Saturday, 5 August 2017

Yakky Doodle in Stamp Scamp

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – C.L. Hartman, Layout – Lance Nolley, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Director – Paul Sommer, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Yakky Doodle – Jimmy Weldon; Chopper, Sewer Worker – Vance Colvig. Mouse – ?
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
Episode: Production R-43 (17th of 24 Yakky cartoons in 1961).
Copyright 1961 by Hanna-Barbera Productions.
Plot: Yakky and Chopper chase after a trading stamp.

Once upon a time, you could go to the store and, depending on how much you spent, you would be handed some S&H Green Stamps. With your joyous cache in hand, you would skip home and paste them in a book. When the book was full of stamps, you could get something for free, things like a transistor radio or a camera or glassware. Like canasta and fondue sets, it was a part of Americana that was huge at one time then faded away (although Green Stamps still exist; you can look it up on the internet). Today, stores give air miles or points, which is kind of the same sort of thing.

The reason I’m going into this background is because I’m trying to avoid talking about this cartoon. Just watching it to the end was a challenge. I don’t care about Yakky Doodle collecting green stamps. I don’t care that a stamp escaped and Chopper chased all over after it. This could have been a really good cartoon if Mike Maltese satirised the American pastime of collecting these things. But he didn’t. And he was bogged down by the two most humorless characters on any of Hanna-Barbera’s half-hours sponsored by Kellogg’s. Neither of them say anything remotely interesting or funny, though I kind of liked the final line. Yakky’s buying something special for Chopper with the stamps. “Well, I hope it’s a first aid kit. ‘Cause I could sure use it.”

Of course, you’d never know it. Chopper doesn’t look any worse because of his experience. He’s drawn the same old way. Not even a scratch. Now, ain’t that cute?

I’ll give Maltese points—or maybe a couple of Green Stamps—for trying something a little different. Yakky isn’t whining for his mother and Chopper isn’t saving him from some third character, unless you count a recalcitrant stamp as a character. On second thought, having Chopper and Fibber Fox battle to redeem stamp books to get bigger things to bash each other would have been funny.

Did Maltese think people couldn’t understand Jimmy Weldon’s Yakky? Why else would Chopper repeat what Yakky says? “I need just one more shopping stamp to fill my book,” the duck shouts to his pal (waking him up in the process). “Ya need one more stamp to fill your book, Yakky?” Why are you asking, Chopper? Didn’t he just say so? Weldon’s diction, by the way, is good. He’s easier to understand than the pre-Yakky voiced by Red Coffey.

Allow me to perform a public service and save you from watching this cartoon. The plot revolves around the fact the licked stamp won’t stay in the book. Here’s what happens. The stamp

● Sticks to Chopper’s finger.
● Sticks to Chopper’s foot.
● Sticks to a flat iron.
● Flies onto a highway when Chopper sneezes and gets stuck to a car tire.
● Rests on a manhole cover which a sewer worker crashes on Chopper’s head.
● Sticks to Chopper’s head before a woodpecker takes it to a nest. Chopper is knocked from the nest by a newly-hatched pecking woodpecker.

● Sticks to a log in a river. Chopper hands the stamp to Yakky in a tree and goes over a waterfall (off camera).

● Sticks to a butterfly, which drops it off on a telephone wire. Apparently the duck has somehow lost the ability to fly because Chopper goes onto the wire with a balancing pole. Unfortunately, the butterfly returns and its massive weight on the pole causes Chopper to fall.
● Sticks to the foot of a mouse that fights with Yakky in a storage shed, kicking the stamp onto the duck’s rear end. Chopper, not realising this, reaches in to the shed, which just happens to have sticks of dynamite. Chopper lights a match. You know what happens next. After the explosion, Chopper spots the stamp. Yakky has his book filled. Hurray.

I’m guessing Vance Colvig is playing the sewer worker who pops up from under the manhole cover. If I had to guess at who is doing the mouse, I’d say it was Doug Young, but I honestly don’t know.

There’s some Loopy De Loop accordion music in this cartoon. I like the cascading piano keys when the stamp floats down to the shed; it was used in a few H-B cartoons but is perfect here.


  1. The plot's similar to one of the Tedd Pierce-era Popeye cartoons, "Olive's Sweepstakes Ticket" where Popeye spends most of the time chasing the wind-blown ticket, instead of a green stamp (having Chopper and Fibber Fox battle to redeem stamp books to get bigger things to bash each other would have been similar to another Pierce effort "The High and the Flighty", though to be the exact same, Yakky would have had to have been selling them the Green Stamps to buy the mayhem devices with).

  2. Both canasta and fondue sets are available, just not as big. Las Vegas buffets (the one at Harrah's, anyway) tend to have fudge fondue sets. You can look all of them up....small town America and suburbas and antique stores,of course carry them..

    1. Many times in the early 1960's, I remember walking with Mom and her full stamp book, leaving with a toaster and other goodies. Boy, this brings back some memories.

  3. Probably the most notable use of a plot involving trading stamps is an early episode of The Brady Bunch, "54-40 and Fight".

  4. Trading stamps were so in vogue in the 60s.
    Even here in Brazil this tendency was in vogue on that period.

  5. Did Maltese think people couldn’t understand Jimmy Weldon’s Yakky? Why else would Chopper repeat what Yakky says?

    Probably in case the younger audience couldn't understand him (people have had this kind of problem with Donald Duck for decades..).

    1. Could be, but I don't know if Maltese really wrote anything with young kids in mind.