “Masking For Trouble,” where Sagebrush Sally changes her mind at the end and runs off with the bad guy. In fact, those were the only two cartoons where Sal appeared.

This is another one of those Quick Draw cartoons where our hero assumes another identity. There’s no real reason for the disguise, other than Maltese wants to make fun of TV westerns. So Quick Draw is the equivalent of Bat Masterton. Except, in this case, he’s Bumbershoot Bam, and instead of Masterton’s cane, he carries an umbrella “which he uses with great dexterity against his enemies,” as the narrator informs us in the opening. Naturally, he demonstrates that he doesn’t, as he clobbers himself and Baba Looey while trying to nab a fly. (Baba erupts in a string of faux Spanish, much like Ricky Ricardo did when he was disgusted with Lucy). And to complete the ineptness, Quick Draw shoots himself in the head after zipping off-stage to remove his disguise.

Here are Quick Draw and Baba running out of the frame after Box Office. They leave little tornadoes.

The little pipe-stem legs on Box Office shows that Tony Rivera supplied the layouts, as the layout man also did incidental character design.

And thin-armed Sal on stage.

The pretty tame colour scheme could indicate Dick Thomas painted the backgrounds. His work is always solid but more lacklustre than, say, Art Lozzi or Monte.

A few of the noteable things in the story:

● Quick Draw emulates spooneristic comic Roy Atwell to the narrator: “What I can I you for do? Foo for you? I mean, do for you?”
● The narrator sings the Quick Draw theme. Whether Doug Young can’t sing or was being intentionally bad, I don’t know. But his weak effort is kind of fun.
● Box Office at the theatre ticket window: “One in the front row. I’ll hold up the box office after I see the show.”
● Quick Draw tries to pawn off Baba as a child to get him a discounted ticket (Jack Benny did the same thing in a radio show with Dennis Day). The ticket seller is sceptical. Baba: “Sorry, Quickstraw. I forgot to shave this morning.”
● Our hero keeps having to buy tickets every time he has to come back into the theatre. It’s a routine I’ve seen somewhere.
● Quick Draw fits in a “Hold on thar!” and “That smarts” but no “I’ll do the thinnin’” this time.
● The best line is a throwaway when Box Office is leading Quick Draw up the stairs. “Just one more flight,” says Box Office. “Good,” replies Quick Draw. “My feet are gettin’ out of breath.”
● Sal’s recitation on stage is just bizarre. I don’t know what Maltese’s inspiration was (see the note in the comment section). It goes:
   The boy stood on the burnin’ deck.
   His feet were full of blisters.
   He tore his pants on a rusty nail.
   And now he wears his sister’s.
● Quick Draw, as a magician (with Baba as his rabbit, complete with white ears), puts trick handcuffs on Box Office. The villain easily pulls them apart. “Well, what do you know, they are trick handcuffs,” observes Quick Draw.
● Sal casually and plaintively emits a “Help” cry as she’s carried away on a chair by Box Office and refuses to marry him, but instantly changes her mind when he promises her a gig at the Palace. A booking at the Palace Theatre in New York was considered the pinnacle of vaudeville.
● Cartoon ends with Quick Draw getting a show for his 47 tickets. Baba, wearing a wig, fills in for Sal. He interrupts his rendition of Sal’s recitation with “But that’s show business, I thin’.”

Hoyt Curtin’s Quick Draw McGraw theme that’s used as background music for those little cartoons-in-between-the-cartoons shows up a few times on the soundtrack. It’s kind of a precursor to the following season, when Curtin’s music would completely replace the stock library music. I don’t know the origin of the old-time melodrama silent piano music behind Sal’s recitation. It could be a Jack Shaindlin cue; he wrote two albums of that kind of music for commercial release.

