Snagglepuss: Cartoon Icons of American TV

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Snagglepuss is a Hanna-Barbera cartoon character created in 1959, a pink--quite human--mountain lion best known for his famous catchphrases, "Heavens to Murgatroyd!" and "Exit, stage left!"

Snagglepuss is a Hanna-Barbera cartoon character created in 1959, a pink--quite human--mountain lion best known for his famous catchphrases, "Heavens to Murgatroyd!" and "Exit, stage left!"

(In an earlier incarnation Snagglepuss was known as "Snaggletooth.”)

Snagglepuss was a minor character in several Hanna-Barbera cartoons before getting his own series, first appearing in several episodes of The Quick Draw McGraw Show and then going on to become a regular on The Yogi Bear Show, starring in a total of 32 episodes. 

Snagglepuss also got work as a supporting character on Augie Doggie & Doggie Daddy and with Snooper & Blabber shows before gaining such popularity that they had to give him his own series in 1961.

In his earliest roles before getting his own cartoons, Snagglepuss--while still as the "Snaggletooth” character--was orange instead of pink.  Confusion is clarified in his first appearance when “Lamb Chopped” (an early Quick Draw McGraw short), actually calls him Snagglepuss, having him refer to an unseen "Snaggletooth" as his brother.

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A rather dapper and sophisticated feline, Snagglepuss lives in a cave which he constantly tries to upgraded in an effort to make more habitable for himself.  But no matter what he does, he always winds up back where he started or worse off than before.  As many viewers no doubt notice, Snagglepuss’ unmistakable voice is highly reminiscent of the soft-spoken “Cowardly Lion” played by Bert Lahr in the 1939 MGM movie The Wizard of Oz.

In each seven minute episode, Snagglepuss finds himself in conflict with a different adversary, with "Major Minor" (a diminutive-sized and otherwise successful big game hunter whose one failure is not bagging the elusive Snagglepuss) the only recurring supporting character.  Major Minor's membership in The Adventurers Club is always in jeopardy because of this one striking embarrassment. The chases which invariably ensue between Snagglepuss and Major Minor are always reminiscent of Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny--which is hardly a coincidence since most of the scripts were created by Michael Maltese, one of Warner Brothers Cartoons' primary writers in the ‘40s and '50s.

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And as per character, before dashing off (often to escape the Major), Snagglepuss predictably exclaims, "Exit, stage left!" (or “stage right,” and sometimes even “up” or “down“), a phrase commonly used in theatrical stage directions. Snagglepuss typically adds the adverbial qualifier "... even" to seemingly every phrase.  But, his most famous expression is his perpetual exclamation, "Heavens to Murgatroyd!" (a line first uttered by Bert Lahr in the 1944 film Meet the People).

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When Snagglepuss was used for a series of Kellogg's cereal television commercials in the 1960s, Lahr filed a lawsuit claiming that the similarity of the Snagglepuss voice might cause viewers to falsely assume that Lahr was endorsing the product itself.  As part of the settlement, the disclaimer "Snagglepuss voice by Daws Butler" was required to appear on every commercial, thus making Butler one of the few voice artists to even receive a screen credit in a TV commercial.

When his own series ended, Snagglepuss went on to appear in a variety of made-for-TV specials, as well as becoming a regular cast member of several new series of the era including Yogi's Gang (1973), Scooby's All Star Laff-A-Lympics (1977), Yogi's Treasure Hunt (1985) and Yo Yogi! (1991).

PRODUCTION

Studio: Warner Brothers

Scripts: Michael Maltese

Voices: Daws Butler (Snagglepuss) and Don Mesick (Major Minor)

References:

http://www.toonopedia.com/snaggle.htm

http://www.wingnuttoons.com/Snagglepuss.html

Cult TV, J. Javna

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>  The Dark Truth Behind Disney Classics

>  Hidden Meanings Behind Children’s Nursery Rhymes

>  Snoopy, an American Pop Icon

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4 comments

Abdel-moniem El-Shorbagy
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James R. Coffey
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