ANIMATION SPIN
May 24, 2016 posted by

Terrytoons’ “Deputy Dawg” on Records

This TV cartoon – once as popular as it is now relatively obscure — is celebrated today in its vinyl record form with the full cast, consisting of one talented actor.

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DEPUTY DAWG
The Original TV Soundtrack Recording
RCA Camden Records CAL-1048 (12” 33 1/3 RPM LP)

Released in 1960. Story Supervisor: Tom Morrison. Music: Philip A. Scheib. Running Time: 43 minutes.
Stories: “Welcome, Mischa Mouse ” “Law and Disorder,” “Shotgun Shambles”
Voices: Dayton Allen (Deputy Dawg, Vincent Van Gopher, Ty Coon, Ali Gator, Pig Newton, Muskie the Muskrat, Lil’ Whooper).

Once upon a time, Deputy Dawg was one of the most popular cartoons of the day. It was not only one of Terrytoons’ earliest made-for-TV series, counting a young Ralph Bakshi among its animators and later directors. There was Deputy Dawg merchandise, including this soundtrack album. In the baby boom days before home video and streaming, it was a tremendous thrill for a kid to get an album like this—six actual soundtrack stories from a favorite show! No waiting until the TV station decides to run it!

Today, an album like this is of interest to those baby boomers, not only because of the cartoons included, but because Dayton Allen himself (who had only a few years earlier performed many puppet characters on Howdy Doody and was well known to adults a Steve Allen Show regular) narrates in his natural voice. And unlike RCA’s Terrytoons Story Time album , which was only narration and no soundtrack material, this is a treat for those who loved Deputy Dawg (and took every opportunity to quote the catch phrase, “It’s possi-bull.”

A very simple low-budget affair, Deputy Dawg was Pogo with no subtext. Deputy Dawg’s voice was akin to Frank Fontaine’s Crazy Guggenheim character (and therefore without the southern accent befitting the cartoon’s setting). Guggenheim was a weekly character in the “Joe The Bartender” sketches on Jackie Gleason’s hit variety show (ironically, Fontaine narrowly missed a chance to immortalize this voice in Disney’s 1967 The Jungle Book, but his character of “Rocky Rhino” was cut because it was decided that he slowed the progress of the film story).

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The swampland setting varied from state to state over the course of the series’ production, but there is one story on the album in which the gang visits the Florida Everglades. It’s particularly amusing to real-life South Floridians as the cartoon offers the familiar depiction of the Sunshine State as one big swamp where alligators are regularly wrestled and everyone drives around in air boats. The reality is that, even in 1960, the Florida nearest the Everglades was largely suburban sprawl with supermarkets and tract homes. Yes, Florida is largely swampland, but most of the places where alligators were regularly wrestled and air boats were public transportation were tourist attractions.

There is a certain appeal to the total lack of pretense in these little films. The music is very much in the vein of Terrytoons’ Tom Terrific, which was mostly accordion, while bass harmonica dominates here. The artwork is extremely basic and loose, making animation fast and loose (seeing some of these cartoons on movie screens, as they were seen at matinees in the ’70s, was unique because they were so sparse and rough looking.

The irony of Deputy Dawg’s design is that several acclaimed cartoons of today (among them Adventure Time and Regular Show, while far more sophisticated verbally, are visual descendents in their minimal approach. Chances are that kids were drawing these characters in the margins of their notebook paper over 50 years ago and today they’re doing the same thing with the more recent characters.

Five of the cartoons represented on this album are currently floating around online, except “Li’l Whooper,” which can be heard in the “Give a Little Listen” section below.

“Welcome, Mischa Mouse”

“Law and Disorder”

“Shotgun Shambles”

“Seize You Later, Alligator”

“The Yoke’s On You”

GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
“Li’l Whooper”

Vincent Van Gopher tries to tunnel to the henhouse to get eggs for his friends, but he finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time—with the wrong egg, hatching a valuable little bird.

24 Comments

  • Great post today, Greg! Deputy Dawg was always a favorite of mine.

    Interesting note about The Jungle Book too!

    Did you know that Dayton Allen was the older brother of another great voice actor? Bradley Bolke from TTV’s Tennessee Tuxedo.

