Saturday, December 30, 2006

Ward Kimball - Mother Goose Goes Hollywood

There's been a flood of Disney animator's drafts lately, and myths regarding a lot of Golden Age animators have been clearing up. It is great to know though, that Ward Kimball did an awful lot of excellent animation on both the shorts and movies.

Here's his animation from "Mother Goose Goes Hollywood" ('38), one of the few attempts Disney did at a real Warner-style cartoon for many years. It seems like all the animators were having fun with this short, but Kimball's animation stands out as the most slick and beautifully cartoony.

Go buy the new Silly Symphonies set if you haven't yet... It's worth it for this one alone!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (of Company B)

What happened to the good ol' days when a cartoon could abandon its plot to break out in song and become a spot-gag picture?

Here's one with a hit song from Walter Lantz in 1941... "Racial imagery" to follow.

Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy
Uploaded by thadk

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A Tale of Two Mice

Am I the only one who thinks that this Frank Tashlin short is one of the most brilliant cartoons ever made?

"A Tale of Two Kitties" gets all the attention for being another excellent cartoon (and the first appearance of Tweety), but this one is just as funny and has some great animation in its own right. There's lots of examples of Tashlin's "sophisticated exaggeration", like the cat slamming into the wall or his paw.

I absolutely love the staging of the Art Davis (?) scene of the cat flipping [Rat]stello in the air towards the end. A really unique and underrated cartoon from the Golden Age of animation.

A Tale of Two Mice
Uploaded by thadk

Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Night Before Christmas

I don't think anyone should go the holiday season without viewing this short. It's sort of startling how well-defined Bill and Joe had the characters in only their third starring cartoon.

The Night Before Christmas
Uploaded by thadk

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Bill and Joe Tribute Pt. 2

Here's one of my favorite chase scenes from "Springtime for Thomas" (1946). This is beautifully timed and hilariously animated by Irv Spence (the last two shots in this clip are Ed Barge's). It's funny how I was struck stupid when I found out later in life that these Tom & Jerry cartoons were high-budget films... You'd think Bill and Joe would make guys like Spence adhere to a modelsheet or layout! But all the animators on the Tom & Jerry films had their own style, yet they don't look disjointed, but very slick. That's definitley a sure sign of great directors.

Hope you enjoy this one. Scott Bradley's music works great with this scene too.

Springtime for Thomas
Uploaded by thadk

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Joe Barbera R.I.P.

I'm sure everyone's heard the terrible news that Joe Barbera has passed away.

I think my favorite memory of Joe was reading how kids would go up to him with pictures they drew of Tom & Jerry, Huck, Yogi, and Fred for him to sign... Sometimes they brought Bugs. In a world where a lot of "animators" would flip out if you brought them a competitor's product for them to sign, it takes a real man to just let it go.

Some day I might go on in great detail on why I love the Tom & Jerry series so much, but for right now a few clips over the next few days will do.

It's probably no surprise that Ray Patterson is one of my favorite animators, but I don't think his animation would be as great without Bill and Joe's direction. (Actually, that's true - his animation at Columbia in the early 40s and on Lundy's MGM shorts is great, but his best work was on the Tom & Jerrys.)

Here's a clip from one of my very favorite Tom & Jerry shorts. Moments like this separate good from great animation.

Texas Tom
Uploaded by thadk

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Bill Melendez - Hurdy Gurdy Hare

Mike Kazaleh wrote in to inform me that this piece of animation is NOT the work of Williams but Bill Melendez... I figured it was a former Davis animator, but I guess I was wrong. Thanks Mike!

David Gerstein tells me this is his favorite Bugs Bunny scene. You'll have to ask him to elaborate.

Hurdy Gurdy Hare
Uploaded by thadk

Lots of criticisms now arise saying McKimson's Bugs is better than Clampett's. Uh, sorry, no.

Easter Greetinks

Animated by Art Davis

Happy Easter!

Celebrate it by reading Carl Barks' "The Easter Election", the greatest comic book story about Easter ever made. If you don't have a copy, go buy one now! It'll be the best three bucks you'll spend all week!

Carl Barks Rules

Do yourself a favor too, and watch EASTER YEGGS (1947), the greatest cartoon about Easter ever made! And now you'll be able to tell who animated what!

