Tuesday, 24 February 2015

"That Old 'H-B' Magic"


He speaks with an exaggerated drawl, which covers the dumb, goofy, and lovable qualities. The contrast of personalities works perfectly between the pairing of the lawman and his sidekick Baba Looey. One character is fast while another is slow. Baba Boy is in control of the situation in difference to the ineptitude Quick Draw McGraw displays.

I like Quick Draw’s catchphrase, “I’ll do the thinnin’ around here. And doooon’t you forget it!” He wants to be in charge, but in reality it is Baba Looey who is in command. Daws extends the words “and”,” don’t”, and “it” for comedic effect. Who can't forget his classic line "Hold on thar!" when he is attempting to catch the latest outlaw.  The stupidity he unleashes is what speaks to me. In “Shooting Room Only” when the narrator asks what he is doing in town? He responds, with, a silly spoonerism, “What I can I you for do? Foo for you? I mean, do for you? 

Another example is demonstrated in “Bad Guys Disguise”. When Tombstone Jones asks him How fast can you draw a gun?” Our hero whips out a drawing pad and pencil. Later he and Baba Looey dress up as “defenseless wider woman” and baby in order to retrieve the goods. He bashes Tombstone with an umbrella to the tune of “Shave and a Hair Cut”. The villain praises him, “Oh, you got real spunk, m’am. Lucky for me you cain’t draw a gun.” He responds with Whom can’t draw a gun?” as he once again pulls out his drawing pad and pencil. Tombstone Jones sees through his disguise. He asks the audience, “How did he know it was me?”
Only a goofy character like, Quick Draw was capable of mixing shooting, and blowing the smoke out of his gun. One of the running gags is how he will be the recipient of the inevitable gunshot, explosion, and possibly every calamity a cartoon character can withstand. “Masking For Trouble” sees him as the Master Avenger, prior to his alter ego El Kabong. He shoots his foot when he is unable to get the gun unstuck from his holster.

In “Chopping Spree” when Knotty Pine casually throws an axe, which happens to land into a hollow log where our hero happens to be hiding. Shortly, he is running with the sharp instrument sticking from his posterior. (Looks like he suffered quite an axe-ident. I am surprised Mike Maltese missed that pun) The spirit of a cartoon character can never be demolished! Although, lookout for that anvil falling. Like all Butler creations, when they loudly yelped or yowled in pain, you could sense the alarming pain they suffered. I will utter a “That smarts!” when injuring myself. For example, I prepared “scramb-led eggs” for the breakfast. I failed to take sight that the stove was on where I placed the plate. When I picked up the plate immediately I released it due to the scorching heat. “Ouch, ooch, ouch!” I expressed while I soaked my fingers in the cool water.
The appearances of “bis-ket” hungry dog Snuffles and his alter ego “El Kabong” adds freshness to the series. The animation of euphoric Snuffles as he hugged himself, while he ascended into the air was hilarious. The multitude of “Mmmms” Daws Butler provided for him enhanced the sensation he experienced. I liked when he doesn’t receive a treat, he will mutter (“Rassa’ Frassin”) under his breath and usually bite Quick Draw. 
El Kabong  hollers “Ole” as he swings from a rope, while bashing the baddies with a guitar (Or as it is properly referred to as a “Kabonger”) always delights me.  In “El Kabong Strikes Again”, Mike Maltese lampoons how in the Douglas Fairbanks films there was a mystery of who the hero is underneath the mask. It is not extremely difficult to recognize a character with a distinct profile like Quick Draw McGraw.

SeƱorita: Thank you, El Kabong. And may I see the handsome face behind the mask of my hero El Kabong?
El Kabong: Well, it is kind of handsome in a wretched sort of way.”

She is revolted upon seeing Quick Draw’s face and departs with the stolen money. It is a terrific twist on the traditional ending where the heroine happily runs away the hero.
In the El-Kabong series Maltese tinkered with the idea of how during a swordfight, the protagonist and villain will breakout with a civil conversation. In “Who Is El Kabong” when he is sword fighting with the villain Norton South. The sword fight is temporarily halted.

South: By the way, Kabong, I got your letter. I must say your grammar is atrocious. 
El Kabong: It are? 
As grammatically incorrect as El Kabong’s response “It are?” sounds. I prefer using it to “It is”. 


