Quick Draw McGraw

Quick Draw debuted in a self titled cartoon series (1959 – 1962) made by the Hanna Barbera animation studio and voiced by Daws Butler. The character along was soon licensed by Dell Comics to appear in a solo comic as well as in other Hanna Barbera related comics. Kellogg’s licensed McGraw and Baba Looey to appear on boxes of and in commercials for Kellogg’s SUgar Smacks cereal. McGraw and sidekick Baba Looey righted wrongs in the Wild West. As good hearted as he was, Baba Looey was the more intelligent of the pair. McGraw is a bit unusual in that he had an alter ego named El Kabong who debuted in the unimaginatively titled episode “El Kabong”. McGraw’s transformation into Kabong may have been as much about a little variety for the audience and animators as it was about capitalizing even a little more on the contemporary popularity of the Western genre in media.

In A Celebration Of Animation by Marty Gitlin and Joe Wos, from which this profile draws some information, McGraw is described as “heroic, brave, reckless, stupid, loyal, silly”. Satirist Mark Russell’s reimagined Quickdraw as seen in Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles, the setting of which was 1950s New York City and its underground LGBT culture, shared none of these traits with his original version except for possibly stupid. Here, McGraw was a closeted and dirty cop collecting extortion money from the Stonewall Inn bartenders to leave the bar and its customers alone. One night Snagglepuss takes newly arrived in New York Huckleberry Hound to the Stonewall where he spots Quick Draw. The pair are next seen on a date at a party thrown by Peggy Guggenheim at her mansion. Their new relationship seems promising with a peek of them together in McGraw’s bedroom after having sex. Matters take a turn for the worse when Quick Draw’s captain orders a raid on the Stonewall and Huckleberry is caught up in it followed by awful consequences.

Several years pass. Quick Draw’s life has changed dramatically. Nearly consumed with remorse over his choices and thrown off the police force for indecency after being caught in the back seat of a car with another man by a fellow police officer has found him at a cross roads. Rather than continue to live in despair, McGraw takes advantage of a unique opportunity that is a direct nod from Russell to the character’s animated origin: he’s become a fictionalized cartoon sheriff.

Quick Draw’s first appearance is in the cartoon episode titled “Scary Prairie” in 1959 and the character’s first comics appearance is in Dell Four Color #1040. The reimagined character is first seen in a cameo in Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles # 1 and shown as gay in # 3. See also Snagglepuss and the soon to come Huckleberry Hound profile.

Quick Draw McGraw was created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. Art by Mike Feehan and possibly Harvey Eisenberg.

Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles has been collected.

This profile is written in part based on information found in A Celebration Of Animation by Marty Gitlin and Joe Wos.

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August 14, 2018
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