    • Cool. I did not know that!

    • I also enjoyed DD, – and it’s actually nice to know about the family connection between Dayton Allen and Bradley Bolke.

  • I’ve never understood the bad rap the Terrytoons have gotten from animation historians. These were among my childhood favorites. Any studio that could create the likes of Mighty Mouse, Heckle and Jekyll, Silly Sidney, and Deputy Dawg couldn’t be all bad. Of all of these, Deputy Dawg was my favorite.

    It’s a real treat to re-visit these fond childhood memories. It’s news to me that the rhino character developed for “The Jungle Book” was to be voiced by Frank Fontaine–great little piece of trivia to know. The Crazy Guggenheim voice was referenced frequently in other comedies of the day, demonstrating how incredibly popular that character from the Jackie Gleason sketches had become. There is even a Flintstones episode where one of the lodge members does an impression of CG. Numerous cartoon characters adopted a version of Fontaine’s voice.

    In the comic books, Deputy Dawg had a wife who frequently took part in his adventures, although when the story did not call for her, she could conveniently disappear. The Terrytoons actually continued in comics long after their television counterparts had left the airwaves. So someone at Terrytoons must have been doing something right for the characters to have such enduring appeal.

    • Top Cat‘s Brain (Leo DeLyon) had that voice,
      Huckleberry Hound‘s Leroy the lion who Huck hunted (Daws Butler)
      Bugs Bunny’s Pete Puma (Stan Freberg) Sylvester’s Sam the orange cat (Daws Butler)
      and some of the Krofft charaters (Signmund, (Walker Edmiston) ) and a handful of others did,too.

    • And also a goofy prince in the early 1960s Gumby short “Pigeon in a Plum Tree” and the occasioanlly used early 60s Lantz bulldog (Dallas “Dal” McKennon), and many Daws Butler characters (including Lantz’s wolf, Jay Ward and UPA’s Waldo Magoo)( had that voice..it was originally used for the J.L.C.Silvoney character, that’s where 50s characters got it from.

      And a certain not-to-b e-named (okay, Filmation! :D)) studio’s 1975 “Uncle Croc’s Block” segment “Wacky and Packy”, about a caveman and mammoth which was their ripoof of the mid-60s “It’s About Time”, had Packy the mammoth (Allan Melvin) talk in that voice (Melvin also did the Gleason voice for the caveman, making it a Bartender-Crazy cartoon….this would be the only time a cartoon “It’s about time” came out after they’d already done earlier Sherwood Schwartz sitcioms, “The Brady Bunch” & “Gilligan”. Too many others to count,,,

    • Fontaine had played “Crazy Guggenheim” on a late-’40s Jack Benny radio episode, but the character had another name.

      And if you listen to John C. Reilly’s voice, he certainly sounds a lot like “Crazy.”

    • I am shocked and appalled that all of you overlooked the greatest Crazy Guggenheim-influenced cartoon character of them all – one Barnard “Barney” Gumble.

      A big *BURRRRRRRRPPPP* to you all.

    • The character’s name was “John L. C. Sivoney” on at least one Jack Benny radio program.

      What helped to make Frank Fontaine as big a star as he became was that he could speak in the “Crazy Guggenheim” voice, but then he would belt out one of the Old Standard Favorites in a sterling, enthusiastic baritone. This brought new viewers to “Jackie Gleason’s American Scene Magazine”, and produced some good-selling albums for ABC-Paramount–albums which clog thrift store shelves to this day.

      Dayton Allen must have been remembering the “John L. C. Sivoney” incarnation of this voice–as the cartoons were two years before Jackie Gleason’s television show brought Fontaine to fame.

    • That member may have been the guy in the beauty contest one where both Mr Slate in an early version and two gangsters daughters niece are contests mentioned by the 90s Flintsyone book as voiced by Leo De Lyon as I said earlier he did that voice for thet a brain in top cat also he ironically did an elephant 🐘 in Jungle book that way even when Frank Fontaine’s footage was cut!