I have always enjoyed cartoon series where the protagonist wears a fedora, trench coat. 

What "Hanna-Barbera" were masters at in starting their studio was twisting the conventional pairing of animals. How about a cat and a dog (Ruff and Reddy)? A cat and a mouse as detectives. What makes it perfect is while they're working in unison, moments of anarchy can arise. 

In "Bear-ly Able" when apprehending the Big Bad Wolf who is in drag. Snooper is about to run after him, however the Wolf trips him and places the wig on him. Blabber runs into the room only to notice his unconscious partner. "It's the wolf! That wig don't fool me!

I like how involved Blabber is in clobbering Snooper with a cane. He says to the wolf standing next to him: "Boy, Snoop is sure going to proud of me by the way I caught you, huh?". "He sure is sonny," replies the Wolf. Blabber shakes his head realizing what he has done. "Oh boy!" he expresses in embarrassment. 
"Does that mean I don't pass my private eye diploma?" inquires Blabber. The infuriated Snooper then plops the wig on Blabber's head. "Come back you little 'squeak-pip' and let me give you your diploma," says Snoop as he chases his assistant with a cane.

Mike Maltese did a terrific turn of events with them chasing one another, instead of capturing the wolf. I liked how Phillip Green's score entitled "Custard Pie Capers" adds to the hilarity of the scene. "I don't know why I always say I am sorry Snoop," exclaims Blabber as the camera irises. It makes light of how the cartoons will usually end with him adoring his superior. 

There will be situations where Snooper will allow Blabber to be in charge instead of an assistant. It was very nice of him as it gives Blab a sense of importance, which is crucial in a partnership. Especially as it is of the cat and mouse variety. In "Eenie, Geenie, Minie, Mo!", Blabber is in tears of the prospect of him being the leader.
Prior to receiving a case Snooper will answer the client's phone in a rhyming motto.  For example in "Real Gone Ghosts": "When other's fail, we'll stay on their trail." It was a perfect exhibition of the rhyming couplets that Maltese wrote for "Beep Beep The Road Runner" comic book stories for Western Publishing.

The recurring clients who kept on hiring the pair made it interesting: Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist (a family who are known for their ghoulish eccentricities), or how about Toot Suite the french flea. There was the perfect opportunity for them to be involved with the fairy-tale characters ("The Three Bears", "Cinderella", "Jack and The Beanstalk",). Maltese could include his wrangling of the traditional fairy-tale as he had done with Bugs and Daffy. How about the "Dragnet" style interrogation that Snooper employs on the Jack in "Fee Fi Fo Fumble".   
Snoop will never stoop to violating his humanity, no matter how tempting the fee is. In the ending of "De-Duck-Tives" he forfeits the $30,000 reward, and allows the Tralfrazian duck to meet his mother, namely Blabber dressed as a duck. 

I enjoy how since it was a parody on detective series, the fourth-wall was shattered. In "Case Of The Purloined Parrot" Snooper enlightens the audience "Purloined means stolen, incase you've flunked English." Or in "Creepy Chiller" Snooper alerts the viewers "Greetin’s, lovers of spine-chilling stories. If you are the scary type, do not watch this show. You had best go prune a daffodil, or something.”
"Halt in the name of the private eye's writer's room!" exclaims Snooper. 


My mother tells me when I was a couple of months old; my dad would hold me while watching “Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddy”. (“Inca-didentally” one of my nicknames was inspired by Augie.)
He would proudly say Doggie Daddy’s catchphrase: “Dats my boy who did that!”

The pride he exuded from him regardless of how significant or slight Augie’s accomplishments were. I always enjoy it.In “Fuss N’ Feathers” Augie is pretending to be a chef. He is taking down his Doggie’s breakfast order in Fractured-french. “I will take three eggs le ‘scramb-led,” requests Doggie Daddy. “Three eggs ‘le scramb-led’ coming. Arrevderci, mon Papa,” says Augie. Doggie Daddy remarks to the audience “That’s my boy whose speakin’ Lithuanian.” That line was generated a gyser of guffaws from my dad and I.

"Pup Plays Pop" during lunch Augie persuades Doggie for an extra slice of chocolate cake. 

