Saturday 31 May 2014

Augie Doggie — Ape to Z

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Animation – Hicks Lokey, Layout – Tony Rivera, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Direction – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson (credits from BCDB).
Voice Cast: Doggie Daddy – Doug Young; Augie Doggie – Daws Butler; Radio announcer, Bongo Bongo – Don Messick.
Music: Phil Green, Jack Shaindlin.
First Aired: 1961-62 season.
Plot: Jungle boy Augie brings home a gorilla from the zoo.

Mike Maltese enjoyed odd words and phrases so it’s no wonder he found a place for “jackanapes” in a cartoon. If he used it at Warner Bros., I can’t recall, but it’s front-and-centre in the first act of “Ape to Z.” Appropriate, I suppose, as a “jackanapes,” at one time, referred to an ape or a monkey (if the internet is correct).

This cartoon was apparently the first one aired in the final first-run season of the Augie Doggie series, but some of the storyline is like an old friend paying a visit. This is another “can-I-keep-him-dad/dad-is-reluctant” cartoon. Large, strong apes in Hanna-Barbera cartoons go back to Wee Willie in the first season of the Huckleberry Hound show. But to show you the difference between Hanna-Barbera in 1958 (with Joe Barbera and Charlie Shows writing) and Hanna-Barbera in 1961 (with Maltese writing), the “comic violence” of the early days has been replaced with words. Huck got bashed around a lot by Wee Willie. In this cartoon, Bongo Bongo opens a door on Doggie Daddy and throws him against a wall. Dear Old Dad remains uninjured for the remainder of the proceedings. And, as usual, dad gives in to Augie’s demand, tossing in an “After all” observation as he did in almost every cartoon.

And the whole first scene may remind you of when Bugs Bunny or Daffy Duck jumps back and forth, playing two characters talking to each other, somehow changing costumes between each jump.

The animation isn’t anything to get excited about. I wondered if it was Dick Lundy assisted by Bob Carr, but the Big Cartoon Database says it’s Hicks Lokey. It certainly could be. Note the loops for closed eyes when Daddy’s snoring, with the grille of teeth in one drawing and little shovel mouth in another.

An interesting little bit of animation when Augie stops himself under a typical Dick Thomas painting on the wall and tells us he hears the snarl of the wild and ferocious jackanapes. He squints with one eye, then the other, then back again. It’s kind of like he’s eyeing his prey. It’s better than just standing there and bobbing his nose in dialogue, like Lew Marshall would have done.

There’s no attempt at stretching a character when he zips off stage, which happens frequently in this cartoon. Look at Augie. It’s like a regular drawing of him that’s partly off camera. It’s followed by swirl lines.

There are places where the drawings wouldn’t have been out of place on a lightboard at Gamma Productions. Here’s one of a four-drawing chew cycle of Bongo Bongo, the ape.

How about this ugly Augie?

In this scene, it looks like Bongo Bongo is floating. Shouldn’t his feet be even with Doggie Daddy’s?

Anyway, let’s get to the dialogue, which is usually the highlight of a Mike Maltese cartoon. Augie pretends to be a mighty hunter and the hunter’s gunboy, Ooga Ooga. Maltese makes fun of jungle pictures where natives speak broken English and some invented African dialect.

Augie (as gunboy): Oh, Master. Wogga wogga, ooga ooga. Me chicken.

Augie fits in “It is to laugh,” just like Bugs or Daffy in a Warners cartoon.

Augie pretends Daddy is a jackanapes and shoots him with his cork pop gun (that’d never have been allowed on network TV within a few years). Daddy makes a run for it past the same two pictures ten times.

Daddy: But, Augie what about the jackanapes? And, come to think of it, may I enquire as to what is a wild jackapes?
Augie: Well, you know, it’s, uh, just an animal that’s eight feet tall. Which I just mortally wounded.
Daddy: Heh, heh, heh. Well, you shouldn’t clutter the living room with jackanapes’ carcasses. Put him in the closet. It’s neater that way.

In the next scene, Augie’s listening to the radio, which reveals a gorilla is loose.

Augie: I’m going on a safari. Do you want to come along?
Daddy: No, thanks, Augie. It just so happens that I gotta luncheon engagement with a hippopotamus-saurius.

Doggie Daddy always seems to be sitting in his armchair reading the paper in every cartoon. This is the scene where he’s doing it.

Augie captures Bongo Bongo with bananas and a sign for bait, but feels sorry for him and invites him home for a pet. Daddy, thinking his son is kidding, tells him to put the gorilla away.

