Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Flintstones Weekend Comics, September 1967

That nasty word “strike” wasn’t heard about Hanna-Barbera until August 1979 when there was a ten-day walkout by IATSE members (against the wishes of the union president) protesting runaway production. But Fred Flintstone was calling for one in the comics 50 years ago this month. Fred’s militancy weakens in the face of Wilma’s concern about money (and a mother-in-law joke is tossed in as well).


Alas, Richard Holliss did not have a colour version of the September 3rd comic in his collection. This shaky-scanned black and white version will have to do. Pterodactyl Airlines is apparently out of business; perhaps it violated safety laws. It’s too bad the first panel in the second row isn’t more readable. Note the silhouette ptero in the hanger in the background. And Fred suffers from Instant Watch Syndrome, where a character wears a watch only as needed in the plot and then it disappears again. As Pebbles might say: “Mekle zaba da!”


A visual pun ends the September 10th comic. Tsk. And no child car seat. How did kids in unmotor vehicles survive in the Stone Age? I like the dinosaur that seemingly likes to squat on roads.


Someone should tell Wilma that one of the ideas behind a strike is to get better pay. Regardless, Fred (who is wearing blue this month) is insistent until he hears about linoleum in the bathroom (Linoleum? In the Stone Age?) and having to entertain Wilma’s mother. The September 17th comic features the only appearance of Barney Rubble this month. Pebbles gets the week off. Too bad the union local isn’t 839.


This story is my favourite of the money. The expressions are really good, especially the Fred yell and the “I can’t win” one at the end. Note the scurrying Pebbles. Any more dialogue would have hurt the comic. This is from September 24th.

Click on any of the comics to make them larger.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Portraying Wacky Old Ladies

Today would have, well, should have, been June Foray’s 100th birthday. Posts in celebration were banked for this blog and Tralfaz some months ago. It was not to be. June died last July. However, we’ll put up the posts nonetheless to remember her wonderful voice work, most of which you were likely never exposed to.

June recorded countless commercials over her career; trade magazines claimed she was the busiest voiceover actress in Hollywood. She recorded for at least three different banks, as well as Sears, Ford and, well, a list would be pointless. She looped dialogue in films. And, of course, she was heard in who-knows-how-many cartoons, the first of which was The Unbearable Bear at Warners, recorded in 1942, for which, studio records show, she was paid $25 (Keith Scott’s tireless research found that).

Her first job at Hanna-Barbera was with a more bearable bear—Yogi—in Bear on a Picnic (early 1959). Evidently Bill Hanna and/or Joe Barbera didn’t want Don Messick playing a woman’s role in falsetto as had been done a number of times at the studio. Foray had recorded voice tracks at MGM when Hanna and Barbera were directing there in the mid-‘50s. She went on to a number of other parts and series at H-B we won’t try to mention.

This story has nothing to do with Hanna-Barbera. It’s the earliest article I can find on June’s career. It’s in the July 1, 1945 edition of Radio Life, a Los Angeles based radio magazine. She was very busy even back then.


She Never Says “No!”
June Foray’s Policy Is Never to Say No to Producer’s Wanting Strange or Unusual Voices; She Can Do ‘em All

