Monday, September 25, 2006

Acting - Bashful Buzzard (1945) & Baby Bottleneck (1946) McKimson and Scribner

Hey folks, how many of you made it to the shows at the Animation festival? At the Clampett panel, I talked about some of the different talents Clampett had and how he used them in his cartoons. Acting was the first topic. Clampett had the best personality animation of anyone during the Golden Age of Cartoons. Say hi in the comments and tell everyone what they missed!
Here are two examples of 2 different aproaches to animation acting.
Bob McKimson tends to use body poses, attitudes and gestures to convey his characters' emotions. He watches Clampett act out a scene and then draws all of Clampett's motions and gestures. McKimson uses a limited range of expressions-they are kind of generic (not as limited as the other studios)-but the characters' movements are full of personality and meaning.

Rod Scribner on the other hand tends to use very specific custom designed facial expressions. He listens really carefully to the voice track and makes up an original drawn expression for every little nuance he hears. Scribner was completely unique during the golden age of cartoons. I don't know anyone else who did this. He gave me the idea to do it in my cartoons.

Bob McKimson Acting:
Here's a scene from Bashful Buzzard. Note how Mckimson doesn't veer much from the model sheet, but he does so much with the body language that he doesn't really need to. (Actually, I think the model sheet in this case was made from the animation drawings-which is a great idea)

(Model sheet taken from Kevin Langley's GOOBER SLEAVE - thanks Kevin!)

Acting - Bashful Buzzard
Uploaded by chuckchillout8

Rod Scribner

Here's an example of a model sheet of Daffy Duck from 1940:

(This model sheet is from Kevin Langley's GOOBER SLEEVE - thanks Kevin!)

As you can see, the expressions on the model sheet are typically generic 40s cartoon expressions. They are "broad stroke" emotions, and sufficient for general cartoon type production, but not good enough for Clampett. (It looks like a Friz model sheet.)

Now watch Rod Scribner's great animation of Daffy Duck. It still looks like the Daffy on the model sheet, but he is much more alive and real, because he acts as if he is constantly being confronted with new challenges, thoughts and emotions and reacts instantly with unique custom-tailored expressions. Clampett's characters act as if they are motivated from within, as opposed to Chuck's who act as if the director is pushing them around and guiding them to their marks that have been pre-planned on stage.



"Mister Dionne..."


(To see more images from this scene, head on over to DUCK WALK....)

Acting - Baby Bottleneck
Uploaded by chuckchillout8


Roberto González said...

Are Bashful Buzzard and Bugs Bunny Gets The Boid the same cartoon? I can't see the first model sheet.

Interesting post. Yeah, I guess the two styles are pretty useful. I completely love Rod Scribner's style vut it would be tiresome if all cartoons were equal, I guess. Baby Bottleneck is probably my Clampett favourite along with The Great Piggy Bank Robbery and Book Revue.

Kali Fontecchio said...

I love getting my daily laughs here- Daffy's pupils are super dilated, it makes him look crazy!

Brett W. Thompson said...

Such incredible frames. I love it when Daffy's expression holds, and he's got those dialted pupils!

David Germain said...

John, the Daffy model sheet is for You Oughta Be In Pictures (by Friz Freleng c. 1940). A nice cartoon but it would have been interesting to see what Clampett would have done with that situation.

Rod Scribner on the other hand tends to use very specific custom designed facial expressions. He listens really carefully to the voice track and makes up an original drawn expression for every little nuance he hears.

About Scribner, yeah he was the best. I hope to animate as well as Scribner did someday. And that little bit of information there could better help me achieve that. Thank you for posting this, John.

Crumpled Up John! said...

I love just about any early Daffy cartoon. Heck, I even like the later ones too. What do you think makes him so endearing?

Tony Papesh said...

Hey John,

You always have model sheets and production work for characters from the golden age of cartoons - could you post some production work of some of the work that you have been a part of?

Also, will ASIFA ever release any books or DVD collections from animated shorts or is it not in their power to do so?


Kevin Langley said...

Scribner's scenes in "Baby Bottleneck" are some of my favorites from him. I was freeze framing just the other day and he's just incredible and imaginative. I'm glad those models came in handy.

Clinton said...

Hey John, I know how much Bob Clampett influenced your animation. Do you think you will ever lecture on Tex Avery? He was my hero. Maybe I should do one myself and you can tell me what you think...

Alex said...

The pannel was pretty cool. I hope someday to be given the honor of fartting on your furniture, Mr. Kricfalusi. Thanks for not just repeating all the stuff you've already put on the blog.

I wish I asked about Bob's interest in Jazz and what kind of connection he had to that culture: if hung out with beatnicks and musicians, if he went to the clubs white people didn't really go to, who he liked, how they recieved Coal Black and how Coal Black was recieved in general.

Or just asked for some more about the guy as you knew him.

Sgay f a c e said...

Oh my god, you signed my boobs...and it was amazing..
Please see a few pictures of the wonderful experience here:

Feel free to link my ladies on here if you'd like... I'd be more than flattered!

In other news, the festival was amazing and I really enjoyed your talk about Bob Clampett...he truly was a genius! To see his stuff on the original 16's and 32's was really awesome... the colors of the backgrounds were amazing... nothing like on a small tv with a dvd.