Augie: Bongo Bongo’s in the closet, dad.
Daddy: That’s fine, Augie. I’ll bring him a deck of cards so he and the wild jackanapes can pass the time playing gingery rummy. Heh, heh, heh, heh. Hey, what’s my old raccoon coat doin’ in here? I thought I packed that old thing in the trunk years ago. Yikes! It’s alive with moths. (Daddy is thrown against a wall) And the moths are hostile! An’ if there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s hostile moths.

Later, when Bongo Bongo opens the closet door, which crashes against Daddy so hard, he goes right through the outside wall.

Daddy: Imagine. Thrown outta my own house by a raccoon coat. What a dilemmia.
Augie: Bongo Bongo didn’t mean it. He’ll be more careful next time.
Daddy: Jumpin’ jackanapes. It’s a gorilla!

And to end the cartoon, after Augie asks Daddy if they can keep the gorilla:

Augie: Then you’ll adopt him as your very own son?
Daddy: But I already have a son who is full of monkeyshines.
Augie: Well, uh, couldn’t he be your nephew, dad?
Gorilla: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Daddy: Dat’s a thought, Augie. After all, how many fathers can also say they’re a monkey’s uncle?

This is the only Hanna-Barbera cartoon made for the 1961-62 season which used the Capitol Hi-Q and Langlois Filmusic libraries. All other cartoons produced by the studio henceforth would have stock cues composed in house. Farewell, library music!

0:00 - Augie Doggie Main Title theme (Hanna-Barbera-Curtin)
0:26 - GR-65 BUSH BABY (Green) – Daddy snores, Augie tippy-toes into room, turns head.
0:59 - GR-255 PUPPETRY COMEDY (Green) – Conversation with “Ooga Ooga,” Augie shoots Daddy, Daddy bolts from chair.
2:02 - GR-78 CUSTARD PIE CAPERS (Green) – Daddy runs, skids to a stop.
2:13 - EM-107D LIGHT MOVEMENT (Green) – Daddy and Augie talk about Jackanapes.
2:44 - no music – Augie listens to radio.
2:59 - GR-154 PICNIC OR COUNTRY SCENE (Green) – Augie tells Daddy he’s going on a safari.
3:23 - PG-168J FAST MOVEMENT (Green) – Augie runs, reads sign.
3:30 – no music. “There. That oughta tempt him.”
3:32 - GR-348 EARLY MORNING (Green) – “Now, I’ll hide...I got him!”
3:40 - GR-96 BY JIMINY! IT’S JUMBO (Green) – Gorilla/Augie scene.
4:30 - skipping strings and jaunty bassoon (Shaindlin) – Daddy with boxes, gorilla in closet, Daddy with gorilla’s arm.
5:23 - CAPERS (Shaindlin) – Ape hauls Daddy back in closet, Daddy thrown out, door opens on Daddy.
5:50 - Tick Tock flute music (Shaindlin) – “Be careful...”, cartoon ends.
7:10 - Augie Doggie End Title theme (Curtin)

Wednesday 28 May 2014

Huckleberry Hound in Circus Capers

This is kind of a Huckleberry Hound cartoon. Some time ago, Mark Christiansen posted individual drawings from a Huckleberry Hound flip book. You can see them RIGHT HERE. The drawings were taken from one of those little cartoons between the cartoons on the Huck show.

Someone else ingeniously turned them into an animation GIF. Thanks to whoever was responsible. Here it is below.

Mike Kazaleh has identified the animator responsible for the frames as Phil Duncan.

Saturday 24 May 2014

Yogi Bear — Yogi’s Pest Guest

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – Bill Keil, Layout – Tony Rivera, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Written by Warren Foster, Story Director – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Yogi Bear, Yo-Yo Bear – Daws Butler; Boo Boo, Ranger Smith, Consul, Tourist – Don Messick.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
First Aired: 1961-62 season.
Plot: A goodwill bear from Japan causes picnic basket mayhem at Jellystone Park.

“An Okinawa bear, hmmm? I wonder what they’re like.” You and me both, Ranger Smith. Are bears indigenous to Okinawa? Maybe a bear swam over from Siberia once.

