Saturday, 18 July 2015

Snagglepuss in Feud For Thought

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – Brad Case, Layout – Paul Sommer; Backgrounds – Dick Thomas; Written by Mike Maltese; Story Director – Alex Lovy; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Melvin Martin, Snagglepuss – Daws Butler, Calvin Cloy – Doug Young; Susie Sal – Jean Vander Pyl.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
Episode: Production R-3 (second Snagglepuss cartoon).
Copyright 1960 by Hanna-Barbera Productions.

Snagglepuss spent a good chunk of his cartoon career “exiting.” And his quick departure from the stage was handled differently depending on the animator. Ken Muse simply went from a full character drawing to a bunch of brush stroked lines (letting the ink and paint people do the work while he meets his footage quota). Carlo Vinci backed up a character then stretched him horizontally in mid-air before disappearing. Lew Marshall used full drawings but stretched body parts a bit. And Brad Case indicated the character with a partial or full outline with ink and paint adding colour.

Actually, in Feud For Thought (first aired in 1961), there isn’t even really an outline, certainly not compared to his drawings in the Pixie and Dixie cartoon Crew Cat, also made in 1960. Here are two examples, first with Melvin Martin and then with Snagglepuss himself.

The Hatfield-McCoy feud inspired who-knows-how-many cartoons (A Feud There Was and Hillbilly Hare were two at Warners). Here’s another one, which writer Mike Maltese combines with “Proposal Sunday.” Snagglepuss plays some Bugs Bunny-like head games with Martin and Calvin Cloy, who both want to kill him to give his skin to Suzy Sal, so they can win her “yes” to their marriage proposal. Suzy Sal has one of those Wilma Flintstone front swirls in her hair.

Like Bugs, Snagglepuss uses disguises to hoodwink the dullards. He dresses up in a top hat and cape, like an 1890s melodrama villain, and then like a, well, he kind of looks like a TV anchor as he proposes to Suzy Sal.

It’s a little creepy at the end of the cartoon when Snagglepuss takes off the human head, but still has human hands and is wearing a suit.

Maltese adds his fun little dialogue redundancies:

● Calvin: Then make up yo’ brain-mind which one of us you is marriage-acceptin.’
● Calvin: Cut him equal evens, Melvin.
● Melvin: Where did the critter beast go, Calvin?
● Melvin: Feud fightin’ is a heap more fun than marriage fussin’ anyhow.

Snagglepuss’ opening declamation: “Ah! ‘Tis autumn! ‘Ere the burnished leaves float earthward, and betoken the comin’ of winter, with its frosty winds and its driven snow.” Yes, “betoken” is a word. And we get shameless puns like “hold the lion” and “dotted lion.”

It’s early in the series but Maltese is already making fun of Snagglepuss’ “exit” lines. Exclaims the mountain lion: “Exit, stage up,” “Exit, straight down,” and “Exit, stage nothin’.” And, at the end, Snagglepuss rejoices in his confirmed bachelorhood.

Dick Thomas is the background artist. He’s using varying shades in this cartoon, though kids would have only seen it in black and white in 1961.

Paul Sommer is the layout artist, Alex Lovy handled the story direction, and Daws Butler (Snagglepuss, Melvin), Jean Vander Pyl (Suzy Sal) and Doug Young (Calvin) provide voices.

The cartoon isn’t one of the best in the series, but it’s okay. Snagglepuss fans and confirmed bachelors will like it.


  1. Interesting analysis of the various animators' 'dashing off' techniques. Strangely, neither Muse nor Vinci animated any Snagglepuss shorts (they must have been too busy with THE FLINTSTONES, TOP CAT, and Loopy deLoop). Don Patterson did animate several shorts, and he has a very distinct style in which a burst of curlicue lines- often with small black specks- appear briefly upon every exit/ricochet sound.

  2. I've always enjoyed this, right down to Maltese's closing line for Daws Butler/Snagglepuss "bachelor buttons", flower/anti-matromonial wordplay. I always thought that Jean VanderPyl's gal was Susieot SUzy Sal, but it doesn't matter...."O-KAY, Melvin..!"SC

  3. I've always wondered how the paint department accomplished those "smears." Did they run a cotton swab over the paint or was it some other method?

  4. Clampett's "Naughty Neighbors" was another Hatfield-McCoy related cartoon. Always liked the song in it.

  5. Doug young one of the only voices still alive from early Hanna barbera