Charles McKimson animated Bugs reading his sex book. Look at that great expression of embarrassment! Izzy Ellis picks up with the scene of the Easter rabbit telling Bugs of his trouble. He was a pretty loose animator and you can tell he's being held back in this scene.


Izzy also does this scene of the rabbit finding the bomb Bugs has left on him... And then Chuck picks up with that great toothy laugh before the iris out. Richard Bickenbach animated on this short too, but I'm not really sure what he did exactly, because his style is only just a little looser than Chuck's stuff.


Saturday, December 16, 2006

Sibley - How to Be a Detective

Here's a piece by John Sibley from one of my very favorite cartoons, How to Be a Detective (1952). This scene is a bit later than most of the Sibley animation that's usually highlighted, but it's still wonderfully timed and drawn. I like the cartoons that Kinney and Hannah did during the closing days of the Disney shorts department and think they're underrated. (And yes, that's June Foray as the bride.)

If you folks don't own a copy of The Complete Goofy (it came out in 2002, so it's pretty hard to find now) I seriously pity you and wonder how empty a childhood you want your firstborn to have without that set.

How to Be a Detective
Uploaded by thadk

(Thanks to Matt Yorston for the identification.)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

John Sibley - How to Be a Sailor

I don't think it's entirely fair to detract the greatness from a Golden Age animator just because they were tied to a few characters for most of their career.

Ray Patterson was tied to Tom & Jerry for most of his career before he started his own studio. Johnny Gent did almost exclusively Popeye and was well-known for it. Both of these guys can hold their own against any animator from any era.

John Sibley is no exception.

Sibley was at Disney for his whole career, earning him the title of the "Tenth Old Man", doing animation almost exclusively for Jack Kinney's unit. He was known as the Goofy animator, and IMO, it's his best animation.

I'm afraid I am new to the subject of Sibley (Pete Docter wrote an article on him for Amid Amidi's Animation Blast #9), but what I know is his animation is absolutely great.

As a kid, my favorite cartoons were always the Warner and MGM shorts, but Disney was next in line. Nearing adulthood, many of the Disney cartoons don't hold up well as entertainment for me (Chip n' Dale are pure nostalgia, that's it), only for animation and technical aspects. Most of the cartoons directed by Kinney are the most blatant exception to the rule.

Part of the enjoyment of Kinney's cartoons comes from the fact that Goofy is believably stupid enough to get himself into crazy situations. Sibley's animation helps this aspect tremendously, making Goofy a caricature of sort of a vaudevillian, holding the same clueless expression throughout the gem scenes.

Here is some of Sibley's best animation from Kinney's How to Be a Sailor (1944).

How to Be a Sailor 1
Uploaded by thadk

How to Be a Sailor 2
Uploaded by thadk

More on Sibley later.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Robin Hoodlum

Here is the first cartoon UPA did, directed by John Hubley. It's too bad the attitude was that they didn't want to do Fox and Crow, or any animal-oriented, cartoons because this and the other two Fox and Crows are genuinely funny and well-drawn shorts.

Mike Kazaleh (the Bobe Cannon expert) writes in:
"Pat Mathews did most of the scenes with the Crow and the King. Bobe Cannon did most of the scenes that had Robin Hood in them. Rudy Larriva animated the Merry Men."

Robin Hoodlum
Uploaded by thadk

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

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Giggle Comics: Ken Hultgren

Once in awhile, I'll post something off-topic, but not totally unrelated to animation. I love Golden Age funny animal comic books! My focus of interest has been on mainly the artists who drew the Looney Tunes, Tom & Jerry, Disney, and Fox and Crow comics since they were at one point animators or layout artists on the shorts.

But I recently got into collecting the Giggle Comics line from the 1940s. These books are simply amazing! Just about every story features artwork animators, like Dan Gordon, Jack Bradury, Bob Wickersham, among others.

One of my new favorites is Ken Hultgren, who I unfortunately do not know much about. I believe he was at Disney's as only an inbetweener, but his artwork on stories featuring "The Duke and the Dope" is absolutley great!

WARNING: These stories are scanned at a high resolution so it may take a while to load.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Remembering Sid Raymond

I was saddened to hear of the passing of Sid Raymond on Cartoon Brew Sunday. Here's a cartoon featuring the gift he gave the world. Say what you will about the animation (which I think, especially Marty Taras' scenes, is very good) or the plotline, but Sid's vocal talent is absolutely great.

