Sunday, October 29, 2006

Specific Acting-Scribner, Clampett, Blanc, Foster

It took 4 wonderful talents to do this great scene.

Warren Foster wrote the rhythmic dialogue. (Very important to voice actors. Bad stilted cartoon writing , written in "writer-speak" is very hard for an actor to read naturally. This might be partly why so much voice acting is so dry and monotone now. You can't read the awkward dialogue any other way.)

Clampett directed the cartoon and gave it context and emotion.

Mel Blanc read the dialogue with verve and rhythm and a huge variety of contrasts and accents. (no one does this any more)

Rod Scribner animated it perfectly and in context to Mel's voice and created expressions and poses that gave even more meaning to the dialogue and delivery.

Drawing specific acting is my favorite thing to do and more than anything else is why Ren and Stimpy was so successful. They had rhythmic dialogue and tons of unique expressions which made them seem real no matter what crazy situations I would plop them into. Of all the innovations that came from that show this is the biggest one and the one that wasn't carried on by anyone else. People would copy certain specific Stimpy expressions and use them out of context in their own cartoons, but I've yet to see anyone make their characters have an inner life which can only be achieved by doing what I've been talking about here.

You have to be willing to turn over your model sheets too. And do layouts in the country.

"I can hardly wait to see..."

(crazy laugh)

"I love that man!"

"He drew a knife on him..."



"They're at it again!"

"...I hate to look..."

This is so Clampett. He himself was a big cartoon and comics fan so the whole gag itself is based on how he feels about getting the latest edition of one of his favorite comics.

Everything Clampett did, even his dirty jokes are presented from the point of view of a kid. It's a kid's eye view of the world.

I really identify with this scene because when I was kid I couldn't wait for Tuesdays and Thursdays, the 2 days when all the new comic books would arrive at the local drugstore.

I would walk the mile and a half to Paul's Sundries and pace until they would place the new issues in the racks and then I'd spend an hour or two molesting all the comics, deciding and stressing over which 4 or 5 issues I could spread my allowance out to grab.

Ditko's Spiderman and Kirby's Fantastic 4 were always on top of the list, then I'd have to take turns on Deadman, The Hulk, The Avengers, Hot Stuff, World's Finest and a zillion others.

I always snapped up Betty and Veronica's Giant Size Summer fun issues to gawk at the sexy drawings Harry Lucey did of the girls frolicking on the beach in their skimpy suits.

Wanna freeze frame through this amazing cartoon yourself?

Well you can! Watch Clampett's "The Great Piggy Bank Robbery" and MORE on the 'LOONEY TUNES GOLDEN COLLECTION VOLUME 2'...



akira said...

damn, i'd love to see your take on the FF (especially if it includes the inhumans)... have you ever pitched anything to the comic companies to make cartoons of their existing characters the way you took on yogi and the jetsons.

marvel keeps putting out new animated versions of their stars but always really crappy(i just saw an anime version of FF). man i bet your spiderman adaptation would be so good too(hot chicks, kooky villians, and a wise-cracking hero[probably in your version you'd go back to the ditko powers where spidey can sculpt all kinds of useful gadgets out of his webbing])!

Anonymous said...

I notice that you didnt mention calvin and hobbes and the far side in your list of favorite comics. Theyd be 1 and 2 by a mile on my list

Anonymous said...

Classico's on the youtube, children!

Mitch K said...

My mom would never let me buy comic books when I was a kid... and I lived in the country, so it's not like I could walk to town to buy comics at age 9! I regret not reading comic books. Sometimes I bring it up with my mom, but she doesn't want to hear that she did something wrong with raising me. (besides the comic book deal, my mom is an excellent mom).

Once in a while my dad would buy me one if it was just me and him in town.

I guess I can buy comics now though, eh?

Russell H said...