WHEN tiny, 4' 11 ", 100 lb. June Foray steps to the microphone (quite often she uses "Little Beaver's" on "Red Ryder") an audience smiles approvingly. "Isn't she cute?" they whisper.
Suddenly they may be shocked into stunned silence. For from this dainty little figure might come the sound of a hoarse kiss (which is pretty ghastly) or on the more subdued side, hiccups, sniffles or screams.
Whenever a producer wants the impossible performed on his radio show, he sends for June. "Can you do such and such ?" he asks. "Yes," answers June.
"But how do you know you can do it ?" we asked the little actress while having tea with her.
"I don't," she confessed. "But I never say no or I never experiment. I just do it."
Sound effects aren't June's only talent. She is just as well-known for her wacky old ladies, dialects and very-moving dramatic performances. She recently did a "straight" part on Norman Corwin's Special V-E Day show.
Did School Program
In 1936 she made her debut on radio by reading poetry. Then followed three years as "Lady Make Believe," a program which was piped directly into Los Angeles City schools. June wrote the program herself.
Today she has nine regular shows including "Sherlock Holmes," "Holly wood Mystery Time," "Red Ryder,” "Which Is Which," "That's A Good Idea," "Romance of' the Ranchos,” and "This Is My Story."
Married to an Army officer, who is in Texas at present, June occupies an apartment in Hollywood. She possesses an unlimited amount of energy and divides her time between what she calls "politics" (she's an active member of the Hollywood Democratic Committee) and her duties as a member of the AFRA board. That isn't all. Since June of 1942 she has regularly been making camp show appearances.
Being such an active person, she admits that although she doesn't follow a schedule, she writes notes to herself. They all start "Dear June" and end with "Love, June." She follows them religiously.
She likes keeping house. Her family lives nearby and so she has little time to be lonely. At home she wears shorts—or nothing at all. She drives a 1937 Chevvy. She likes portraying wacky old ladies and thinks the most unusual thing she does is the little boy on the Gallen-Kamp commercial.
In Movies
Because of her unlimited knowledge of sound effects and dialects, she is in demand for a lot of work for motion pictures. She was the baby cry in Paramount's "Dr. Wassell." In the forthcoming "Kitty" she hiccoughs for Paulette Goddard.
Once she was to do whooping coughs for a screen child. Having no idea what the coughs sounded like she received special permission to visit a hospital ward and listen to them. “They were the most wracking sounds I'd ever heard,” she recalled, “and I nearly wrecked my throat perfecting them.”
Once they had been perfected and "dubbed" into the sound track, the producer and director found them so unpleasant to the ear that they cut them out and gave the child diphtheria instead. "All in a day's work," June observed.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Jetson’s Night Out

Everyone, I think, has cartoon memories. Here’s one of mine. On the Jetsons, there was an episode where a button was pressed and a whole apartment building rose out of a rainstorm into the clear sky. I remember watching this and wondering “When does the building go back down again? What if someone didn’t want the building to go up?”

55 years later, I still don’t know the answers. But the building going up was the best part of the show.

Maybe if the Jetsons didn’t rely on tired old sitcom premises it might have stayed on the air. You’ve seen this one before. Jane makes plans that interfere with George’s plans. So he engages in trickery to get out of it but gets caught. Even the Flintstones pulled that one in its premiere. So let’s skip past the plot and look at the futuristic and anachronistic things in Jetson’s Night Out, the fifth episode to air, on October 21, 1962.

First, the Skypad Apartments rise, courtesy of a button pressed by Henry the janitor (the nasty clouds are on a cel overlay).



Elroy feels like a banana with his spray-on raincoat.



Newspapers? Who needs them? All you need is an internet connection to read the headlines or see news video. You couldn’t in 1962. But today? The only thing different is a “newspaper” comes in a little square disc. Maybe that unencrypts something on-line to get around a newspaper firewall.



Siri, what time is it? Yes, the Jetsons have that, too. Except Siri sounds like Senor WeƱces.



Ruh, roh! Some very un 21st Century humour coming up:


Judy: Aren’t you going to finish your coffee, dad?
George: Nope. Came out too strong this morning. But don’t throw it out. Some pygmies from Africa may show up and want to dip their spears in it. Ha, ha, ha!

George, don’t you know that’s racist in the future? Follow Stan Freberg’s advice. Do jokes about the Swiss. No one gets offended.

Dish disposal is easy. The dishes are crunched into pieces and swept away. Perhaps they’re reformed into plates and cups by some machine in the kitchen.



