Saturday, December 9, 2006

Convict Concerto

I am in debt to Mike Kazaleh for introducing me to the styles of many of the 50s Lantz artists, and would like to thank him publicly for this. Many folks don't see the value in the Lantz output, and thankfully Mike (and others) isn't one of them.

Don Patterson's time as a director at the Lantz studio was unfortunately short-lived. Lantz showed his poor taste when he kept relative Paul Smith in the director chair and had Don knocked back down to exclusively animating (No wonder he'd leave the guy to go to the dreadful Hanna-Barbera studio with Lovy in '59!)

Patterson's pictures are a lot of fun to watch and show that you can do some great looking animation with a weak budget. Convict Concerto (1954) is arguably one of his best. Don would sometimes do actual animation on his pictures in addition to directing! The only time I know of this going on at a West Coast studio was when Bob McKimson had to rebuild his staff in the mid-50s.

While I think Don's animation is hilarious (he draws my favorite version of Woody after Emery), Herman Cohen (ex-Warner animator) does some really well-drawn scenes here. Cohen drew a definitive modelsheet of Woody around 1955, and a photostat of it went for over $500 over at Heritage Galleries. I saved the scan of it, but that is on my old harddrive I don't have access to at the moment. If anyone else still has it, let me know!

Rhapsody Rabbit (1946) and The Cat Concerto (1947) get all of the attention, but Convict Concerto plays on a very similar theme, and I think it's much funnier than either. Animation veteran Hugh Harman freelanced the story for this stand-out cartoon.

Convict Concerto
Uploaded by thadk

- Fade in to Mugsy on the phone: Herman Cohen
- Mugs on the phone : Don Patterson
- Mugsy again : Cohen
- Cop sniffs Woody to bullets dropping out : Ray Abrams
- Woody pointing to piano and Mugsy ducking back in : Cohen
- Cop checks Woody for money to him sitting on money : Abrams
- Woody trying to warn the cop to the mugs walking into the store : Patterson
- Cop smells money to piano falling off truck : Abrams
- Woody playing the piano in the air to fade-out : Patterson

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