Doggie:"But Augie, every loving son of mine. Two peices of choclate cake should be 'suf-fuff-icent' for lunch."
Augie(energetically jumps): "Do I hear three? Huh. Do I? Do I?"
Doggie (points):"Stop the motor! Stop the motor!"
Augie:"You mean like, Oliver Twist, I'm to go empty plated?" 
Doggie:"I mean like, Little Jack Horner, you go sit in the corner. Now go."
Augie"Some day, when I'm a father. I'll know how to make my son happy."

The displeasure Augie exhibits in his voice, the frowning expression, adds to the authenticity of his emotion he is experiencing. Maltese tinkers with the structure of a father and son sitcom. Augie then becomes the father, while Doggie is the son. The requests that Augie has for Doggie begins to have taken it's toll on him. On a tricycle, he whizzes past a police officer who pulls him over.

Irish Cop:"Now what's the big idea of son?"
Doggie:"I'm not the son officer. I'm what's left of the father."
Irish Cop:"This is a new one. What's your story?"
Doggie:"Well, it all started 'inner-cintly at break-a-fast, when I had to go and open my big mouth. Now, my son has been feeding it ever since." 
Augie: Now eat your rutabaga sand-a-which and your radish malted milk, and then we'll go to the amusement park. 
Irish Cop:"I'll take it from here."
I like how the scene is layed out from the perspective of Augie with the fisticuffs dangling from the police officer.The animation of him tilting his neck as he gulps, adds to his trepidation of being arrested.  He instantaneously surrenders in acting his age. It demonstrates the charm of being a child is problem free, in contrast to the responsibilities that an adult faces. The shot of Augie hugging Doggie Daddy's feet in addition to being cute shot, emphasizes the security he needs.
What I appreciate is how Maltese straddles the line between sweet and silliness. It does not come off preachy. 

Augie:"And daddy dear, I promise from now on I'll only have two peices;Providing I can have three slices for lunch.

Doggie: "I would have been awfully disappointed if he hadn't said that."

All father's wishes for the best interests for their son; Doggie Daddy is no exception. "Watch Dog Augie" Doggie wants to know why Augie hasn't finished his homework to allow him to go to college. In reality he is reading a book entitled "How To Be A Watch Dog", eventually he can follow in his father's footsteps.

In "Party Pooper Pop", Augie comes early from attending the neighbour's birthday party. He explains: "It's like I said dad. I'm not cut out for fun and frolic. I'm the studious type." Within the span of three seasons, Maltese matured him from the hyper-active pup to the boy genius. As an outcast from my colleagues in high school; It is a line that epitomizes my reclusiveness.

When listening to their characterizations, you can extract the respect and tenderness in their relationship. Daws Butler and Doug Young’s performances, as Augie and dear Doggie Daddy enhanced Michael Maltese’s droll dialogue. Maltese would utilize the preformer’s additions to the cartoon, as seen in “Little Wonder”.
Doggie takes Augie to the museum in order to improve his IQ. 

Augie:(points to the exhibition): "What's that thing over there?

Doggie: "That's a 'pre-hysterical monster, Augie boy"
Augie: "It looks to me like turkey leftovers."
Doggie: "To be more exact, it is a - 'Tyrondo-roarious Rex'."

I enjoyed how he mispronounced words, it adds to his clumsiness as a parent. 

He asks Augie to split an atom "scien-teh-tifically", by using a walnut for practice. Augie determines the distance where he can catapult a huge boulder from a tree onto the walnut. Instead, it demolishes into their house.  

Augie:“Dad, I miscalculated the wind velocity. Are you hurt?”
Doggie:“Just a little around the edges Augie."
Augie:“It’s no use-disappointed dad, I’m just an average boy whose got the best dad in the whole world.”

Doggie:“Heh-heh-heh. That’s my average boy, who loves his dad, and I’m glad he don’t need an IQ for that.”
Despite the damage Augie has caused, in the least he is calm. Once again Maltese at work with the right quotient of silly and sweet. It is an extremely touching line.

When Augie would make Doggie Daddy proud, he delivers a hearty, “Dat’s my boy who did dat”; the affection they expressed reverberated into my relationship with my father. When viewing other dynamics between dad and son, I have yet to see a father and son who cared for each other like they did.

“Heh..heh.. it’s not like every offspring can type a blog post like dat!”