This one might be my favorite just for Huey's singing and for the scene towards the end with the Fox shoving a gun in Huey's face... Any idea who animated that scene? (It wasn't Marty)

Swab the Duck
Uploaded by thadk

Monday, December 4, 2006

The Sleigh

In my opinion, Shamus Culhane was Lantz's best director after Tex Avery. The Lantz cartoons are good in the early 40s, but they don't get great until Shamus came in to direct. He really used those animators, like Emery Hawkins, Pat Matthews, Verne Harding, and Don Williams to the best of their abilities. Lundy got the cartoons to look prettier, but Shamus' are much faster, funnier, and more well-put together.

Here is a great scene from one of his best shorts there, Ski for Two (1944), primarily animated by Emery Hawkins. This is such an amazing scene from a hilarious cartoon. I want a flipbook of drawings Emery did for the piece where he jumps right at the camera to get a grasp on how he achieved it.

Ski for Two
Uploaded by thadk

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Solid Serenade

Here's an animator breakdown for one of the most popular (and funniest) Tom & Jerry cartoons ever made, Solid Serenade (1946). I recently bought a 16mm print of this one (so it will be at MANC '07) and am in awe of all the wonderful animation in it. Ken Muse of course steals the show with Tom's rendition of "Is You Is, Or Is You Ain't My Baby", but there is some beautiful Ray Patterson animation. Mike Lah animates a lot of footage on this one, and it features many of his hilarious walk cycles.

Ray was uncredited on this picture as he briefly left MGM to go to England, to train animators for David Hand on the ANIMALAND series. (That doesn't surprise me, as the designs of a lot of those characters look like something Ray would draw.)

- Dog sleeping to Tom bouncing off on bass: Ray Patterson
- Tom starts singing to Jerry stomping off upstairs: Ken Muse
- Jerry puts iron into pie: Ed Barge
- Tom gets iron in face: Muse
- Tom chases Jerry through kitchen to dog coming back to house: Barge
- Dog puts in bigger teeth to Tom running on 'front legs': Patterson
- Tom runs behind wall to Tom slamming the dog on the ground after wooing him : Mike Lah
- Tom scurries behind corner to iris out : Pete Burness (this is not subtitled correctly in the video)

Solid Serenade
Uploaded by thadk

The bit by Muse with Tom getting angry, not at the fact that he got hit in the face, but that someone is heckling him, is the kind of thing that I feel separates good from great animation.

Friday, December 1, 2006

Jekyll and Hyde Cat - Bill Tytla

Talk about getting knocked down! When Disney's top animator, Bill Tytla, left after the strike, he ended up doing animation in NY at Terry and Famous! Poor devil!

But that doesn't mean none of Tytla's amazing skill didn't end up in those films. At Terry in particular, he added a sense of dramatics to the Mighty Mouse shorts that was not there before or after. I believe the transformation of the cat in this scene, from Jekyll and Hyde Cat (1944), is Bill Tytla's work. There is no way in Hell any regular at Terry could pull that scene off. It looks like something directly pulled out of Snow White!

Jekyll and Hyde Cat 1
Uploaded by thadk

I'm not sure how much Tytla did in this clip. He may have been responsible for the cat's dead body, which is the most disturbing thing I know of in a Terrytoon (outside of the music). Cool to see Mighty get a few punches thrown at him too.

Jekyll and Hyde Cat 2
Uploaded by thadk

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Champion of Justice - Johnny Gent

Johnny Gent was at Terry before he started his tenure at Famous, and I'm trying to find out what he did on those early 40s films.

I think this piece, from Champion of Justice (1944), is his work. I really like the animation of the nephew here, and the posing and timing looks like Gent's work. Anyone else agree? Disagree?

There's a slight discrepency with this film's release date, as it is within a few months from the first cartoon he animated at Famous on. Gent said he worked on Mighty Mouse when he was still Super Mouse, so who knows.

Champion of Justice
Uploaded by thadk

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Mighty Tyer - Helpless Hippo

Here's a clip from The Helpless Hippo (1953), featuring one of Tyer's brilliant shrink-takes. I wonder, what are those little black 'sticks' left behind when a character runs off in many Tyer scenes? My guess is that it might be pieces of lead left on the drawings by this eccentric guy!