Looking at that scene now, after reading your lessons on color, I appreciate it more than ever: The way those yellow and orange flowers "frame" the scene, the "weathered"-looking greyish fence and that varied-green grass. I like the way the grass is darker green away from the center of the scene and given texture with those little tufts drawn it, while the grass directly under Daffy is lighter and untextured, so he'll "read' better against it.

There's also the way Daffy is posed against the angles of the fence and ground and flowers--Scribner really uses these elements to emphasize the extremes in Daffy's poses. Even though Daffy hardly moves from the center of the scene, everything he does is so full of action and energy, and the background makes it stand out even more.

Billy Bob said...

Hmm can anyone (Mr. K included) elaborate on rythmic dialogue, i have a feeling that it's prevalent in WB and possibly other old cartoons too, but i need a good definition of it to put it in context.

katzenjammer studios said...

Hey John,

Give us some exercises on how to properly study specific acting. I heard about your Kirk Douglas exercise on the Elmer Fudd head... got anymore? The reason why people copy your stuff is probably because they don't understand that specific acting comes from observation.

Your pal,

toonamir said...

Beautiful post, “The Great Piggy Bank Robbery” is really the definition of an awesome and inventive cartoon, Very high on my list of Clampett favorites.

Reading it reminds me of the Mighty Mouse episode “See You in the Funny Papers”. I love the tribute scene of Scrappy waiting for the comics. the villains’ escape from the ring is very much alike “Snake eyes…88 teeth…NEON NOODLE!” The fight between Mighty and the barbarian was the BEST!

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Eric C. said...

Clampett and the guys were totally amazing. I somewhat think that cartoons and puppets are better actors than humans are. Humans tend to be limited and borring while cartoon expressions are more easier to read.

John, how did Bob direct his shorts. Did he simply give the animator or layout artist drawings and the written story then act it out for them and say "Now go to work" or was it more complex?

_Eric ;)

PCUnfunny said...

Porky Pig's studdering and Daffy Duck's lisp were done best in Clampett toons,they were actually played for humor as well as animated far better. The best example of Porky studdering was in Kitty Korned, Porky struggled get his words out and one scene actaully ended with him still trying to finish a sentence !

Max Ward said...

I've also noticed that Clampett's cartoons are sort of childish, or the characters acted that way. What do you think of the color in this scene, John?

jessicaLynn said...

This is a great post topic. This is probably one of my all time favorite Daffy scenes. I love the layout, and the flowers are so pretty!! Great animation too!!!
Thanks for sharing

Kali Fontecchio said...

The comic Daffy's reading says OW!

The shot with the eye is great- and you totally understand the feeling being expressesd. He's so excited to read it yet oh my, what's happening...ahhh! Ahhh! AHHHHH!

queefy said...

The first time I seen this cartoon I got a chubby. Its that good.

Max Ward said...

I just saw the "Classico" video, and I love it. Catchy tune, too. I wish I could see a Hi-Res video of it though.

the plummer said...

this is probably one of my favorites, especially with daffy. nothing, NOTHING happens in this scene except for daffy acting and reacting to that comic. cartoons today (the bad ones) try and pump every scene full of action. it's such a dissapointing contrast.

Marlo Meekins said...

haha this is one of my favorite cartoons ever. i love the silly bad guy characters paintings the best.

Desiree said...

I agree with Russel:
really nice color!

Heh, yeah i did the same with comics, I always got the disney comics (not much variety in germany) which i think were written and drawn in italy as far as I could gather. I liked it because every artist drew the Disney crew differently, some really angular some really curved with extreme thick and thin etc etc. Ill scan em next time i go home!! And sometimes the books would come with special ink that made the color really smooth and allowed blending! and sometimes my mom wouldve bought one for me for when i got home from school.
It was thursdays.

