Monday, 23 May 2022

Is There a Plumber in the House?

Fans of early Hanna-Barbera cartoons are the best.

Each of us has our favourite series and characters. The late cartoon writer Earl Kress and I found an instant kinship when I told him my favourite H-B series is The Quick Draw McGraw Show. Earl, as you may know, spent what ended up being fruitless time endeavouring to get the series released on home video by Warners, only to run into several roadblocks.

One of them was the location of bumpers—those little cartoons between the cartoons. Whoever was running things at what was left of the studio had no idea where the masters were, or even if they still existed, to Earl’s dismay. Of course, when the series first aired in 1959, 16-millimetre prints were sent to TV stations in the U.S. and elsewhere around the world. The same thing happened several years later when the half-hours were shorn of references to Kellogg’s and syndicated again (Quick Draw also aired on CBS on Saturday mornings in 1966-67).

An early Hanna-Barbera fan with the handle of Steven Hanson has somehow acquired dubs of some of the 16 mm. prints and is braving take-down notices by posting some of the Quick Draw mini-cartoons in his possession. Some are even in colour.

Here’s a shortie. Quick Draw and Baba Looey are fishing in a rowboat that is taking on water (which we can’t see to save some pencil mileage).



Quick Draw’s keen deduction tells him if he shoots a hole in the bottom, that’ll let the water out.



Not quite.



Never fear! Tex Avery is here! Well, kind of. The writer borrows the water-plugging gag from Avery’s Lucky Ducky (1948). I’m pretty sure it predates that cartoon, but that’s the only one I can think of with it.



The Avery version.



Who is the animator of this cartoon? He worked on Lucky Ducky. These odd mouth shapes should give it away.



Mike Lah.

The frames look they came straight from the storyboard without embellishment, though in the first Huckleberry Hound Show cartoons (1958), Lah would change mouth shapes on a face with the rest of the body being held on a cel. In this little cartoon, the pinkish snout moves slightly as well (and the water spurt is on a cycle). It’s a shame he decided not to go for funny takes like he did with Mr. Jinks, but gave us Jack Benny-style stares instead. Lah worked freelance the whole time he was at Hanna-Barbera; an offer to be a partner in 1957 fell through.

Oh, the title of this post is Quick Draw’s last line before the fade-out.

If you like Quick Draw, you should be delighted Mr. Hanson has posted these. He also has put up a few Ruff and Reddy half-hours. I find the show a little childish and dull, but it has fans who will be happy to see it. Like the Quick Draw McGraw Show, I really, really doubt we will ever see it on home video due to music rights issues, so this will have to do for now.

4 comments:

  1. Just subscribed to Steven's channel---Thanks for the info. Looks like a lot of fun.

    Strictly my opinion, but if Warners has no plans or interest in this material, they shouldn't take umbrage with those that have access to it, and wish to share with others in a nonprofit capacity.

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    1. I was thinking the exact same thing!

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  2. Cartoons have always borrowed gags from each other. Back in the theatrical era, it was probably assumed the cartoons would never be seen again, so why not? Besides, who better than former MGM cartoonists to reuse MGM cartoon material?

    top_cat_james nails it, of course. Come on, rights holders, be fair: allow reasonable access to your stuff at a reasonable price (and good quality), or it'll be pirated out from under you, and serves you right for sitting on it.

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  3. Thanks for the post, Yowp! If you're wondering, I've been collecting what I've can since the 90s and got the 16mm films. According to a subscriber, I got a rare Huck closing-cast bumper I uploaded not too long ago. How and where they (the original owners) got them is unknown :(

    Again, thanks for the recognition and I might post again soon!

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