Mighty cartoons tend to be better when he's actually in the whole cartoon, and not just the last two minutes. Too bad it didn't happen often.

Helpless Hippo
Uploaded by thadk

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Non-Stylized Cartooniness - Mo' Jim Tyer

Yeah, I know, it's been too long since the last one!

Here is a scene from one of the better Mighty Mouse cartoons (I should know, having sat through about 50 of them recently), The Reformed Wolf (1954), featuring the antics of a mentally-challenged sheepdog and a schizophrenic-sounding wolf. Mighty is more fun to watch when it looks like he's just having fun abusing his enemies.

I'm not sure who animated the scene before Tyer comes in. Paging Milton Knight!

Reformed Wolf
Uploaded by thadk

(Thanks to Andrea for this and the next few Mighty Mouse posts)

Friday, November 24, 2006

Stylized Cartooniness - Booby Hatched

Lots of folk claim that many of the things that made cartoons fun were sucked out by the Disney influence. While for the most part, this is true, but there were a few directors that said "screw the Disney influence" and went ahead with doing a hybrid of sort of cartoony animation (and gags) with sophisticated designs. Clampett, Avery, and Tashlin in particular.

I don't think the Disney influence was bad. I can't stand most of the early 30s cartoons save the earliest Boskos, Iwerks Mickey, and Irv Spence Flip the Frog I actually enjoy. But there were really great principles in those films that made them animation fun. I'm actually glad the influence came in, because it made those who excelled with using it, like Jones, all the better, while Clampett, Tashlin, and Avery remained unique with the preference for broad, cartoony actions.

The ducks in these two clips from Booby Hatched (1944) still move in the stylized way Tashlin originated and Davis animated, but there is a lingering remainder of the bounciness from the old 30s cartoons. See if you can spot it!

Booby Hatched 1
Uploaded by thadk

Booby Hatched 2
Uploaded by thadk

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Tashlin and Davis - Stylized Timing - Plane Daffy

Great timing in animation is extremely hard to do, and it's even harder to make it unique.

The thing that's always stood out to me in Frank Tashlin's 1940s cartoons is how stylized the movement is. Daffy in particular always moved beautifully.

In other directors' cartoons, characters snapping from pose to pose looks cheap with a lot of brush blurs, and in the case of Freleng and McKimson's shorts, badly drawn. The animation in Tashlin's shorts is unique and unlike any other director's in the history of Warners.

Lots of animation in Tashlin's shorts seem to use leftover drawings, but it's pieced together so well it looks more like it's intentional than an error. In my opinion, Tashlin was as every bit exaggerated (or 'cartoony') as Clampett, only Tashlin was more sophisticated, while Clampett took a more sophomorphic approach to it (that is not a bad thing).

Art Davis seemed to be Tashlin's favorite animator, or at least his best one, as he is behind all of those great scenes of sophisticated 'cartooniness'. These techniques are seen nowhere in Davis' own films of the late 40s, nor in his animation for Friz, so it goes to show you what a great director and a great animator are capable of when they are working at their full potential.

These two clips are from one of my all-time favorite cartoons, Plane Daffy (1944). Look at how beautiful Daffy is in these scenes! Go out and buy the new Looney Tunes set, because it's worth it just for this cartoon, and the other Tashlin shorts, alone.

Plane Daffy 1
Uploaded by thadk

Plane Daffy 2
Uploaded by thadk

Saturday, November 18, 2006


Sorry for the lack of posts lately, folks. My laptop is in the shop for repairs and an uncle passed away earlier this week, so I have been a little preoccupied.

I'll have a review of the new Warner Golden Collection up soon, which outside of the Frank Tashlin disc, was slightly disappointing. Oh and some updates to this blog too are in store as well.

Speaking of Tashlin, I have a whole bunch of posts planned about him and his top animator, Art Davis, and what makes his cartoons so unique and amazing. Hopefully in the next week or so, things will be in order.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Hawkins Dialogue: Riff Raffy Daffy

I've written about Hawkins' delay timing in the past... Here is another great example of how he takes a scene of dialogue and weaves his magic through it, from Riff Raffy Daffy (1948).

