Saturday, 23 August 2014

Snooper and Blabber — Eenie, Genie, Minie, Mo!

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Animation – C.L. Hartman, Written by Mike Maltese, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson (BCDB credits).
Voice Cast: Snooper, Blabber, Genie, Sinbad – Daws Butler; Aladdin, Alibi Baba, Jug Vendor – Don Messick; Scheherazade – Jean Vander Pyl.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-039, Production J-124.
First aired: week of March 13, 1961.
Plot: Snooper and Blabber are hired to capture an escaped genie in Persia.

“Say, Snoop,” says Blabber to open this cartoon, “when am I going to get a salary for being your assistant?” “Blab, your golden opportunity has come at last,” replies Snooper, though he doesn’t realise how golden it is until the cartoon’s over. Snooper informs him “some things are bigger than money.” Today, Blab will be the private eye and Snoop “the lowly assistant.” Blabber rapturises about it and strikes several poses. Here’s some of the animation. Look at the fingers.

The version of the cartoon currently circulating has the incorrect credits. The Big Cartoon Database credits the animation to former Disney artist C.L. Hartman. If someone can confirm or deny that, leave a comment.

It’s pretty obvious Mike Maltese wrote the story. There are some repeats of some old routines, like the parody on the Dragnet-style of questioning when Blab grills Scheherazade (Blab’s repetitive “Yes, m’am” becomes unstoppable after a while) that Maltese worked into the dialogue of ‘Prince of a Fella’,’ ‘Slippery Glass Slipper’ and elsewhere. And the newly-freed genie peppers Snooper and Blabber with questions about stuff that happened while he was inside the lamp: “Are they still doing the Charleston? Did Lucky Lindy make it to Paris? How are the Dodgers doing?” just like in the Augie Doggie cartoon ‘Skunk You Very Much’ (which includes the Charleston question and one about the Dodgers).

I won’t guess at who handled the layouts (I suspect Bob Gentle is the background artist) but I sure like the design of the genie.

Here are the other incidental characters. Sorry I can’t mask the TV logo in some of these.

Their voices should be familiar from other H-B cartoons. Note that Don Messick does the same kind of accent for Aladdin and the jug merchant, but Aladdin’s voice is softer. The genie has the same voice as Fibber Fox.

Some of the dialogue highlights:
● Blab answering the phone a la the radio show ‘Duffy’s Tavern’: “Blabber Detective Agency. Roses are red, violets are blue, we’ll take your case and solve it for you. Chief Blab speakin’.”
● The genie signs his note: “Genie with the light brown hair.” Snoop: “Oh, good. We got a description of the suspect.”
● Blab to Alibi Baba, the used flying carpet salesman: “We’re detectives, and we’re lookin’ for someone.” Alibi: “Oh, the police! I run an honest business, lieutenant. There’s no dirt under my carpets.”
● Blab, questioning Sinbad: “Where were you on the Arabian night of January 16th?” Sinbad: “Huh.” Snoop: “Blab, what in carnation has that got to do with it?” Archie on ‘Duffy’s Tavern’ was big on “what in carnation...” as well.
● Jug merchant: “Heavens to Halavar!” Halavar is in Armenia which is adjacent to Persia, the setting for this cartoon. Then again, he could be saying something else.

Snooper tries to capture the genie by grabbing his turban. Instead, the genie ties the end of it to a palm tree and Snoop crashes into it. The genie thinks he’s made a getaway on a flying carpet but crashes into a turret.

Booby Blab proves he’s not so booby in this cartoon. Blabber cons the genie back into the lamp by pretending to refuse to believe he’s a genie unless he can prove he can do something—like fit in the lamp. So, as amazing as it sounds, the cartoon ends with our heroes a million dollars richer. Well, not both our heroes. Blab caught the genie. So Blab tells Snoop he can take back the job as chief private eye, while he (Blab) keeps the million bucks reward. Blab chuckles to end the cartoon.

No private eye ball on the window to Snoop’s office door in this one, nor do we hear the catchphrase “Halt in the name of the Private Eye (fill in name of organisation).”

You’ll recognise plenty of Flintstones cues here (I don’t have names for most of them), such as “Chase” when the genie flies away and Snoop vows to reel him in like a fish. The cue “Walking” (aka “Here’s What We’re Gonna Do”) shows up when the genie tries to catch up on the Charleston, etc. Hoyt Curtin also came up with an Asian sounding piece with a guitar and xylophone when Snooper’s talking to Aladdin. There are parts of the cartoon with no music, like when the helicopter rotor sound effect is on the sound track, a wise decision by the cutter.


  1. The music you hear when Snooper and Blabber talk to Aladdin is actually a leftover from the recording session for the Flintstones "Prowler" episode.

    The animation does look the work of C. L. Hartman.

  2. Does the animator C.L. Hartman have any relationship with Butch Hartman (who worked on Hanna-Barbera at the 90s and nowadays he works at Frederator, where he created several cartoon series, among them: The Fairy Oddparents and Danny Phantom)?

    1. IIRC, C.L. and Butch were uncle and nephew, respectively.

  3. There's a scene where Snooper & Blabber meet Sherazade, who's the owner of a cafeteria. And I could notice that Sherazade looks like a foresight of Jeannie, played by Barbara Eden in the classical TV series I Dream of Jeannie (Sidney Sheldon Productions/Columbia Pictures, 1965-70), whose animated overture was produced by DePatie-Freleng.

  4. here is an interesting question - In 1984's ''Yogi's Treasure Hunt'', why did they split up Quick Draw McGraw and Baba Looey, while they kept Snooper and Blabber together?

  5. In a complete coincidence, I just happened to see a handful of 1960 POPEYE TV cartoons produced by Larry Harmon – and C.L. Hartman is credited as an “artist” (presumed animator) in all, along with future Filmation founders Lou Scheimer and Hal Sutherland.

    Oh, and our (underappreciated at this Blog) very good friend Charlie Shows is credited as writer. Oddly, over three cartoons with Shows’ credit, I believe there were only two instances of rhyming dialogue.

  6. After the YOGI'S ARK LARK movie pilot, Baba wasn't seen in most classic H-B character revivals. Parent groups and network watchdogs probably didn't kindly to his mangled Spanglish Mexican stereotype. He did a cameo in a YOGI'S TREASURE HUNT however, and may have become a regular again in the Fender Bender 2000 cartoons.

    This seems like one of several Snooper & Blabber shorts with a subplot of Snoop allowing Blab to be the 'boss'.

  7. You're probably right about Baba Looey. The "Treasure Hunt" cameo aside, he and "Queeksdraw" reunited for the underrated Huck Hound movie (which was originally going to be a Quick Draw movie), "Yo Yogi," and as you mentioned, "Fender Bender 500." Guess the parent groups were a tad more lenient by the late '80s.

    As much as I love Quick Draw, I never found him to be quite as amusing without Baba by his side.