Monday, April 24, 2006

Draftee Daffy

Bob Clampett's DRAFTEE DAFFY (1945) has always been at the top of my list of favorite cartoons. It should be on your's too.

Daffy goes through so many hilarious emotions in this film that it's startling. Daffy is at his most human in Clampett's shorts, because acting is one of the things he did best. Clampett's version of Daffy is by far my favorite.

Not too mention this short is funny as hell!

But like I said, brilliance, like this and what I think is the best word to describe Clampett's last dozen or so films, doesn't appeal to all people. I watched the premiere episode of The Bob Clampett Show((which was CN's best one, right up there with The Popeye Show) with my father, and DRAFTEE DAFFY was the first one shown. He didn't get into it much. All he said was, "God, Daffy's got a big house, doesn't he?" Something I didn't notice before! God, these Warner guys did it the best.

Anyway, here's a little lesson in identifying animators, though I do think Clampett's are the easiest ones to differentiate the various artists. 

Most of this first clip, with Daffy reading the newspaper and parading, is all Manny Gould. Gould is the king of wild arm gestures.

When Daffy salutes Gen. MacArthur, and the wild combat bit, it's Bob McKimson's work. Look at how solid and beautiful the animation is! It cuts back to Gould for the remaining bit of the clip.

When Daffy answers the phone, it's the unmistakeable Rod Scribner. His style could be described as 'silly putty'. He was more concerned with specific acting than making the character look pretty. That's why he's one of the best.

It cuts back to Gould when he hangs up. More of his unmistakable wild arm gestures with Daffy here, and putting his face right into the camera. The human emotion here is great, with Daffy suddenly realizing that he's screwed and breaking down into hysterics. Having “It Had to Be You” play on the soundtrack only increases the hilarity of Daffy's grief.

Daffy crawling up to the window ("Man... Draftboard... Letter... President!") is of course Scribner's work, as is the wild take.

Gould picks up again with Daffy barricading the door, running upstairs, and the bit with the window. I try to make the face Daffy does while running whenever possible. It's unfortunately becoming subconscious.

Basil Davidovich comes in with Daffy packing his suitcase. The drawing of Daffy in this scene in particular looks more like it belongs in one of Art Davis' shorts, which is why this is attributed to him.

Gould picks up again once Daffy rushes up the flight of stairs to him closing the closet door... 

Scribner handles the scene with Daffy telling the little man "He'll never catch me in a million years!" Then there's a hilarious shot by Gould of Daffy's eyes moving to one side of his face! I could watch that bit for hours!

Sribner handles Daffy's take, and Gould handles him slamming the door (I love how doors seemed to be organic in Clampett's shorts).

McKimson handles Daffy setting the bomb next to the man. Perfect flowing arm movements in every way.

When Daffy is back downstairs, and the man gives him back the explosive, it's Davidovich. Scribner animates the great bit with the little man's eyes following Daffy's flight and fall.

McKimson was always used by the directors to handle more subtler scenes, so it's befitting he does this bit with the little man consoling Daffy after the explosion.

Davidovich handles everything from Daffy slamming into the safe to launching himself on the rocket.

McKimson handles the ending with Daffy finding out that despite being in Hell, his own personal Hell is not over.

Ingenious cartoon from a genius. Nobody could've pulled this off but Clampett.

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