Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Exaggeration - Eatin' On The Cuff (1942)

Here's a nice note from Paul Etcheverry about Bob Clampett:
Hi John -
Heard you gave a fantastic show and in-depth look at the incomparable films of Bob Clampett in Ottawa. I'm glad you got to know Bob and spend time with him; he struck me as a fun guy.
Bob Clampett is very important to me personally. The same day when I met Bob I bought my first 16mm films - PORKY IN WACKYLAND, PORKY'S PREVIEW and PORKY & GABBY. He was uncommonly nice and generous with his time to me, then a goofy 17 year old long-haired rock guitarist obsessed with music and old movies (now I'm the same thing, only 50). He was also very supportive of my efforts to get recognition for animated cartoons as an art form and was the only "Golden Age Of Cartoons" icon I heard say nice things about such lesser known non-Warner Bros. directors as Hugh Harman and Sid Marcus (who produced some absolutely wonderful work in the 30's and 40's, artistic flaws notwithstanding). That said, when I started doing interviews for MINDROT a few years later, I was very surprised - shocked - by the controversy and hard feelings that seemed to surround Bob in the business. It never made sense to me at all; in my conversations with him, if anything Bob was effusive in his praise of other artists, more interested in talking about stuff that inspired him - whether it was the exciting swing music of Duke Ellington or the novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Willis O' Brien's innovative stop-motion animation in THE LOST WORLD or Tex Avery's cartoons - than about his own work.
The other thought I would like to convey is how strongly Bob felt about his artistic collaborators. Bob's eyes lit up whenever I said the words Rod Scribner or Manny Gould. He loved these guys! Also got the impression that Bob was tremendously fond of Tex Avery, not only as a groundbreaking director and comic mind but as a person.
So, not only are Bob's films still the best, I'll always have a soft spot for him and am proud to have worked, in collaboration with one of my heroes, the incredible Mark Kausler, on one of the first published filmographies of his work.
Also much enjoyed the blog postings on the early seasons of the Flintstones, still the textbook case on how to do limited animation right, with funny character designs, good acting, solid storylines, excellent music & voice acting and (to quote an obscure Beach Boys song title) good timin'.
Have fun in Canada. The Ottawa Festival looks like a great time.
Your pal,