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

"HANNA- BARBERA" Happiness

There is one animation company, which remains a special spot in my heart “Hanna-Barbera”. I was not aware that the cartoons were from the sixties. Nor did it matter. My dad deserves credit for introducing me to their works. I was two or three when he purchased a “Dastardly and Muttley” video. At that age I could not understand the humor, however I enjoyed the catchy theme. 

I was intimated seeing Mr. T wearing his gold chains, but was relaxed seeing the snippet of Top Cat. At the time I wondered, who was this character. I was captivated by his manner of speaking and appearance. In addition to the calculating cat, I was exposed to Atom Ant. I thought it was a clever concept, of a small creation having super powers. Howard Morris selected a neat voice. Then “the smarter than the aver-age bear” appeared. I thought it was ingenious of Yogi acquiring food from the inn, using a bow and arrow. The character wearing his pork-pie hat, tie and collar made an impression on me.

As a child watching “Huck”, “Yogi”, “Top Cat”, and “The Jetsons”, one common thread I observed was how charming they were. They possessed warm personalities, which made you feel like they were apart of your family. They produced many successful stars, among the types, anthromorphic animals or humans, with their distinct personalities. Early designers, Ed Benedict, Dick Bickenbach, Jerry Eisenberg, and Iawo Takamoto devised appealing character model sheets.

Amongst the voice actors that established the characters, were: Daws Butler, Don Messick, Doug Young, Arnold Stang, Janet Waldo, Paul Winchell and other talents. The catchy catchphrases they sprouted are attributed to their energizing vocalizations. Listening to the character’s voice, you could infer his or her nature. Who would better explain the popularity of their creations? Than Bill and Joe.

It would take multiple posts to list the many memorable characters, in the “Hanna-Barbera” universe. For the interest of brevity, this post will focus on the eleven favorites of yours truly. In order of appearance:


He is always jovial, often crooning an ear-deafening rendition of “Oh my darlin Clementine”. As his series was not formulaic, he existed in any time period (Medieval, Prehistoric, Roman Empire). Policeman, mountie, sheepherder, lion tamer, veterinarian, taxi driver, scientist, fireman, and police warden were the many occupations he dabbled at. A hound of many trades.

The South are the softest people. What better creation would be deserving of it than the honourable hound. The color blue is relaxing, which is appropriate to his calm demeanour. No matter how cruel the circumstances may be: He is always relaxed. An example of Huck's being relax despite how irritating the situation is in "Picadilly Dilly".

When London bobby Huck is in the cobblestone street. The dilly takes delight in squashing the helmet he is wearing, immediately he lies down in the street maniacally laughing."You got to admit he has a kind of offbeat sense of humour there," our constable remarks as our London bobby is tugging his helmet off. There is no trace of irritation present in the canine's cadence.

When the Dilly takes him directly to Dr. Jikkle's, once again he strikes his helmet. "I don't why he finds this so comical," he comments while removing his helmet again. The Dilly undergoes transformation now appearing as Dr. Jikkle. He laments "The police! I knew you'd fine me sooner or later. In a way, I'm glad. When you mix hydroexitrene and peritone together, you're bound to get a schizo-frantic reaction." I like how Huck responds as if he understands what is occurring, while he is completely unaware. Another display is in “The Scrubby Brush Man”
Huckleberry is given the task of selling a brush, to the terrible 13th precinct. The customer's response to the previous tactics is brutish. During Huck's attempt he dismisses the salesman resistant signs - “No Peddlers”, “Salesman Go Home”. Before ringing the doorbell, he explains to the audience, “In this business, you got to be extra per-lite like.”

When Daws voices Huckleberry Hound, his mispronunciation of words adds to his fallibilities. When the client opens the door. Huck comments, “I see you have one of our products in your hand there.” Just before being bashed with a brush. “That’s what we call in the trade ‘the brush off’,” our salesman snickers. The laugh Daws gave him was natural. I love his ability of “brushing himself off” the disappointment. Then laughing at the ordeal. It seems like the right attitude to apply, when experiencing the brutal blows of life.

What is admirable about Huckleberry Hound is his persistence. In the process of completing a goal, there will be an occasional setback that prevents him. Despite wether he comes out as winner or is defeated he remains cheerful. Usually he makes a joke or comments on the situation.


