Saturday, 15 March 2014

Quick Draw McGraw — Dynamite Fright

Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
Credits: Animation – Hicks Lokey, Layout – Paul Sommer, Backgrounds – Vera Hanson, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Direction – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Narrator, Dynamite Kaboom, Brown Hat Cowboy, Sheriff, Assorted Townsmen – Doug Young; Quick Draw, Baba Looey, Snuffles, Snuffles' kids, Paymaster, White Hat Cowboy, Deputy, Assorted Townsmen – Daws Butler.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
First Aired: 1961.
Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-041, Production J-110.
Plot: Quick Draw and Snuffles try to stop Dynamite Kaboom from blowing up the dam.

What do you do with a cartoon character when he’s only got one piece of schtick? You use him judiciously so he doesn’t wear himself out. That’s what Mike Maltese did with Snuffles. The biscuit-loving dog only appeared in seven Quick Draw McGraw cartoons. His routine never became tired, even with continual reruns of the cartoons.

In “Dynamite Fright,” Maltese added something to make things different—four identical little Snuffles who mimic his actions. Maltese likely had no choice but to use Snuffles; the dog was appearing in commercials for Kellogg’s Gro-Pup dog biscuits and the studio was even putting the packages on screen in Quick Draw McGraw cartoons. Nothing subtle about it.

This was one of six new Quick Draws made for the 1961-62 season, though in looking at the production numbers on the internet (not all of which have turned out to be correct) it was begun before one which appeared on the previous season. Snuffles appeared in two of them.

Maltese uses some pretty matter-of-fact dialogue in the first couple of minutes to set up the plot. Dynamite Kaboom, for reasons left to your imagination, wants to blow up a dam and flood a little western town in the process. There’s a little right-to-left pan over a Vera Ohman Hanson background.

There are townspeople running in fear. Here are Hicks Lokey’s drawings on twos. Anticipation drawings then a quick flee.

Now for some fun Maltese dialogue.

Sheriff: Quick Draw, I sent for you because Dynamite Kaboom is a-goin’ to blow up the new dam. Well, I don’t mind a little rain once in a while, but one big kersplash I don’t like. Uh, will you stop Dynamite Kaboom? For the sake of the settlers?
Quick Draw: I sure will! And thanks for the ten-thousand-dollars reward.
Sheriff: Now who said anything about a ten-thousand-dollar reward? Uh, how about a grand?
Quick Draw: A grand what?
Sheriff: A grand total of fifty dollars.
Quick Draw: I’ll take it.

Now Snuffles is introduced into the cartoon, with a brief appearance by his offspring. All have three hairs on their heads growing from the same place, like Dino on the Flintstones. Snuffles will do anything for a dog biscuit, including jumping through a window. Which he demonstrates.

The second half of the cartoon features the hunt for Dynamite Kaboom, interrupted as Quick Draw proves to himself a stick found by Snuffles is dynamite by blowing himself up. Snuffles captures the bad guy and gets his usual reward (see our post about the ecstasy animation HERE). But Dynamite Kaboom has a timer attached to his bundle of dynamite which threatens to blow up the dam and flood the town any second. Will Quick Draw save the town? There’s some real suspense here only because Quick Draw is so inept in his cartoons, and doesn’t always win in the end, you never know how the plot is going to play out. The uncertainty adds to Maltese’s story.

As it turns out (after Quick Draw says “hold on thar!” to the bundle of dynamite), the dynamite is tossed into the water, Quick Draw is kicked into the water by Dynamite Kaboom, who is kicked into the water by Baba Looey. Neither Quick Draw nor Dynamite Kaboom can swim, but Quick Draw is rescued from under the water because he conveniently has a dog biscuit to bribe Snuffles. The bad guy isn’t as well stocked (“Awww,” says Snuffles, shaking his head over the drowning villain’s plight). But Baba pulls Kaboom out of the water and it’s off to jail.

The wind-up scene has the Gro-Pup product placement, the four sons of Snuffles duplicating dad’s routine after eating biscuits, with Baba ending the cartoon by superfluously remarking “That’s what I call ‘like father, like sons’.”

Quick Draw doesn’t fit in his “I’ll do the thinnin’ around here” or “Oooh, that smarts” catchphrases in this cartoon.

You’ll recognise a number of short Flintstones cues in this cartoon, as well a dramatic horn cue during a shot of the bundle of dynamite that was used later on “Jonny Quest.” There are stretches of the cartoon where no music is heard (like the scene where the sheriff and Quick Draw discuss the reward). “That’s Quick Draw McGraw” accompanies the arrival of our hero, sung by Doug Young.


  1. Quick Draw: It looks like dynamite (sniffs the dynamite) It smells like dynamite (he bites and eats the dynamite) It tastes like dynamite (he hits his hand with it) (explosion) and it KABOOMS like dynamite. Quick Draw is REALLY inept.

  2. And it Kaboom like dynamite, always have laughed at that one. I think Doug Young has voiced more Quick Draw McGraw narrators than Don Messick. Knew that it was him playing Dynamite Kaboom, but though it was Messick playing the sheriff, was mistaken. Daws Butler's character Snuffles was such a great character that they brought him back 40+ years later for an episode of ''Johnny Bravo'' in 2004!!!

  3. Even more than Yogi, the Quick Draw series suffered the most in the transition from Capital to Curtin underscore. The irony is that Curtin did compose some engaging Western-like cues that were heard in other Season 3 QD episodes and THE FLINTSTONES' Season 2 premiere "Droop-a-long Flintstone". The more sedate 'Flintstone' scoring in this particular short seems to accentuate the uncharacteristic use of cuteness- i.e. Snuffles' offspring.

    At least Snuffles is still in good form. His sarcastic "Awwww!" to the outlaw gets me every time.

  4. Wasn't Snuffles or something just like him, used somewhere else, as well? I'm thinking like a Breezly and Sneezly episode most likely, or at least something from the Magilla era. There was like a whole decade (late 70's to late 80's) where none of the erly HB other than Flintstones were playing on TV, but I remembered that Snuffles act on some other show, from later in the 60's.

    There were also other characters that acted like Snuffles. Muttley did, a lot, for medals, and there was a goat, with rutabagas. Even the Pup version of Scooby would do that at times!

  5. Snuffles once appeared on an Snaglepuss episode.