The credited animator in this one is Bill Keil, yet another Disney veteran who arrived at Hanna-Barbera to work on “The Flintstones” first season. William Bond Keil was born in Pittsburgh on August 2, 1916 to William Frederick and Alice Jeanette (Bond) Keil. His father was a sheet metal worker. The family was in southern California after the middle ‘30s and Keil went to work for Uncle Walt. In 1939, Keil married Jeanne Lee, an inker at Disney. In between his Disney and H-B careers, he worked on Jack Kinney’s first TV Popeye cartoon, “Barbecue For Two.” Tom Sito’s book
Drawing the Line mentioned Keil retired from Hanna-Barbera at the start of a strike in 1982. He was supervisor of animators at the time. He died in Los Angeles on August 29, 2003. (See the comment section; I’ve received several notes saying Don Williams animated this cartoon).

The cartoon starts off with Ranger Smith on the phone to Sheldon. Was there a Sheldon at Hanna-Barbera then? Was he a buddy of Warren Foster? Or did Foster pull the name out of thin air? Anyway, the ranger breaks a lunch date because he’s got to receive the gift of an Okinawa bear named Yo-Yo from a Japanese official. Smith gives Yo-Yo freedom of the park. Yo-Yo parks himself in Yogi’s cave and sleeps. Yo-Yo’s not even on Yogi’s bed; he’s on the ground with a log for a pillow. But trespassing’s enough to bug Yogi who threatens to give Yo-Yo a fat lip. Here’s a short sequence of drawings. They’re all on twos.

Yo-Yo responds by flipping Yogi. Here are some of the drawings. Notice that Yo-Yo brings Yogi’s arm up and down a couple of times but the drawings aren’t identical.

The Ranger asks Yogi to treat Yo-Yo like a good-will ambassador, so Yogi gives him a picnic basket. Yo-Yo goes nuts, even eating the basket.

15 picnic baskets stolen in an hour. Ranger Smith thinks it’s Yogi, so he puts on a disguise to catch him in the act. We catch a good look at one of the background drawings for almost eight seconds while the ranger chats to himself off camera (a sky colour that’s other than blue is unusual for Thomas). As we all know, the thief is Yo-Yo, who flips over Mr. Ranger and runs off with his basket. A ranger dragnet captures him (apparently, Jellystone only hires black-haired rangers with the same haircut), but Smith magnanimously listens to Yogi’s plea to let Yo-Yo go because he now knows the rules. Foster’s end gag is cute. Yogi explains how picnic baskets are a temptation to bears and battles to follow the rules are sometimes lost. The camera pulls back to see that Yogi is holding a picnic basket behind him so the ranger can’t see he’s stolen it.

Here some more backgrounds. The front part of the cave entrance is on an overlay. The long one is complete.

Hoyt Curtin wrote some specialty Japanese-sounding music, though I don’t know whether it was originally for this cartoon. Listening to the opening cue, you’d expect to see Fred and Barney driving somewhere.

Wednesday 21 May 2014

Play With Huck

You remember “Concentration,” where contestants would match items hidden behind numbers to reveal parts of a puzzle. Well, Huckleberry Hound had his own version of “Concentration,” though it was a little less elaborate than Hugh Downs’ game show. It’s one of several Huck items from his heyday we’ll look at.

You’ll have to click on the photo above to read the rules. These Ed-U-Cards were produced in 1961. Huck eating carrots?! Don’t tell the folks at Kellogg’s.

Here’s the Huckle-Chuck game from Transogram (with three factories in the eastern U.S.) from 1961. It’s three games in one, though imaginative kids could have combined them if they wanted (and read the instructions). For reasons I don’t understand, the instructions keep referring to the character as Huckle-Chuck instead of Huckleberry Hound. The head moved, which made it more difficult for kids/adults/teenagers to throw a ring onto the corner of Huck’s hat. There’s a bean bag toss into Huck’s mouth and the self-explanatory target. If I recall, we’ve posted pictures of a similar Yogi game here. It’s not terribly sophisticated, but neither were kids in 1961. There’s an innocence to these games I really like.

And below is a 1959 Milton Bradley game (produced in Canada by Somerville of London, Ontario). You can enlarge the photos to read the game instructions. Milton Bradley had a bunch of Hanna-Barbera board games. Quick Draw, Super Snooper and Yogi Bear all had games. Milton-Bradley came up with a different Huck board game years later, based on the cartoon “A Bully Dog.” The doggie desperado, as far as I know, wasn’t in any cartoons but I can somehow hear Don Messick’s growly voice coming out of him.

It seems like there was an endless amount of stuff made in the wake of the success of Huck and Quick Draw. And the studio’s merchandising exploded even more when the Flintstones went on the air.