I absolutely love the voice acting in RnS. i guess thats another reason why I hate Shrek, Its just blablabla...
When I first lived on my own I went slightly bonkers, would lie in bed at 5 am quoting all the lines between Ren and Stimpy. I especially loved Space Madness. "we DOnnnt KNowwww.. MAAAAAAYbe somethinggood? MAAAAAHYBEE somethingbaaad? But we'll never knoWW, because YOuuououUOUOr going toguardit! My friends got really aggetated! LOL

Shitbitch said...

Hey, I can't play the video! It's merely a picture that doesn't do anything when I click on it!

Anyways, speaking of comic books, have you ever read the "Shadow Man" series?

Anthony Arojojoye said...

Hey, I can't play the video! It's merely a picture that doesn't do anything when I click on it!

Anyways, speaking of comic books, have you ever read the "Shadow Man" series?the "Shadow Man" series?

Anonymous said...

man! i make the same exprssions when i read my FF back issues. John, i thought i was the only one who ogled betty & veronica. i'm glad i'm not alone. this is one of my favorite daffy cartoons. i love the crazy dick tracy-esque villians in this one.

Anonymous said...

From Hasdrubal (

When most people write about Kirby, they write about his talents to convey action, lay out pages, express characters in motion, glowing energy effects, compicated machines, strong simple facial expressions, and exaggerated heroic musculature. Most writers don't talk about his sense of color. His color designs went absolutely wild after he went to DC in the early 70's. Jack's Mister Miracle character makes me wonder if changes in his color palette were related to physical mid-life changes which artists often have. John, do you find your tastes in colors to be changing with age?

I've read Jack had a theory on color, that it should irritate the eye a little to attract the comics customer's attention. Can such an idea work on an animated project as it did in comics?

Taco Jack said...

So John,

Betty or Veronica?

JohnK said...


Anonymous said...

Those comics you mentioned- the Ditko Spider-Man and the Kirby Fantastic Four, the Avengers and whatnot- those were supreme examples of pop culture functioning at a high level of pure joy-providing. There's not an aspect of those stories that isn't pleasing... unless it's the shitty printing quality and poor paper, but even those provide charm by making the enjoyment of them an ephemeral experience.

There are some nicely drawn comics out there today, like those by Los Bros Hernandez, but mainstream comics are so darkly colored and murky, substituting this idea that depressing, anti-social storylines somehow make them more "mature." Actually, it's the opposite- the older comics, like the classic cartoons, can be enjoyed by people of all different ages, for different reasons.

The comic industry is always harping whenever their latest marketing stunt gets some mainstream media interest on how today's comics are so much better written and drawn than in the past, about how they're appealing to adults and not meant just for children anymore.

And yet, sales are lower now than at just about any other time in the industry's history. Today's Batman can be enjoyed by only very depressed 14-year-old boys, or those with the mentality of very depressed 14-year-old boys.

Whereas here in Japan, practically everybody reads comics. Businessmen unabashedly read them on the trains, high school girls gush about their favorites to me in my classes, even the staff at my old job here used to keep a huge stack of them in their breakroom.

Where's that joy in the US? People ought to be acting like Daffy Duck when the new books come out!

Gabriel said...

call me crazy, but i don't remind the colors being that saturated in that cartoon...

-jabajaw- said...

I wanna see a John k version of EVERYTHING!From video games to toys,cartoons to comics, and all thats in between!But back to the blog topic, I agree that there are many "cool" characters that lack character.i was watching the fox an dthe hound dvd and ollie johnson said that no matter how good your machanics of animation and drawings and designs are, they are meaningless if they dont have character.If you cant tell what the character is thining, then you wont be able to impress him.Or me!

Tim Rice said...

You do a fascinating blog.

Anonymous said...

I can never understand what characters are saying half the time in newer cartoons, they talk so fast and say so much. Most of Adult Swim is like this.

I usually have to turn on the closed captioning, but most of the time I just give up and turn off the TV. I guess it's supposed to be funny, if you're wired on crack or something.

The Butcher said...

Scantily Clad Girls= Best thing ever.