I had a great time meeting you...definitely good for some laughs.


Hammerson said...

Did Scribner also animated the scene with Daffy on the phone in "Draftee Daffy"? If so, then it would be great to compare these two scenes and the similar one in "The Great Piggy Bank Robbery". All three cartoons were made within the same year or two, and it might be interesting to compare how Scribner approached the same task in different context, and find out what are the similarities and differences, did he used any similar expressions, etc. The situations and emotions for the telephone scene are different in each cartoon, but in all three scenes Daffy looks and feels like a living breathing creature.

Shawn said...

Cool stuff!

Hey John! I love the specific expressions you draw. Will you ever do a post about actually drawing specific facial expressions? Like, how do you do it in your Spumco cartoons? Use a mirror for some expressions, or just feel around for specific expessions in your mind and draw what your imagination sees?

I'd love to see a post about that some day!

Mad Taylor said...

These are some amazing examples. Also in your previous post about the Tale of Two Kitties, those two characters never fail to make me laugh. How many cartoons did Clampett use those two in? A friend of mine over in the valley is moving and gave me a bunch of animation magazines which have some of your essays in them as well as some Spumco history. I wanted to post a picture of you and Bob I found in here, but I couldn't so I'll put it up on my blog.

Corey said...

Beaky is the best

Craig D said...

Is it correct to conclude:


Sure seems that way.

Alex said...

That's a tattoo, right there, sgay f a c e.

Also: John K. talks exactly like George C. Scott.

murrayb said...

The specific clips showcasing how bob excelled in each category was a real eye opener. Watching a horse turn inside out frame by frame and come out his own butt is pretty cool, and the genius fart chair story was gross/touching.

PCUnfunny said...

I like how Scribner exagerated the facial expression to the point that if you just freeze frame a scene of his,you can't figure out what the hell the character is doing or saying but it's still a funny drawing.

It's Not Art said...

Another great post! I have fond foggy memories of Bashful Buzzard. Was Bashful a one time character or did he have a bit of a series? I definitely recall this episode.

On a different note: Now that Weird Al's Straight Outta Lynwood has been released, are you going to post more about that project? I loved the video when I saw it at the Castro whenever ago (BTW, Thanks for Saving San Francisco!), but you just taunted us with saying you used a new flash technique. Care to explain a bit more on that?

PsychoWiLL said...

I find the Beatnik influence very amusing, and actually use a beatnik for my IM pic. I thought Coal Black was great! (Please, Nobody take offense)

Vanoni! said...

Will you ever do a post about actually drawing specific facial expressions?. . .Use a mirror for some expressions, or just feel around for specific expessions in your mind and draw what your imagination sees?

I'd love to see a post about that some day!

I second.
I love the notion of drawing specific facial expressions to suit dialogue. I've been meaning to do some of my own studies in Flash.
I think it can only help my static illustration as well.

- Corbett

Pedro Vargas said...

McKimson blows my mind. His stuff is so concrete! Scribner's drawings make me laugh real hard!

The GagaMan(n) said...

The only classic cartoon I've ever been able to see a proper 32mm film was 'Duck Amuck' last year. I sure would love to see Clampett's toons how they were meant to be seen, but alas, I'm quite a few thousand miles away from America =(

Eric C. said...

How do they animate acting like that? That totaly amazes me. It's looks easy, but animation is a really tough prosses. Even animation shipped over seas doesn't do this (unless your talking about the new Ren & Stimpy or Ed Edd N Eddy of course).

So they look at themselfs in the miror and watch Bob Clampett's energetic acting, remember it and boom?

Why aren't there real animation studios do non shipped overseas stuff. I think Disney ships over seas.

akira said...

thanks for the lesson.. i think it's really interesting to watch these clips without sound, too. unlike a lot of modern animation, you can totally tell what's going on with both of them. to me, the mckimson animation does a perfect and tidy job of animating the dialogue and action, whereas scribner kind of pushes it and explores how extreme he can go with the character.

Desiree said...

great insight!!!
Bashful Buzzard is one of myfave animated characters ever. LIke when Stimpy gives ren a bath and he goes "ehehh, but it iS kind of embaAhrassing!"" AHAHHAA It makes my stomach do backflips TEEHEE
HAPpy HAPpy HOlidAAAAAYYyys!!!

Captain Napalm said...

Captain Napalm said...

Y'know what's REALLY cool and weird about all of this? The more you look at this stuff up close, the more you (or at least I) find that actual people start to look like the work of these animators. Alex's comment about John K. is dead on - He is George C. Scott in "Dr. Strangelove", making a scene in the animation War Room -"Well, it's not like we won't get Nickelodeon's hair mussed!"- with Eddie "Peter Sellers" Fitzgerald doing his regular duties -"Hello, Demitri? HAAH-HAAH-HAAH-HAAH-HA-sorry? No, to tell you the honest truth, I am NOT sure what I;m laughing at...."
AAAND FOOIIITHEMOAH, Whenever I watch "The Colbert Report", I feel like I'm looking at a McKimson/Melendez Joint, no kidding- he LOOKS THE WAY THEY DRAW. Then the expressions get very Scribner, but alas he is flesh and blood, so that 's physically impossible. (the "breakout" action, I mean.)