  • I had no idea that there was a soundtrack album of sorts for DEPUTY DAWG, although I, too, had to count the character among my all-time favorites. The versatility of Dayton Allen is amazing, and he made a terrific narrator. The only other way a record like this could have been made is if the cover opened up to a series of story panels for each of the cartoons. After all, there is a sight gag that emphasizes Mischa Mouse’s return to his homeland, and just listening to the soundtrack would not make that clear to anyone. One interesting note, though, the cartoons you added were brilliant choices, but they are run slightly at the wrong pitch, making Deputy Dawg sound like “his li’l nephew, thar”! And, y’all know I’m a-gonna say it, but we truly need a big box of TERRYTOONS originals in our home video collection!

  • Deputy Dawg was one of my all time favorite cartoons from my childhood. There’s one character that wasn’t part of the album was DD’s boss man The Sheriff, wonder why he wasn’t included? One of my favorite Deputy Dawg episode was when Muskie Muskrat and Vincent Von Gopher thought they’d seen a monster in their favorite fishing hole but as Deputy Dawg was investigating is was actually a prop that a Hollywood movie production company was using for a horror movie about a swamp beast!

    • Can’t imagine why he wasn’t included. Maybe these cartoons were ready to adapt for records first, to get the album in stores fast?

  • The Terrytoons were played both in the mornings and afternoons here in Chicago during the 1960s through the 1980s and Deputy Dawg was always a favorite, especially the earlier shorts when Deputy Dawg was grey and had a large black nose.

  • You had me until “The irony of Deputy Dawg’s design is that several acclaimed cartoons of today (among them Adventure Time and Regular Show, while far more sophisticated verbally, are visual descendents in their minimal approach.”

    You might as well say that the generic avatar next to my name is a descendent. Weren’t the DD theatricals in the 50’s when he had a different nose? How about some info on the background artists for this era of Terrytoons? Was Johnnie Vita involved with these? How about some more info on his Bakshi techniques? What was the layer order on that stuff?

    BTW, I hear a portable harmonium and a bass harmonica in the DD soundtrack.

    Otherwise, Excellent post!

  • Series creator Larz Bourne along with Allen and the series directors (Connie Razinski, Dave Tendlar, etc.) did a better job here creating likeable personalities more than any other Terrytoons series except for Heckle and Jeckle (Mighty Mouse may have been the studio’s most popular series, but it wasn’t due to the strength of the personalities of the characters in those cartoons).

    The earliest efforts also are very laid-back, which like Huckleberry Hound, helped hide some of the limitations of TV animation of the period. And Phil Scheib also deserves credit for the score, which is minimal, but fits the setting and is far removed from the cookie cutter scores Paul Terry had him turning out for two decades.

  • All the modern-style “New Terrytoons” seem to have vanished.

    — Hector Heathecote, a would-be Minute Man who seemed to roam around American history.
    — Hashimoto the Japanese Mouse, usually practicing quiet martial arts on cats.
    — Clint Clobber, the apartment superintendent who was occasionally a dog.
    — Gaston LeCrayon, a French artist possessing a Harold-type magic brush.
    — Silly Sidney, whose sidekicks were a Ned Sparks lion and a Carol Channing giraffe.
    — John Doormat, Flebus and some other one-or-two-shots

    Still hoping somebody puts out at least a sampler of these.

    • Hector Heathcote was pretty good in the beginning but went down hill after the introduction of his arch nemesis the ruffian known as Benedict. The most bizarre of the Hector Heathcote cartoons was the Christopher Columbus episode (Hector was wear clothing dated in the 1770’s and Benedict was wear a naval captian’s outfit from the early to mid 1880’s and this took place in 1492!)
      My favorite Hector Heathcote cartoon was The Minute and a Half Man.

      Hasimoto-San was not a “politically incorrect” cartoon by a “labor of love” by Bob Kuwahara showing life in postwar Japan and how he,his family and his US mouse buddy G.I.Joey deals with the troublemaking cats who prey on them there.
      My favorite Hasimoto San cartoons are the story of a young Japanese mouse who use his invisibility to defeat a giant demon cat, a “culture clash ” episode where Hasimoto’s family was influenced by “Western Culture “(Rock and roll, Cowboys and Indians game and western “go-go” dancing) and Hashimoto was trying to get them back into Japanese culture and tradition. And the one episode where Hasimoto’s village was having a dolls exposition during the Doll Festival and one of the cats try to infiltrate the exposition by disguising himself as a giant doll.

