Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Preston Blair with Tex Avery

Preston Blair is often regarded as one of the greatest animators of all time. He is definitley a worthy candidate for that title. A lot regard his finest hour as "The Sorcerer's Apprentice", but I think his best work was with Tex Avery at MGM.

A lot regard Tex's shorts as being wild and off the wall, but there is nothing of that nature in Blair's animation. They are all fluid movements, with no jerkiness whatsoever, and rarely any zany takes that Tex was well known for. See this bit of his from WHO KILLED WHO? (1943).

Blair animated this whole next piece, and I consider it the greatest statement ever made in any fim of any kind. It was genius of Tex to have a former Disney animator do this scene (and may have been therapeutic for Blair too). Also note that one of the characters mentioned is 'Barney Bear'... I'm really not sure if Tex included that one on purpose or if he honestly didn't know MGM had a character with that name!

This one probably had them roaring with laughter in 1944... And it still would today too. That's what being 'timeless' is all about!


Only Tex could come up with a character like Screwy. I could easily see Clampett doing these kinds of shorts with a character like this (oh wait!), but I don't think they'd be nearly as enjoyable. Screwy isn't a mean bastard who kills or drives his adversaries to suicide, he's just insane. That's the difference between Tex and Clampett's zaniness, IMO.

I believe Blair animated this ending scene from HAPPY-GO-NUTTY (1944), but I could be wrong, so let me know if I am. There are no truly wild takes in this scene but you still come off with the feeling that Meathead is one f---ed up dog after the whole ordeal.

And how could a post about Preston Blair be complete without... You guessed it, another Red song-and-dance number! Here's the one from WILD & WOOLFY (1945).

Keep an eye out for another MGM-centric post in the near future, where I show you why Tom & Jerry had the greatest acting in any cartoon series.

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