Someone tell all those people pumping money into electric car research not to bother. We learn from the Jetsons that cars run on fuel pellets. And cheap! George gasses up for $2. When was the last time you could do that, 1962? George pays using his card and facial recognition technology to thwart identity theft.



These days, corporations make employees wear cards where they swipe in and out when come and go, with the information stored in a computer at headquarters. You can’t make a gag out of that, so Harvey Bullock and Ray Allen (and with Tony Benedict’s help, I suspect) used a time-clock gag, with a flying security camera capturing late workers on a .gif file and zooming it to the boss. Jetson to Spacely: “I don’t photograph too well, do I, sir?” Spacely to Jetson: “You don’t work very well, either.”



Robotic secretaries still use reel-to-reel tape.



The Visiphone. Now you don’t see it. Now you do.



Back to the plot. George wants to watch the football game on TV. Jane has committed them to go to a PTA meeting. Cosmo Spacely wants to go to the football game. Mrs. Spacely has committed them to a Phil Sputnik (Phil Spitalny) concert. So Spacely concocts a scheme where he tells his wife he has to be by Jetson’s bedside because of a terminal illness (nuclear dyanomitis); that way he and George can go to the game. The two of them race to the Jetsons’ bedroom. George still hasn’t got a clue what Spacely’s plot is, though when Mrs. Spacely arrives to comfort him, their miscommunication leaves her thinking he’s just about dead.


Mrs. S.: Now, don’t you worry. You will be here for a long time.
George: Aw, no. I’ll be leavin’ any minute.
Mrs. S.: Oh, don’t even think of that!
George: Aw, but it’s true. Kick off is at 8:30.
Mrs. S.: Kick off? You mean... but how do you know the time?
George: Well, it says so on the ticket.
Mrs. S.: Ticket?
George: Aw, you’ve got to have a reservation?
Mrs. S.: Reservation!? Oh, dear!
George: Aw, I wouldn’t go without the boss’s okay.
Mrs. S.: And they say dogs are loyal!

George bribes Elroy with 40 cents (that won’t go very far, will it?) to keep quiet about seeing him, then he and Spacely take off for the game. End of Part 1.

Part 2 starts with the Jetsons almost inventing the domed stadium; the Astrodome was under construction at the same time the series aired, though it obviously wasn’t a bubble dome floating in space. There’s even a scanner to ensure all tickets are genuine.



A good portion of the next few minutes is taken up with robotic football player gags. As technology stories today talk about robot care givers and robot comfort-pet and robot, robot football players, I suppose, are not out of the realm of possibility. Naturally, there’s a collision gag leaving one all busted to bolts (“He should be as good as new by half-time, so don’t worry, mother,” says the game announcer, emulating Dennis James on the wrestling matches on the Du Mont network years earlier). We get a “Statue of Liberty” play gag and one about a veteran coming in to save the game (“he’s one of the old, manually-operated players”; the robot has to be wound up).



Yes, vinyl-heads, you’re favourite format for music still exists in the Jetsons’ time. George has hooked up a record of him to play when the Visiphone rings, telling Jane (he just knew she was going to call) he’s working overtime. A tacky cardphone picture is set up for the Visiphone to see. Unfortunately, the big drawback of vinyl hasn’t been fixed. The record skips. Jane realises she’s been BS’d by her husband. And Mrs. Spacely has arrived so the two are able to piece together what happened, especially after seeing the two men on the huge screen TV in the Jetsons’ apartment. Yes, something else you saw first in a Hanna-Barbera cartoon.



Oh, here comes the other un-PC part. George is the stadium’s 1,000,000th fan so he wins a prize—a mink coat. To placate the angry wives, George takes a pair of scissors and cuts it into a mink jacket and a mink stole—a gift for each wife. Both of them ADORE their minks. Imagine if a cartoon did this today. PETA would throw a fit. Animal lovers would clack away on social media about it. There’d be calls to cancel The Jetsons over it. Newspapers, web sites, TV stations would all pick up on the chatter and endlessly editorialise about it. Then there’d be a counter-protest on-line demanding no censorship on old animation, that we mustn’t bury the attitudes of the past (add a “such things were wrong then and wrong now” disclaimer, they’d cry). The world would be gripped with Holier-than-thou-itis. Until the next thing came along a few days later.