Saturday 17 May 2014

Snooper and Blabber — Zoom-Zoom Blabber

Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
Credits: Animation – La Verne Harding, Layout – Don Sheppard, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Director – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Snooper, Blabber, J. Plentitude Pascuniak – Daws Butler; Foiled Bad Guy, Captain Zoom-Zoom, Human Fly Burglar, Newscaster – Don Messick.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
First Aired: 1961-62 season.
Plot: Blabber pretends to be TV hero Captain Zoom-Zoom to capture the Human Fly Burglar.

Boys and girls, when we last left Captain Zoom-Zoom, he had put Doggie Daddy in a predicament in “Fan Clubbed” (1959). He couldn’t come to Augie’s birthday party because he had a headache. Well, kids, Captain Zoom-Zoom is back for another cartoon adventure—and he still has that headache.

Yes, writer Mike Maltese has brought back the space TV adventure show character but this time in a different series. He’s not only Augie’s favourite star, he’s Blabber’s, too. And just like Augie, he thinks what he’s seeing on the Captain Zoom-Zoom show is real.

There’s a bit of irony here. Serialised adventure shows were a staple of late-afternoon programming in the early days of TV just as they had been on radio. By the time this cartoon rolled around, those kinds of shows were replaced with cartoons. So Augie and Blabber (not to mention Bugs Bunny and Popeye) helped kill off “Captain Video,” “Tom Corbett, Space Cadet,” “Space Patrol” and their comrades of the cosmos though, arguably, the format simply grew up and became “Star Trek” a few years later.

Perhaps Maltese had some fondness for these types of shows because they were generally cheesy and low-budget, therefore ripe for parody. Perhaps not coincidentally, his caricature appeared as Captain Schmideo in the Warners cartoon “Rocket-bye Baby” (which he wrote).

The best part of the cartoon is, as usual, Maltese’s dialogue, but there’s some artwork that’s pretty nice. The credits say Don Sheppard handled the layouts, meaning he likely designed the incidental characters and props. But the TV newscaster looks an awful lot like a Tony Rivera design—thick framed glasses and parallel jaw lines.

Snooper and Blabber have a new kind of car in this one, compact with a high roof.

Dick Thomas gets the background credit here. His work is far more elaborate than what he normally draws.

Almost the entire first half takes place in the office of the Snooper Detective Agency. In this one, the private eye ball is on a window on the office door.

Blab is watching Captain Zoom-Zoom on TV taking care of the Human Fly Burglar, and imitating the Captain’s “Fweep, fweep, fweep, fweep, fweep!” and bird-like arm flapping. Snooper is amazed at Blab’s gullibility in believing the show is real. Suddenly, there’s a news flash. A real human fly burglar has threatened to steal “the terribly-expensive Pascuniak sapphire.” Captain Zoom-Zoom vows to the newsman he’ll go after him. The phone rings. “Snooper Detective Agency. A small down-payment’s all you need to help us solve the case indeed” is the rhyming answer this episode. Guess who’s on the line.

Snooper: Captain Zoom-Zoom? Uh, I thought you were out catching the human fly burglar. Quote: “Fweep, fweep.” Unquote.
Zoom-Zoom: Are you kidding? I couldn’t catch a 12-pound bass if it was in a derby hat.

So Snooper says takes the case for $50,000 (“Oh, for that kind of bucks money, I’d wrestle an octopus in Lacy’s window, with me hands tied behind my sacroiliac”). It’s his “boundin’ main duty” to make sure the Captain’s fans don’t become disenchanted. How? “Elementary school.” Blab dresses up as Captain Zoom-Zoom.

“Stop in the name of Channel 32!” yells Snooper at the Human Fly Burglar, who is on his way up the side of a building to get to the Pascuniak penthouse and steal the “terribly expensive” (as everyone keeps calling it) sapphire. Blab finally captures him, but not until after giving the burglar and Pascuniak his autograph and shooting his ray gun (which shoots out a scroll promoting the Captain Zoom-Zoom TV show). Blab smashes the crook against the side of the building with a giant fly swatter.

The wind-up scene has Blab again doting over Captain Zoom-Zoom, who brags about capturing the burglar “all by myself.” For a change, Snooper ends the cartoon, telling the audience: “Leave us face it. The real heroes aren’t all on TV.”

Maltese now puts away his fweeps until the Wally Gator cartoon “False Alarm,” when a bird emits a fweep-fweep while avoiding getting captured.