Daffy Duck (Clampett's not Jone's)= Second best thing ever.

And really? Betty? I always thought Veropnica was sexier. Betty is wholesome girl you take home to momma. Veronica is a vixen.

I've yet to meet an ugly girl named Veronica.

The Butcher said...

"Classico's on the youtube, children!"

Link please.

Rod Scribner Project said...

Hi Everybody!

There's more of this scene at the rod scribner project blog at

Ok so it's still not great yet, but y'know, we're working on it.

adam H said...

Long-time reader of your blog & you've gotten me excited about clampett stuff more and more. These stills are absolutely beautiful, & I MUST retrieve some collection of Clampett works. I'm assuming your examples came from your personal collection, so where would one be able to locate a DVD or VHS of Clampett's stuff?

Anonymous said...

John, I love your posts on color theories. Especially when you show examples of the good stuff, and the crap. I have a question. Are there any random Disney movies, or other big blockbuster-type cartoons that actually made you turn your head and say "nice colors" "interesting drawing" or even "thats a weird expression"? Basically my question is are there any unexpected achievments in the sea of crappy cartoons?


akira said...

just noticed the D put a link to a youtube of Classico, but it's pretty poor res... hopefully they'll put up a higher quality version so people can see more of its beauty

Anonymous said...

There isn't any anime that compare to the Daffy Duck clip, apart from perhaps early studio Ghibili anime (not saying Daffy Duck is a favourite of mine, just that anime has the same wind of warmth). I think you'll find the Japanese are a very tough competative race. They like to think they are making up for their defeat since WWII, so its only understandable if alot of anime appears slightly 'cold cut.'

I apologise if I'm ranting off topic btw; but the one of the things that Japan can be commended on, is it's ability to create origional hybrids (cartoons, movies, comics, etc) while still preserving it's cultural heritage. You try to cross-create an animation in the west using foreign influecnces from other cultures, and you end up with the same sort of post-digimon crap that airs on Saturday mornings now.

The industry seems to have lost alot of it's values since the days loonie tunes animations cam e out of the pipeline. There isn't alot of individuality about today, or much origionality in the approach to making decent toons.

mike f. said...

I think it's the greatest cartoon ever made!

Everything works in this one. All the elements you cited - and it has my all-time favorite background painting, too. (The grisly one with the bullet-riddled corpses in front of the closet.)

"Agg-oh-NEE! AGG-OH-NEEE!!"
(I can personally relate to this scene, because that's how I used to read "Li'l Abner" as a kid!)

Comics really aren't worth getting excited over anymore. Certainly not newspaper comics.
Can you imagine any kid in the world getting himself this worked up over "Dilbert" or "Foxtrot"?

elephantmarchblog said...

Yep, a lot of energy in his stuff. This and the scene of Bugs writhing in the tortoise and the hair sequel are probably the best examples of Clampetts nail-biting adrenaline he pushes into his acting.

For once I agree with John; betty.

I never got what made the mean girl hotter....

Eric C. said...

I want to see John K work with Matt Groening. Now that's mind blowing. ;)


Shawn said...

>>Comics really aren't worth getting excited over anymore. Certainly not newspaper comics.
Can you imagine any kid in the world getting himself this worked up over "Dilbert" or "Foxtrot"? <<

Get some catalogues from companies who sell reprints of old comics. That's what I do, and I'm still like Daffy pacing back and forth waiting for the mail.

BTW, This is one of my favorite Daffy Duck scenes! I love the way Scribner drew eyes!!!

Anonymous said...

maybe john k work with people who wrote for the simpsons during seasons 4-8 Matt groening isnt really a creative force anymore

allamort said...

god, i still remember this cartoon, even though i probably haven't seen it in ten years! i used to have nightmares about neon noodle and rubberhead all of the time..."i'm gonna rurrrrururbubrurub you out, see?" classic!

Shitbitch said...