Anyway, the women decide they need to spend, spend, spend on new accessories to match their furs—including a new car. Spacely is outraged and fires Jetson yet again to end the cartoon.

The four regulars plus Mel Blanc, Don Messick and Jean Vander Pyl provide voices. I think Walt Clinton laid out at least part of the cartoon and George Nicholas may have animated some of it, though there aren’t many of his real fun expressions. The inventions are the most enjoyable thing and I can’t help but wonder if this cartoon brought about the invention a couple of years later of Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em Robots by a company known to sponsor Hanna-Barbera cartoon shows, Marx.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Press Handouts

Cartoon studios have publicity departments. Arnie Carr was in charge of the one at Hanna-Barbera starting in August 1959; that’s Arnie next to Fred Flintstone in a Life magazine photo. He badgered newspaper writers. Hal Humphrey of the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner wrote about it on more than one occasion in columns we’ve transcribed HERE and HERE. He organised publicity stunts; when Top Cat aired, Carr tried to get the attention of entertainment columnists by sending them garbage cans. And he and his staff also seem to have churned out news releases. In a time-honoured Hollywood tradition, they were written like newspaper copy so papers could simply dump them into columns of type verbatim. Voila! Instant entertainment story! A stock photo might accompany the release; one newspaper published a third of a page of nothing but captioned artwork of Wilma with living kitchen gadgets. You can’t buy that kind of publicity. And that was the idea.

The Binghamton Press seems to have relied on Arnie to help fill space. Here are a number of stories the paper published that are pretty obvious in their origin from the Carr PR department. Parts of the first story were from an all-purpose studio release. I’ve seen some of the same lines used in articles when a paper announced it was picking up the Yogi comic strip for its Sunday editions, including the misspelling of "Van Beuren."