      On Silly Sidney Lionel Wilson was Sidney’s first voice having him sound like legendary comic Ed Wynn and Dayton Allen was Sidney’s second voice doing a impersonation of a legendary Warner Bros comedian from the 1930’s who’s name I can’t remember. One of Silly Sidney’s most famous cartoons was Sidney’s Family Tree which was nominated for a academy award for best animated short only to lose to Knighty Knight Bugs which became a plot for the Tiny Toon Adventures episode Who Bopped Bugs Bunny where a Silly Sidney lookalike named Slaphappy Stanley kidnapped Bugs Bunny after losing the Shlockar to him.

      One other Terrytoons that you forget to mention was Sally Sargent which was a pilot for a animated series about the teenage adopted daughter of a US senator who moonlights as a sleuth ala Nancy Drew. Why this wasn’t made into a series I don’t know but this would of been neat competing with Scooby Doo Where Are You?

    • Perhaps if they kept Hector strictly in the Revolutionary era, instead of making him a sort of Forrest Gump interacting with various historical personages.

      Bigg, perhaps the Warner comedian from the ’30s you’re thinking of is Hugh Herbert? Sidney was the only character from Gene Deitch’s tenure to outlast his stay at Terrytoons.

    • The cartoon of Hasimoto-San trying to make his family more traditional was one I remembered seeing at a drive-in movie. On a family vacation to England in the 60s, I recall turning on a TV and finding the Hector Heathecote Show. Deputy Dawg I associated with a ton of merchandising, none of which I see at toy shows or anywhere else.

      That Terrytoons have all but disappeared — aside from Mighty Mouse reboots — is just weird.

    • Let’s not forget The Mighty Heroes! (Though I wouldn’t blame anyone for forgetting Luno, Astronut and Sad Cat…)

  • Obscure or not, when you’re referenced more than once by Adam Sandler and Redd Foxx, you’re doing something right.

  • Thanks for these! Deputy Dawg was one of our childhood favorites. The episode that stands out in my mind is the one where Deputy Dawg put the hen house on stilts so Muskie couldn’t steal the eggs. There was a horse race track that we used to pass on the way to our cousins’ house. It had an observation house high up on stilts, and when we passed it, we used to call it the hen house!

  • I would like to see a follow-up post to this one about the other Deputy Dawg album no one has mentioned on this post, or as yet has posted on the internet save one cut. It was released on Peter Pan records concurrent with the issue of this one, and I’ve had it since my childhood. Dayton Allen appears with name credit, doing all the voices. But Peter Pan decided not to use soundtrack, nor the Phillip Scheib underscores, and had Allen record the stories in entirely new studio sessions, with “canned” sound effects and minimal musical stings from some transcription service. All the stories are from actual TV cartoons – “Big Chief No Treaty”, “Mother Moose” (which I believe the TV version calls “Mister Moose”, though surprisingly Muskie makes a verbal reference to a “Mother Moose” in the soundtrack of “The Yolk’s On You” posted above), “Little Red Fool House” (which is the only cut which I believe is posted on the Children’s Record Weekly channel on YouTube), “Nobody’s Ghoul”, “Two Inch Inch Worm”, and “Where There’s Smoke”. (Big Chief and Two Inch Inch Worm were also available as singles in 78 and 45 RPM.) The studio sessions make an interesting contrast to the soundtrack versions, allowing for some improvising into the dialogue to add lines to more descriptively cover story points only in the visual version, and also allow Allen to add a gag line here and there. (In “Little Red Fool House”, the Sheriff asks Deputy. “How far did you get through school?” Deputy replies, “From the front door to the back, like everybody.” Here the record version diverges, by adding an extra line for the Sheriff – “Well, you sure picked up a lot in between – like CHALK and ERASERS – but that isn’t what I mean!” Does anybody but me have this record to share with the world? It’s another neat group of stories, and a nice memory jog.
    Also wouldn’t mind seeing a post about the Peter Pan album’s stablemate – a second Dayton Allen album on Lariat Sam stories. It used the same approach, using new recording sessions, and had to take more liberties with the storylines to condense 6 short serials into one album – but still interesting.

    The records referred to above are in the collection of Charles Gardber,

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