July 3, 2014 posted by

In Honor of Moqui: “Scrappy’s Dog Show”

There will be news next week on the new Blu-ray/DVD Technicolor Dreams and Black and White Nightmares. Stay tooned right here. As for this week, there was sad news here at the Thunderbean ranch.


Our faithful Austrailan Cattledog, Moqui, went into kidney failure. The hardest thing about taking care of these creatures is that we make a deal with them to take care of them through their life and when to make the hardest choices, and sadly, there was no saving her. She was only 8.

Moqui put up with many a bad dog cartoon over the years. There are more bad ones than I could possible name, and a handful of good ones. I nominate Columbia’s Scrappy’s Dog Show as one of those good ones. While it isn’t the funniest of cartoons, it has some surprising gags and really interestingly timed sequences, quite different than most comic timing in 1934. Sid Marcus directs, taking over duties on the Scrappy series from Dick Huemer.

I think Huemer’s comical timing ideas and personality animation in the Toby the Pups (and especially in the early Scrappys) are ahead of their time; There’s an especially fun sequence in the Down South (1931) where Toby tires desperately to keep a smile on his face as he shakes the hands of a thousand or so passengers on his ship. I see this cartoon as a stepchild of these earlier ones made at Mintz.

Marcus seems to have learned to experiment with timing under Huemer. You can see many sequences timed as you would expect them to be here, then other sequences that are more unusual and exploratory, from the timing of the goosed bulldog near the beginning to the oddly long sequence with Scrappy trying to show his comatose dog’s tricks to a judge. Scrappy getting his clothes licked off has always been one of my favorite gags, as well as the dog slowly staring down the judge. In terms of authenticity: it looks as if the Columbia staff was making a guess as to what a dog show is rather than having ever gone to one, but then again, it looks like most studio’s version of a dog show. At least no one is ground into sausage here….

While not a masterpiece, there are funny moments throughout, and my other half Mary noted tonight that on occasion we’ve actually repeated phrases from this cartoon, not quite remembering they were from Scrappy’s Dog Show.

Moqui had been to her share of dog shows, but even she could have told you that no dog show ever was like this one. While Moqui really didn’t like to show, she loved being around all the other dogs. I can’t think of a dog cartoon with more types of dogs than this one, though perhaps you folks can.

In reading one book years back that dismissed the Scrappys as being ‘largely unwatchable by today’s standards’ I have to think the writer just hadn’t seen too many of the series. That’s understandable in some ways, in that, here in 2014, they are still some of the hardest old cartoons to see.

Have a good Fourth of July holiday for folks in these United States, and a wonderful midsummer weekend to everyone!



  • Steve:
    Really sad to hear about your dog,Moqui.I’m a dog lover,and have gone through several faithful friends over the years.It’s never easy to lose what’s basically become a member of your family.Hope you don’t mind my saying so,but your loss is my loss and all those who love canines.RIP Moqui!

  • Steve, sorry about your loss. It can really hurt losing a dog they really are like family. Once again my condolences.

  • Dogs are important family members, just like kids to many of us. So sorry to hear you lost Moqui at such a young age.

  • My sincere condolences, Steve.

  • I’m sorry for your loss….you’ve been through a lot this year…….

  • I enjoyed “Scrappy’s Dog Show” and am puzzled about how the series had gotten such a lackluster reputation. When Asifa Hollywood had a Scrappy-fest a number of years ago, the audience was treated to pristine prints courtesy of Sony. The funniest one that stands out in my mind is “The Flop House” with bedbugs leaping from the cots after being sprayed. I’m still hoping that Sony eventually puts together a collection on disk (perhaps sub-contracted through Thunderbean?).

  • In honor of our departed cats, Little Grey, Little Sister, Crispy, Mangy and Stephanie, we deeply sympathize at your loss of your beloved dog, Moqui. We know what it’s like to lose a beloved animal friend, as I’m sure that Moqui was to you. Thanks for the Scrappy cartoon, a fitting way to celebrate Moqui’s life!

  • Steve, I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your dog. My older sister living in California had a dog that she lost at age seven and we were all saddened. Ma was such a joy, and Iused to comically call him Dinobecause, like the FLINTSTONES pet, he used to rushhis bulk, affectionately, at me nd toss himself in my lap evn though he was far too big to be a lap dog; h was such a treasure! I’m a cat lover and have also lost a ear friend when we lot them. Eah have their own distinct personalities, and I’m sure that animator have been inspired to create certain titles just watching the antics of their littlefour-legged pals.

  • My sincere condolences, Steve. It’s very hard to overcome the loss of what has become a member of your family, but cheer up man, we loyal Cartoon Research readers are here for you. Once again, my condolences.

  • I’d like to join all the others in sympathy for your loss. It’s a sad fact that pets never live as long as we do, but they give back so much during their lives, and we can never forget them.

  • Yes, I’d like to share with the others in sympathy for your loss. Moqui was such a beautiful girl. In March we lost 2 of our 3 cats. The month before that I lost my father. It’s a toss up which was the more painful.

  • Sorry for your loss, Steve. I had to make the decision for one of my dogs for the same reason just about 18 months ago and have a second dog entering his 14th year. It’s not easy, but you always have the memories of the great times and the thought that you provided a love and a great home for your pet.

  • I’m also sorry to hear that about your dog. Did your dog ever win any dog show awards?

  • Steve – I think the book you were referring to was written by Charles Solomon, but I can’t remember the exact name of it. I seem to recall that the “largely unwatchable by today’s standards” comment was directed at the Krazy Kat series. He thought the Scrappys were better. I like the early episodes of both series, which had a noticeable Fleischer vibe. And I agree that “The Flop House” was one of the best, though the humor is a bit painful, since I’ve dealt with the horror of bedbugs.

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