Riff Raffy Daffy
Uploaded by thadk

Sunday, November 5, 2006

Handling Dialogue: Pete Burness

A problem that's existed ever since the mid-50s in animation is the abundance of 'talking heads'. This started coming in with Chuck Jones' "illustrated radio" shorts, but it really didn't take off until the advent of television with Hanna-Barbera's first shorts.

All cartoons, theatrical or otherwise, have relied on verbal humor and dialogue far too much ever since.

Back in the "good ol' days", masters like Pete Burness and others were able to make their talking scenes interesting, because they would add their own little tricks to them.

This is a scene from one of Friz Freleng's Tweety cartoons, I Taw a Putty Tat (1948). I believe this is Burness' first piece of animation for Warners, though he was uncredited. Watch Sylvester's head in this scene for Burness' trademark bouncy animation, along with the neat detail of Tweety's hat bouncing off his head as he jumps with joy, 'unaware' of Sylvester's intentions.

It's easy to tell when Pete or Emery is animating on a Freleng cartoon because it's usually the best looking animation in the short.

I Taw a Putty Tat
Uploaded by thadk

Burness, along with Emery Hawkins, were at the 'bottom' of the Warners pecking order, so they weren't tied down to one unit, and would often go without screen credit.

Here's Burness handling a classic exchange in Chuck Jones' Haredevil Hare (1948), another short he was uncredited on. This gag has been used countless times throughout animation history, but it was never as funny looking.

Haredevil Hare
Uploaded by thadk

Monday, October 30, 2006

Professor Small and Mr. Tall

For Halloween this week, here's a clip from one of my favorite Columbia cartoons, Professor Small and Mr. Tall (1943), directed by John Hubley and Paul Sommer. This one got a pretty harsh review in Maltin's book, and I can't really see why. That ghost is funny as hell!

The most eerie aspect of this clip is how the characters resemble something out of Chuck Jones' The Dover Boys (1942) (John McLeish even doing a voice), and both cartoons came out within a few months of each other. We know Jones was moonlighting with the UPA guys for Hell-Bent for Election (1944), but was he also doing some work on these Screen Gems shorts?

You can watch this great cartoon (minus the bit with the ghost as Hitler shooting himself... Hmm, guess they predicted the future...) at Pietro's great site.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Johnny's Power Emphasis

As mentioned in the previous blog entry, I feel what Gentilella did better than anyone was emphasizing power. The fight scenes he animated are some of the best animation from any New York studio in the 40s and 50s. Here are two scenes that I know he did from Pop-Pie Ala Mode (1945) and Wotta Knight (1947). Both are wonderfully timed, and show why I think his animation has more punch (pun intended) than any other animator's. (Thanks to Bob J. for identifications.)

Pop-Pie Ala Mode
Uploaded by thadk

Wotta Knight
Uploaded by thadk

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Musical Timing: Johnny Gent

To somewhat tie-in with Kevin's post on timing to music, here is a scene from Famous Studio's Moving Aweigh (1944). This was John Gentilella's first piece of animation at Famous... Only a genius could come up with a scene like this on their first day on the job!

This piece also showcases Gent's emphasis on power, an aspect I feel he was better than everybody at. I'll be talking about this in future posts this week.

Moving Aweigh
Uploaded by thadk

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

Monday, October 16, 2006

Good Ol' Fashioned Cartoon Plagiarism: How to Relax

One of my favorite opening titles ever!

Welcome to the first installment of "Good Ol' Fashioned Cartoon Plagiarism"... or "How Did They Not Get Sued?!"

It's so much easier to take a successful, exisiting idea and put a face-lift on it... Which is exactly what the Terrytoon studio did when they gave the Heckle & Jeckle foil, Dimwit, his own short-lived series!

Jack Kinney's Goofy at the Disney studio was the victim of the pilfering... It's blatantly obvious what Terry was trying to immitate (David Gerstein also claims that it's such a knock-off, that the opening music tries to copy the Goofy theme!)

Of course, I severely doubt Kinney would have had Goofy... Um, well you'll have to wait and see! (Though the way things were going at Disney in 1954, I wouldn't be surprised.)

Without further ado, here is the Terry classic How to Relax (1954). There is some crazy Tyer action in the first 1/4 of this one!