“I hate meeces to pieces!” shouts the bow-tie wearing cat as he runs past the same background with a broom. Depending on the premise of the cartoon, writer Warren Foster would have either the “Meeces” being enemies or friends with Mr.Jinks. 

In "Strong Mouse" when Mr. Jinks discovers the Meeces have cleaned out the lactic fluid in the fridge. He uses bug spray in order on them. Pixie and Dixie wonder why he used the spray canister on them. "I’ve been so lenient with you guys, you forget you forget who I am (ceases smiling and glowers). I am the cat! When you see me, you should cringe. Beg for your miserable lives. Tremble in abject-like ter-ror!" The two mice laugh at his speech. He wonders what the hilarity is in what he has said. The Meeces explain how deep inside he can't extremely dislike them.

Another example is in "Lend Leece Meece" when Charlie moves into the house next door. Mr. Jinx welcomes him to the neighbourhood and offers anything he needs. He explains to Jinks how he is anxious about being evicted from his home because it's too recent to have mice. Mr. Jinks loans out the Meeces to Charlie until he has his own mice to run after. "And don't show your meece faces around here until I call you guys," Jinx says as they are leaving. Two weeks later an anxious Jinx has noticed that Charlie has not returned his Meeces.

When he is unable to retrieve Pixie and Dixie from Charlie.  He asks the them whose company they would prefer living with.  They wanted to live with their new neighbor. Mr. Jinks strongly responds
"You brainwashed them Meeces". it shows how he does not accept them with anyone else, but him. In a strange way it is a form of "commensameecelism".Warren Foster reiterated the philosophical aspect of the team: "The mice make allowances for the occasional attacks on them by Jinx. They understand he is not evil. He is just a cat and he can’t help being himself." 

I like the nice voices Daws Butler and Don Messick supply for Dixie and Pixe, respectively. One of the very few, Butler, characters I can do a passable imitation of. As apart of his beatnik lexicon, he sprinkles “Sheesh”, and “like” frequently. 

One enjoyable quality is how when he runs after the Meeces, he rationalizes his reason to the audience.  In "Heavens To Jinksey" one of his asides is "I am so evil I frighten myself," as he chuckles. Or in "Plutocrat Cat" when he plays the game "Bumbly-Bee" which consists of Pixie and Dixie wearing wings and humming as he pursues them with a broom. He says “Okay, so I’m a tyrant,” he tells us. “I, like, uh, you know, find a outlet for my artistic tempera-ment playing ‘Bumbly Bee.’ A chuckle will rise out of me, when he breaks the fourth wall to the audiences, about how his scientific prowess is surprising due to him being a feline.


When I was in grade six Teletoon would air “Yogi Bear”. Yogi and Boo-Boo would outwit Ranger Smith, as they peruse “pic-a-nic” baskets by the bushel in Jellystone Park. Daws Butler provided him, with a lilting delivery that matched his positive personality. The voice benefited him as he rhymed regularly. Daws enhanced the script by having Yogi pronounce words like, “pic-a-nic” and “aver-age” by breaking the words into two syllables. When he would laugh as "Hey-hey-hee-hee" that would send a lightning bolt of delight down your spine. 

At the time, my interests lay in the “Disney” cartoons. I drew a comparison between Yogi and the series, which featured Humphrey Bear against Ranger Woodlore. The two bruins would sneakily scrounge for sustenance, from their rangers in a forest or park. At the time, I hypothesized, how Jack Hannah who directed the Humphrey shorts left Disney to join Joe Barbera. He modified the concept while starting their new studio. When watching the credits carefully, I discovered that the two gentlemen spelled their names differently.

When I hear the “needle drop” scores that played in the cartoons: It takes me back to sitting on the couch with my father watching Yogi Bear. I slowly warmed up to the series, as the animation appeared choppy in the early entries. In retrospect I found the first season strange, but interesting for the inconsistency with the design of the Ranger. Before settling on the name Ranger Smith, he was referred to as, Joe, Fred, Bill. In the first season he seldomly snatched a pic-a-nic basket. The cartoons were very enjoyable, but the entries that stood out for me were: “Robin Hood Yogi”,  “Hoodwinked Bear” and "Yogi's Birthday Party". 