This was published September 3, 1960.
Yogi's Papas On Top of Heap It Couldn't Be Done?
NEW YORK — Three years ago, cartoonist William Hanna and Joseph Barbera were unemployed and their prospects were approximately nil.
Today, the creators of Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear have grown to be one of the largest cartoon producing companies in the world.
Oddly enough, neither Hanna nor Barbera began his career as cartoonist or artist. Bill Hanna, born in Melrose, N. M., studied engineering and journalism. After college, he joined a California firm as a structural engineer for the building of the Pantages Theater in Hollywood.
Ending engineering aspirations, Hanna joined Leon Schlessinger's [sic] cartoon company, with duties, as he explains them, "to run for coffee, clean cartoon cells, sweep up the place, and drown my bosses with story ideas."
Joe Barbera was born in New York City. After graduation from the American Institute of Banking, he started as an accountant for New York's Irving Trust Company.
An inveterate doodler and dreamer, he began submitting cartoons to the leading magazines. He made his first sale to Collier's, then soon became a regular contributor to the leading magazines.
After a short deliberation, Barbera decided on a career of cartooning. Later he joined Van Buren Associates as a sketch artist.
In 1937, Hanna was hired by MGM as a director and storyman and Barbera was employed by MGM as an animator and writer.
Working side by side, they developed an idea for a new and different cartoon series. They presented the idea to MGM executives and were told to develop it and put it on film.
The result: The birth of a world famous cat and mouse, namely "Tom and Jerry," and the emergence of a bright, new cartooning team.
In their 20 years at MGM they turned out over 125 "Tom and Jerry" adventures, which won seven Academy Awards for MGM. In 1957, with the motion picture business at an all-time low, the team asked for and received a release from their contract. Shortly, MGM discontinued cartoon production.
Leaving MGM proved to be the biggest break of their lives.
Armed with several revolutionary techniques and ideas for producing cartoons for television, the team made the rounds of advertising agencies and film producing companies. They met the same answer everywhere: "It can't be done. Good animation is too expensive, limited animation too shoddy." On July 7, 1957, Screen Gems decided to take a chance on the two young men and Hanna and Barbera Productions were born. Planned animation, as Hanna and Barbera call their new concept, caught on quickly. ABC-TV purchased "The Flintstones," a satire on an exurbanite family in the Stone Age.
Hanna is married and resides in North Hollywood with his wife, Violet, and their two children, Bonnie Jean and David. Barbera and his wife, Dorothy, live in West Los Angeles with their three children, Lynn, Jane and Neal.
This next story was published January 14, 1961. The Yogi Bear half-show show was about to debut. What a coincidence!
TV stars are always requested to aid worthy causes so it is not surprising to learn that an official of the U. S. Department of the Interior working at Yellowstone Park has sent an SOS to Yogi Bear.
Yogi, the popular Bear on the Huckleberry Hound cartoon show, has been such a sensation with the youngsters that he is getting his own series. When the letter arrived from Yellowstone, Yogi's creators, Hanna-Barbera, feared that it was a request to mate him with a female version of Smoky the Bear and produce a smoky Yogi.
But the Park officer merely wanted Yogi to come to Yellowstone and give a few classroom lectures to his fellow bears on how to behave with the tourists. Some of them, obviously, inspired by Yogi's success, are becoming too friendly and want to be taken home as pets.
Yogi has been granted permission to go to Yellowstone and Hanna-Barbera, generous to a fault, have told him he may keep any fees he earns with this extracurricular activity.
Next, we pick up the paper of March 11, 1962. I found this one in a couple of papers. Carr knew the value of a short release in case a paper had a little space to fill; there were also one-liners that papers used back in the days of “fillers,” little factoids needed to complete a column of text.
No Automation For Animation
The use of electronic machinery in modern industry greatly reduces personnel while increasing production.
At Hanna-Barbera's TV Cartoon Production Studio in Studio City, Ca., the opposite seems to be true.
The reason, of course, is that at Hanna-Barbera they make only animated cartoons, which require hand crafts which automation experts cannot duplicate. An animated episode in a series such as the Fllntstones calls for the services of 215 persons who create, animate and process 30,000 individual drawings. It is a painstaking procedure taking five months to complete a single half-hour show.