How to Relax
Uploaded by thadk

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Legend of Rock-a-Bye Point

I think it's high time for a new animator breakdown, and I think everyone will enjoy this one. Mike Kazaleh broke this one down for me awhile ago.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Funny Columbia Animation - Grant Simmons, Frank Tipper, & Roy Jenkins

Here's a piece of animation at one of the "squarest" studios that really surprised me. The Columbia directors Bob Wick and Howard Swift obviously didn't give much freedom to their animators which is why it's so hard to spot any individual style. This scene, from the Flippy short Cagey Bird (1946), is an exception.

EDIT: Grant Simmons animated the bits with Flop (the cat) going through the pillows and falling down the stairs and screaming. Frank Tipper animated Flop getting tripped and trying to put Flippity in his mouth. Roy Jenkins animated Flop escaping Sam's (the dog) bite, getting bashed on the head, and diving into the trashcan. Jenkins did some really funny looking 'silly putty' animation in this scene!

This is about as wild as Columbia got for the time period.

Cagey Bird
Uploaded by thadk

Friday, October 6, 2006

Funny Lantz Animation - Don Patterson

I never really caught on why the later Lantz cartoons are unpopular. I definitley like the ones directed by Alex Lovy and Sid Marcus more than any other studio's contemporary product (save a few by Jones and Freleng). Maybe it has something to do with the 'look', which I happen to love. Though disgracefully knocked down to animator in favor of Paul Smith, Don Patterson still did a fantastic job on Lovy's shorts, often doing both animation and the layouts.

Here is some really funny animation by him from the Doc the Cat (voiced by the great Paul Frees) short Space Mouse (1959).

Space Mouse 1
Uploaded by thadk

Space Mouse 2
Uploaded by thadk

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Woody Dines Out

One of my all-time favorite cartoons is Shamus Culhane's Woody Dines Out (1945). To me, the character in this film really is Woody Woodpecker. He is obsessed with food and sex, making him the Anti-Christ of sorts among cartoon superstars.

It has the simplest plot... Woody is hungry and all of the restaurants in towns are closed (probably because they've had his patronage in the past), except for one, which is really the shop of a feline taxidermist wanting the $100K prize for a "King-Size Stuffed Woodpecker".

That sounds like a pretty generic plot, but this cartoon, as all cartoons under Culhane and Dick Lundy's direction, contains fantastic animation and timing that make it unique. It is this piece below that I feel Pat Matthews is at his zenith. Woody's reaction to the concoction is incredible, his head spinning into all sorts of shapes, changing colors, then his neck stretching skyward and crashing down again.

Sex is a regular source for gags in Culhane's shorts, and the cat's hilarious fantasizing is no exception. Matthews also animated that scene, showing off his tremendous girl drawing abilities. (He and Marc Davis are my favorite 'girl animators' from the Golden Age.)

Plus, only Woody is enough of a gluttonous bastard where he'd eat something handed to him with such a cryptic warning. (The cat is voiced by the tremendously talented Hans Conried by the way.)

Woody Dines Out 1
Uploaded by thadk

Later in the cartoon, there is a fantastic piece by (my favorite) Emery Hawkins with the cat falling down an elevator shaft. This is another great example of his use of delay timing, particularly when the cat comes to after the fall.

Woody Dines Out 2
Uploaded by thadk

This short also has one of my absolute favorite endings. Only Woody is the kind of pervert who'd invade another character's fantasy to get the last laugh (literally) before the fade-out. Matthews animated this scene as well, with the great bit of Woody smashing the cat's skull in with the champagne bottle.

Woody Dines Out 3
Uploaded by thadk

Sunday, October 1, 2006

Tom & Jerry "Friends" Modelsheets

I'm really scratching for ideas for new posts and don't really like going for days at a time without an update, so here are some modelsheets to tide you over. These are all of "assorted" characters from the Tom & Jerry series, and were stolen from Cartoon Network's D.O.C. website before it folded up (which is why even these have the CN bug).

Sufferin' Cats (1943)

Zoot Cat (1944)

A Mouse in the House (1947)

Kitty Foiled (1948)

Hatch Up Your Troubles (1949)

Little Runaway (1952)

Push-Button Kitty (1952)

To tie-in, here's a great scene from Zoot Cat... The first half is animated by Ken Muse, and then it does a cut to Irv Spence.