Saturday, 26 September 2015

King-Size Surprise Storyboard

Stories, gags and even voices from old MGM cartoons popped up at Hanna-Barbera in the early days. A good example is the Pixie and Dixie cartoon King-Size Surprise (1958-59 season) which owed a lot to the Tom and Jerry short The Bodyguard (1944). We reviewed the cartoon way back in this post. Now, through the courtesy of Mark Kausler, friend to all friends of cartoons, we present the storyboard for this cartoon.

Dan Gordon drew this board and his version of Jinks is a lot of fun. The expressions are really good, and they gave layout artist Walt Clinton and animator Lew Marshall a lot to work with. To be honest, I like some of his sketches more than what Marshall put on the screen.

A reader asked me about the red vs. black drawings on these storyboards. Mark kindly answered:

These are all drawn in pencil, not ink. The red is Colerase colored pencil, used to rough in drawings by animators, then the graphite lines are put down over the colored ones when the drawings are tightened up. Sometimes Dan Gordon would leave just the red roughs on the page, (like the Masking For Trouble board) maybe he felt that the red lines were strong enough in those cases. He even HAND-DREW the panel borders! No pre-printed storyboard sheets at H-B! These are all done on 12 field animation paper, if you notice the punch at the top.
Let’s check out the board. Below are Marshall’s finished drawings of panels 6 and 7. Gordon’s Jinks has rounder eyes and I like the slight open-mouth giggle better.

Charlie Shows is responsible for the dialogue. Whether he provided the dialogue here or for the finished cartoon or both, I couldn’t tell you. But it’s not the same here as in the cartoon. This is what’s in the cartoon from panels 6 to 10:

Dixie: Yeah. He’s always pickin’ on us.
Jinks chuckles
Pixie: But the worm has turned. No more runnin’ from old Jinks. We gotta fight back.
Dixie: Yeah, Pixie. Two against one. We oughta clobber that cat.
Jinks: Eh, like, uh, boo to you two!
Pixie and Dixie: It’s Jinks! Scram!
Was the extra dialogue put in to pad for time? Could be.

By the way, in panel 17, Jinks uses the word “mices.” In the cartoon, he calls them “mousies.” He didn’t use the word “meeces” consistently in the first season.

Shows was seemingly unable to resist any opportunity for rhymes, no matter who the character is. Panel 33 in the actual cartoon goes “Operation Dog Tag in the bag.” After Shows left and Warren Foster arrived in 1959, the rhymes were restricted to Yogi Bear.

When panel 49 hit the screen, Clinton (or whoever) changed the shot to leave out the mice and the little swirling bubbles around Jinks’ head. The dialogue: “Wow, now! Shee! Tuh, I’ve never been in a earthquake before.” Dixie’s line Panel 50 is lifted from Cass Daley’s radio catchphrase “I did it and I’m glad.” But the cartoon ends us with the line “We did it and I’m glad we did it.”

See the teeth in panel 56? Marshall keeps them when he animates the scene around panel 60. The dog’s first appears in three frames before impact. Panel 65 has a better line in the cartoon. Observed Jinks: “So that’s the scoop-arooni, eh?” I believe Scoop-arooni is the San Francisco Ice Cream Treat.

Marshall’s rendering of 77 and 78. See how close he is to Gordon’s work.

Bob Gentle is the background artist. Compare Gordon’s panels 86 and 90 to Gentle’s work in the cartoon.

The cartoon ends with Jinks saying, “Uh, like King-Size says, ‘You hollerin’ and I’ll keep a-comin’!” then chortling instead of what’s in the panels (the scene fades instead of irising out).

The meece run cycle that ends things is six drawings on twos. We’ve slowed down the cycle a little bit from what’s in the cartoon.


  1. Thank you, Yowp, for another awesome post. I've been waiting for the next post about Pixie and Dixie.
    I enjoy your blog very much. <3

  2. Thank you, Mark Kausler and Yowp, for scanning this and sharing it. I love storyboards. They are beautiful works of art in their own right. It's good to know that sites like this one are preserving them and making them available to an audience.

    One other thought: As much as "King-Size Surprise" owes to "The Bodyguard," a key difference is that Pixie and Dixie are much more provocative in the former than Jerry is in the latter. That, as well as Jinks's fun personality, makes me kind of feel sorry for Jinks in this cartoon, whereas in "The Bodyguard" I don't feel sorry for Tom at all.

    Thanks again for another fun post, Yowp.

  3. Thanks for this fun post, storyboards are often even better than the actual cartoon. Dan Gordon=storyboards-Charles Shows=storyboard---yet the credits would read "Dialogue and story sketches by Dan Gordon and Charles Shows", implying that both guys contributed to both sketches and dialogue rather than seperating the credits. When Warren Foster and Mike Maltese and others rolled around, along with 1959-1960, they were rightly credited with the story and the story sketches or story direction credited seperately (and same with Teleplay and Story on the Flintstones.)SC

  4. Such an amazing and rare and generous post! As a Pixie and Dixie fan, as a Dan Gordon fan and as storyboard artist, I am triple-grateful for this wonderful treat!

  5. Very fun and inspirational work to look at, makes my day to see this.

  6. Pretty impressive that no panels had to be altered afterward... no post-its or other odd bits of paper taped over.