This one is from May 19, 1962.
'Miracles' Accomplished
Company executives suffering from the ache of labor-management problems, instead of reaching for the aspirin, might well pay a visit to the Hanna-Barbera TV cartoon studio in Studio City.
"In terms of work, what we are doing is impossible," Joe Barbera says. "At MGM, for example, we turned out a total of 48 minutes ot cartoon film a year. We now turn out more than that in one week. Recently one of our artists said to me, 'Joe, do you realize how much work we're doing here?' I said, don't tell me. I don't want to think about it. I'm scared to death."
However, this production miracle is accomplished in the warm harmonious atmosphere of a big happy family. All concerned have as much fun as the Flintstones, ABC-TV's popular animated series, which is among their productions.
Our next stop is June 2, 1962.
Animated Flintstones Now World Travelers
It's Flintstone-san in Japan, Senor Flintstone in South America and 'Freddie, old chap' among the British.
No matter where you go these days, you won't lose track of Hanna-Barbera's The Flintstones, Stone age emissaries to the 20th century.
The animated cartoon series is presently seen in more than 25 countries by a weekly audience estimated by 100,000,000 viewers, according to producers William Hanna and Joseph Barbera.
Dubbed in Japanese, the series is "okii, okii, okii, (big, big, big) in Nippon where stars Fred and Wilma Flintstone and neighbors Barney and Betty Rubble have risen to great fame, according to an enthusiastic spokesman for the sponsoring soy sauce firm.
In Merrie Olde England, where Freddie Flintstone clubs have sprung up in pubs and universities and even in Her Majesty's Regiments, the cartoon show has maintained a spot in the top 10 since it bowed there some eight months ago.
London is headquarters for the Flintstone Appreciation Society of Great Britain and the British Jazz and Cycling Club has made free-wheeling Freddie its official mascot.
Fan letters have been received from as far away as Finland and the Virgin Islands—in many languages—with more expected after "The Flintstones" is dubbed in French and German for showing next fall.
Closer to home, the Students Union of Acadia University at Wolfville, Nova Scotia, has used The Flintstones as the theme of two successive winter carnivals. At Langton, Ontario, Canada, a bowling team sports Flintstone cartoon insignias on uniforms.
And in the United States, the show has become such popular Friday night all-family fare for an estimated 40,000,000 viewer audience via ABC-TV and Channel 12 that top entertainers such as Bob Hope use Fred Flintstone jokes.
Hanna and Barbera are thrilled at the reaction to their show:
"We believe that good clean humor is an international language. If you make cartoons honestly to project warmth and good feeling while gently spoofing basic situations, these situations are as understandable in Rhodesia as they are in Kalamazoo."
And, finally, a story from the Albany Times-Union of February 16, 1963. Whether this came from Carr, or merchandising guru Honest Ed Justin’s staff, or somewhere else, I don’t know. The style is a little different than the others.
If you could have seen some of the whacky mail sent out in the past by the Hanna-Barbera folks who produce the cartooned "The Flintstones," you wouldn't be surprised at the gimmick they're now using to bolster or continue interest in their Stone Age characters.
It's a "Guess-the-Weight" contest for the forthcoming Flintstone baby and, according to the publicity men, more than 50,000 entries have been received at the contest headquarters, P. O. Box 2121, New York City. Prizes are a $20,000 cash award and a two-ticket trip around the world by air.
Some of the reaction has been as strange as some of the producers' ideas. One person wrote in: "Fred Flintstone couldn't possibly have a baby smaller than 13 pounds since he weighed that much when he was born," and explained the writer was actually Fred's long-lost mother!
And already gifts are being sent for the baby—a Minneapolis bowling club sent a real bowling ball, inscribed: "Since your daddy, Fred Flintstone, constantly promotes bowling, may this be your fondest hobby." Another gift was a tiny fur mackinaw from Green Bay, Wis., where the thermometer had recently dropped to 50 degrees below zero.
There were more of these kinds of news releases masquerading as stories as time went on. I’ve spotted some for the Alice and the Jack and the Beanstalk specials. Carr moved on. He opened his own company and co-produced a TV show starring Mr. Blackwell (experience with a sabre-tooth tiger’s claws may have helped Carr with that one) and in 1968 became the PR flack for the breakaway African country of Biafra.

