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.

1 comment:

  1. "Yowp-Yowp" Dodsworth,

    This is the third Snooper & Blabber episode animated by La Verne Harding (whose animation style remits us to the Universal Pictures/Walter Lantz cartoons).