Friday, October 20, 2006

Good Ol' Fashioned Cartoon Plagiarism: Winner By a Hare

Today's edition of cartoon plagiarism (or "How did they not get sued?!") highlights Famous Studios' Winner by a Hare (1953).

You probably remember the old Harveytoons logo with a rabbit, reclining on the letters of the logo in a Bugs Bunny fashion, thinking "Wow, what a cheap knockoff!" Well, your guess was pretty much on the mark.

This was the first cartoon with Moe Hare (voiced by Jackson Beck I believe) and dopey sidekick Tommy Tortoise (voiced by Sid Raymond). While the likeness of Moe to Bugs is bad enough, the short knocks-off the successful (?) Bugs Bunny/Cecil Turtle trilogy from the 1940s. It seems to be going for the sadistic nature of Bob Clampett's entry, Tortoise Wins By a Hare (1943 - wow even ripping off the title), though failing with the usual "1-2-3" 1950s Famous gag structure.

This cartoon does feature some great animation by Marty Taras though, particularly towards the middle of the short where Moe uses his ears as propellor.

The one thing that's more disturbing than the ending of this cartoon, is that its head animator (the real director) is Myron Waldman, the guy responsible for giving us all those great Pudgy and Casper cartoons! This might be one of those cases where the writer had more creative input, in this case, Irv Spector (Famous' best storyman, in my opinion), since he seemed to have more insight on the Warner writing style, as his name is on Famous' best shorts of the 50s (Mice-Capades, Fido Beta Kappa, L'Amour the Merrier).

Moe and Tommy were in three more cartoons that weren't as much of Warner knock-offs, other than the characters' likeness. They were Rabbit Punch (1955), Sleuth But Sure (1956), and Mr. Money Gags (1957).

Winner by a Hare
Uploaded by thadk

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