Saturday, 7 January 2017

Yakky Doodle in Horse Collared

Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
Credits: Animation – Hicks Lokey, Layout – Lance Nolley, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Director – Paul Sommer, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Farmer, Charlie, Hunter, Circus Barker, TV director, Indians, Announcer – Daws Butler; Yakky Doodle – Jimmy Weldon.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
Episode: Production R-22.
Copyright 1961 by Hanna-Barbera Productions.
Plot: Yakky protects an old horse that a farmer wants to put out to pasture.

Does Yakky Doodle have a split personality?

In some cartoons, he’s helpless, naïve, even ignorant, and would surely be eaten or shot to death if Chopper didn’t come along to help him. But there are other cartoons where he’s the aware one, suddenly developing wits to save others around him.

This is one of those cartoons.

In this case, the poor character in need of assistance is a “kinda beat up looking old horse” as he’s referred to throughout the cartoon; Mike Maltese is big on repeating strings of adjectives. The gag ideas in the cartoon are fine but Maltese could have used some stronger dialogue to punch up things as too many scenes just fade out after a weak punchline. Yakky hides Charlie Horse under water, in a tree (the branch Charlie’s clinging to falls down and he lands on a farmer in animation reused later), dresses him as a moose (who unexpectedly learns it’s moose hunting season), disguises him as a wooden merry-go-round horse (smoke from the farmer’s pipe makes him sneeze) and finally gallops him into the filming of a TV western. Charlie is mistaken shot in the butt with arrows (real) by Indian braves (actors). His painful dance (the arrows mysteriously vanish) impresses the movie’s director and the cartoon ends with Charlie repeating it on the farmer’s television, having been signed to a contract as Yakky Doodle Buckaroodle and his wonder horse Flashie. (Exclaims the director: “Wow!! That is the best horsin’ rider like I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen several).

Normally, the layout artist designed the incidental characters in H-B cartoons in the early days but Lance Nolley simply borrowed the horse design from the Augie Doggie cartoon Horse Fathers (1961) and changed his colour from blue to white (the horse has pretty much the same personality as Roscoe in Horse Fathers).

The cartoon got a lot of use of the one background drawing of rolling block of red and orange with sticks of trees, accompanied by a fence. Charlie rides past a large tree in it seven times in one scene and ten in another. The colour technique is nice. Neenah Maxwell is responsible. She was the daughter of Max Maxwell, the production manager at the MGM cartoon studio, and niece of Howard Hanson, the assistant production manager at MGM and the production supervisor at Hanna-Barbera when it opened.

A couple of other backgrounds. It’s a shame these cartoons were in black-and-white for years; people wouldn’t have seen the purple trees.

Veteran Hicks Lokey got the animation assignment on this one. Here’s how he zips Charlie off screen when moose hunters start firing at him.

Among the Hoyt Curtin cues in this cartoon are his take on The Arkansas Traveler; A Hunting We Will Go; Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star; The William Tell Overture and Over the Waves. The rest of the music is recognisable from the Loopy de Loop and other short cartoons around this time. The Western theme at the end was used in the final season of the Quick Draw McGraw Show

Other than Yakky, Daws Butler handles the characters. He digs out his Ed Sullivan voice for the TV announcer. The farmer, as you can see to the right, owns a generic brand television set.


  1. More of Maltese's "recycling" on display here - from It's a Grand Old Nag (1947), and especially A Horse's Tale (1954).

  2. One of the true good Yakky's...Charlie was a great name for that horse..wonder it the farmer was proud of him at the end.:)SC

  3. This is another example of how the Yakky series was more varied than others from H-B at the time, and didn't always fall into the "Help, Chopper, Help!" formula its detractors always mention. Like many, I feel his 'solo' cartoons are usually the weakest- at least when he's doing his self-indulgent "Whoa is me" routine. But he's engagingly cheery and resourceful in this one.

    Daws also gives a nice 'New England' accent to the farmer.