0:00 - Quick Draw McGraw Sub Main Title theme (Curtin).
0:15 - ZR-39A WESTERN SONG (Hormel) – Dry Gutch Junction pan, “Watch this lightning draw.”
0:53 - TC-205 LIGHT MOVEMENT (Loose-Seely) – Quick Draw clobbers himself and Baba, “none other than…”
1:14 - (That’s) QUICK DRAW McGRAW (Curtin) – Quick Draw zips off stage, comes back, shoots himself, Baba observation.
1:29 - CRAZY GOOF (Shaindlin) – Quick Draw talks to narrator, talks to ticket taker, Baba forgot to shave.
2:27 - Medium circus chase music (Shaindlin) – Box Office shoots gun, Quick Draw in umbrella.
3:04 - CRAZY GOOF (Shaindlin) – Quick Draw at ticket window, falls out door, back at ticket window.
3:44 - SPORTSCOPE-ish (Shaindlin) – Box office shoots gun, curtain up.
3:55 - silent piano music (Shaindlin?) – Sal monologue, curtain down.
4:15 - sad trombone music (Shaindlin) – Box Office gets teary, shoots gun.
4:23 - CRAZY GOOF (Shaindlin) – Quick Draw talks to Baba rabbit.
4:38 - (That’s) QUICK DRAW McGRAW (Curtin) – Curtain up, trick handcuff scene.
5:31 - Medium circus chase music (Shaindlin) – Shot of stage door, Quick Draw and Baba run.
5:41 - SF-11 LIGHT MOVEMENT/MOUNTAINEERS' HOEDOWN (Merkur) – Quick Draw at ticket window, Sal yells help, Quick Draw vows to see the show.
6:38 - (That’s) QUICK DRAW McGRAW (Curtin) - Quick Draw in seat, Baba on stage.
7:00 - Quick Draw McGraw Sub End Title theme (Curtin).


  1. Lew Marshall animated this Quick Draw McGraw episode (due to the tornado exit for the characters). And the layouts seem being made by Tony Rivera.
    And the villain Box Office Smash, at the scene of the Quick Draw's magic number, makes looking like a character drawn by Walter Clinton.
    Seeing Quick Draw assuming a different identity on this episode, makes him looking like Bat Masterson. If Gene Barry saw this...

    1. Alias, the Lew Marshall's "tornado exit" would be more constant on the Snagglepuss episodes from the classical Yogi Bear Show (more exactly on the episodes animated by Lew Marshall).

  2. It's not just all that - The title card is just like that of Quick Draw McGraw's ''Slick City Slicker''.

  3. Our hero keeps having to buy tickets every time he has to come back into the theatre. It’s a routine I’ve seen somewhere.

    I can't remember seeing it in a pre-1961 theatrical -- Pierce had Elmer sneak back in the theater in "Hare-Do" -- but a couple would use the gag after this short. Alex Lovy did it in "Three-Ring Wing Ding" at Warners in 1967, and on the other coast the same year, Shamus Culhane and Ralph Bakshi used it in "The Opera Caper".

  4. Unusual for a stock music Quick Draw Show cartoon to not use Philip Green's music, but a return to the early shows in using John Seely and Bill Loose's specific cue, and maybe the LAST farewell for the melodrammer-trombone piece for the studio, and overlapping on the same soundtrack as Yowp noted with the Hoyt Curtin theme music.And "High-Diving Hare" was THE thing I was thinking of from the title card, but Bugs Bunny plays a barker turned stuntman by gunpoint in that, while, though I thought that Qucik Draw, judging from the title card (I haven't seen this in a LONG time, not even on YouTube,which still has a lot of these) would be a barker turns out he;s a parody of yet another Wild Western hero, Bat Masterson.

    Too bad that Sagebrush Sal only appeared a few times..Julie Bennett, in voicing he,r like she did with Cindy Bear, used the late Shirley Mitchell's "Great Gildersleeve" southern belle, "Lela Ransom".SC Bye little you sagebrush filly....and DONNN'T you fergit IT!

  5. "The boy stood on the burning deck..." is the first line from a famous poem, Casiabianca. It was parodied quite often over the years.