Whether Carr and his staff really helped Hanna-Barbera perhaps can be debated. But they certainly got the studio some publicity, and that couldn’t hurt.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Snagglepuss in Cagey Lion

Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
Credits: Animation – La Verne Harding, Layout – Walt Clinton, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Director – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Snagglepuss, Man With Cane, 1st Gambler, Card Gambler – Daws Butler; Captain, Cagey Cravat, 2nd Gambler – Doug Young; Belle – Jean Vander Pyl.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
Copyright 1961 by Hanna-Barbera Productions.
Plot: Snagglepuss disguises himself as a riverboat gambler so he won’t shipped to the St. Louis Zoo.

Mike Maltese wrote a funny cartoon at Warner Bros. called Mississippi Hare, where a disguised Bugs Bunny matched wits with riverboat gambler Colonel Shuffle. This time, he puts a disguised Snagglepuss on a riverboat. It’s not as strong a cartoon, and he wrote stronger ones for Snagglepuss, but it’s pleasant enough.

There are a couple of times where Snagglepuss engages of his habit of running off a word-associated list to an opponent. For example, when the riverboat captain tries to shoot Snagglepuss and his gun just clicks, the mountain lion exclaims:
Snagglepuss: Where’s your bravado now? Why don’t you fight me fair and square? Marquis of Queensborough Bridge rules. Or mayhap a little judo? Care to Indian wrestle? How’s about a little tug of war, even?
Maltese then pulls off a variation of the “one bullet left” gag he used in Bugs Bunny’s Rabbit Fire. The captain’s gun fires. “What do you know? It was only stuck,” he says. “Don’t tell me your troubles,” responds the somewhat singed Snagglepuss, who exits stage left.



Later in the cartoon, when he meets up with Cagey Cravat, the riverboat pirate, he pulls out some cards.

Snagglepuss: How’s about a little game of poker? Damp Jacks wild. Gin rummy? Chemin de fer? Whist? Old Maid? Young Maid, tiddlywinks, Potsy maybe? (whips out tennis racket) Tennis anyone? Or isn’t tennis your racket? Ya get it? Ya get it?
Blam goes Cagey’s gun. Snagglepuss got it. “Exit, like anything, stage left.”

Potsy? It’s a kids’ jumping game that doesn’t involve cards at all. If the internet is to be believed, it was big in New York. Guess where Maltese grew up?



We get a couple of catchphrases, too. When Snagglepuss tries to bust out of his cage (stage left), he (not surprisingly) smashes into its bars. “As a friend of mine, Quick Draw McGraw says, ‘Oooo. That smarts!’” Later, when Snagglepuss reveals himself to be a mountain lion, Cravat, with his French accent, exclaims “’Eavens to Monsieur Murgatroyd. He is a lion. Exit, stage overboard.” And the bad guy jumps into the river (heard off camera).



Yes, what ties the story together is “a ferocious mountain lion” has been captured to be taken on the St. Louis Lou to the St. Louis Zoo. “Ferocious indeed,” remarks the caged Snagglepuss. “I’m as gentle as a flea. After 30 lashings with a bullwhip.” Anyway, Snagglepuss hacksaws his way out of the cage and after an encounter with an overly polite little old Southern Belle (who screams, then goes to her stateroom “and throw a little old faint”), he gets shot by the captain. That’s about the first half of the cartoon.



Now Snagglepuss has disguised himself as Memphis Mortimer, the riverboat gambler, to avoid detection. He asks the captain to direct him to the gambling salon. Where Snagglepuss comes up with the money, I don’t know, but much like Bugs in Mississippi Hare, he starts winning all the chips. He has “Five aces. And a full house. King’s high, suh.”


Hmm. Maybe there isn’t any money. I don’t see any on the table, suh. Regardless, Cagey Cravat appears on the scene. “You try my patience.” “No,” replies Snagglepuss incongruously, “You try mine.” Much of the rest of the cartoon involves gunfire and dialogue, with Cravat swimming away for Gay Paree to get away from the “ferocious” mountain lion. The captain rewards Snagglepuss for getting rid of the pirate by promising “a free home with free meals for life.” It turns out that’s at the St. Louis Zoo (“Egads! My hood’s been winked). Snagglepuss leaps with his cage into the water and paddles after Cravat, happily singing “Alouette,” to end the cartoon.

La Verne Harding is the animator. I noticed two things in this cartoon. One is in the scenes with the red moustached gambler, the characters are still except for a cigar moving up and down in a few positions, thus saving some drawing (later, only his moustache moves). The other is she has Snagglepuss gesturing in one scene by turning his wrist around. She probably could have got away without doing it, and saved Bill Hanna money on animation, as Hanna-Barbera cartoons would in future. The collar-height ear on the characters should tell you Walt Clinton was the layout artist in this cartoon (and designed the incidental characters).

Dick Thomas, who churned out backgrounds for seemingly every cartoon in this series, is at work again. Here is his establishing shot. The smoke and steam from the boat is animated.