In  “Robin Hood Yogi” one of his attempts was leaping from a tree limb, only landing smack dab through the trailer watching a woman cooking lunch. “Scram! Shoo! Skidoo, you!” the woman exclaims, as she pummels Yogi with a frying pan. It was one of my favorite couplets that Charles Show wrote. I would constantly repeat that line, when I would play at recess. The clunking sound effect of the pan drubbing his head has always stuck in my mind. The white lines that represented the reverberation of the instrument was a nice touch. Art Lozzi’s dark green background for the forest, matched the color of the sofa, where I sat while watching the cartoon. The ending of Yogi conning Ranger Joe  into becoming one of his Merry Men was funny.   
I recall how much fun I had viewing “Hoodwinked Bear”. The opening scene Yogi is reading the signs “Do not feed the bears!” in the foreign languages. Upon him reading the sign in German was when I was aware of how versatile Daws Butler was.

Daws Butler used his ‘Bilko’ voice for the scheming wolf, which would eventually be passed down to Hokey. When a performer bases a character’s voice on a famous personality it eventually evolves into an original creation. I never knew who Phil Silvers was; To me it sounded as if the character was an original invention.

When the wolf was in the process of shoving Yogi in the closet. He protests “Stop! I am an old lady.” The wolf responds: And you won’t get any older if you give me trouble, because I’m merciless. I’ll show you no mercy.” I love the gusto that he breathes into when delivering the word ‘mercy’. Daws savory reading highlights Warren Foster’s witticisms as the Wolf.

The doorbell rings, Wolf delivers an aside to the audience “Oh, boy. Real clock-stoppers, both of ‘em. I don’t know who’s homelier, granny or the kid.” I got a kick out of it when the characters used the word homely. I liked the wolf’s relaxed expression as he said that while touching the back of his head. It’s a good natural movement.

George Nicholas delightfully animated the wolf covering his in disgust. I found it amusing how the wolf was revolted by Boo-Boo as “Red”; Instead he would eat the contents of the picnic.

Boo-Boo: “I am not a little girl. I am a little Boo-Boo.”
Wolf: “A boo-boo. Yeah, I’ll buy that you are a ‘boo-boo’ all right.”

Don Messick did a tremendous job bringing out the naivety as Boo-Boo.
When "Yogi's Birthday Party" aired I recall how jubilant Hoyt Curtin's Dixieland version of "The Yogi Bear Show" added to my excitement. The framing sequence of Ranger Smith explaining to the audience how Yogi Bear's surprise birthday party was organized was nice. Ranger Smith keeps his party as a surprise, by telling Yogi that he will be starring in his own half-hour show. 
 At that time I could partially detect drops of Ranger Smith's jaded cynicism towards Yogi's exaggeration about his talents. For example the Ranger comments "Yogi your modesty overwhelms you." I could not explain why I enjoyed jokes or lines that whizzed over my mind. Perhaps it was the adult aspect to them.  I liked Yogi's enthusiasm when promoting his television special to the tourists and the chef. My favorite tactic of his was him littering advertisements from the sky. Unbeknownst to me at the time was Hoyt Curtin's score from "Top Cat" was used during the scene. I enjoyed the music, but I was unaware which series it originated from. 
When he arrived on the scene of his special, he implores Ranger Smith to postpone it, as he is not ready. The Ranger reveals that he is the guest of honor on his birthday, as he presents a book with his name on it. he stunned reaction as he fainted upon hearing about the surprise was animated nicely touch. I liked Daws Butler's verklempt delivery by the surprise. My favorite part was when his fellow members from the "Huckleberry" , "Quick Draw", and "Yogi" shows greeted him. I adored the interaction between Yogi and his pals. It had been a while since I had seen Augie Doggie, I recall my father telling me "These characters are good" when they appeared. A capper to this special was a joyous musical tribute led by his friends. I was delighted when they threw him in the air. 
"Don't  shoo. Stay around for part two in a week,  until then don't peak. Hey-hey- hee-hee!" endorses Yogi Bear.

Images and dialogue for "Robin Hood Yogi, "Piccadilly Dilly", "Hoodwinked Bear", "Lend Lease Meece", "Strong Mouse", "Scrubby Brush Man" are from Yowp's blog.