"maybe john k work with people who wrote for the simpsons during seasons 4-8 Matt groening isnt really a creative force anymore"

No, better yet, seasons 3-5. The Simpsons has fallen off since after that.

Danne8a said...

This is by far my favorite Clampett cartoon.
This is by far my FAVORITE cartoon!
We need another Scribner!
This scene and a lot of the Phone dialogue are great examples of Scribners genius.
The Expressions and contortions of Daffy's body every time an accent is hit is shear brilliance.
Pure eye candy!

Jorge Garrido said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
JohnK said...

Jesus Christ, Jorge

jessicaLynn said...

One thing that stood out to me with these stills is Daffy Ducks tail feathers and head feathers. His bum feathers mimic his head feathers. It creates an amazing overwhelming feeling of emotion. Especially in the "I Love that man" picture! Look at that angle from right to left!!! SO energized and stiff.
hehehehhe there you go John!!

JohnK said...

Wow, Jess!

I never noticed that! It just goes to show you how warm those old American animators were!

Boy, 60 years after Rod animated a butt acting finally someone noticed!

You should win some kind of award for observation.

Jesse Oliver said...

Hi John

Clampett is the only man I know who could do a scean where a character comes out of a crouded closet by having all his body parts come out. That was PURE GUENIUS! Anyone eles would have turned that down and said "thats too wierd!".

One thing I learned from that cartoon is to not be afraid of doing wierd and imposible things that other people would never think of doing in there cartoons.


Anonymous said...

Speaking of old comics, "Dial B for Blog" is ending next week. Check out the archives, there are some amazingly informative and funny posts by a guy who loves old comics. And a few new ones, but not so much.
Also, that is a great catch on the Daffy butt. I'll never see it the same again, and now I wanna go rewatch em all to look to see if it's done elsewhere.

Trevour said...

That's a great observation on his butt feathers, Jessica (by the way I love your stuff)!

The thing I like most about this era of Daffy drawings by Scribner the way his bill is drawn to further exemplify his emotions! His bill becomes an expressive extension of the face.

A real duck's bill is a solid form, incapable of squishing and bending in any which way. But Daffy's bill acts like elastic lips - see how his cheeks puff when he giggles, the lower lip curls when he yells, and how it *stiffens up* with the rest of his body when he looks afraid. ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!

And I can't stop laughing at that first still pic - the angle of his bill there looks like a string bean! And he looks so happy!

Nate_Birch said...

Nobody can draw a duck-bill like Scribner!

Jordan said...

Hey John I thought you didn't like the DVD Looney Tunes collections and that it was better to buy the VHS versions? Why advertise it here?


Marlo Meekins said...

hey jess, the butt acting is great! thanks for pointing that out!!!! heeeeee

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

This and Coal Black are my two favorite cartoons. My admiration for the the people who made them is boundless!

Russell H said...

"One thing that stood out to me with these stills is Daffy Ducks tail feathers and head feathers. His bum feathers mimic his head feathers. It creates an amazing overwhelming feeling of emotion. Especially in the "I Love that man" picture! Look at that angle from right to left!!! SO energized and stiff."

Not only that--notice that the wedge-shaped crack in the bottom of the fence is the same shape as the feathers on Daffy's head and butt when he gets excited or scared. And notice how that crack in the fence is either framed by Daffy's head and butt, or else the pointy feathers on head or butt are right next to the crack, which makes them stand out even more--yet another example of Scribner's using the background to enhance the extreme character poses.

One further note: watch the clip, and see how Daffy's feet and butt stay almost entirely in the same place. All that action is with his upper body, head and arms, and it manages to completely fill the scene with energy.

Anonymous said...

boy do i have long way to go

Anonymous said...

-jabajaw- said...

I wanna see a John k version of EVERYTHING!

I think what he really means is that he wishes everything was actually imbued with personality and creativity and authentic love for one's work. I think ven I might get sick of things if everything were John K production. I'd rather have a thousand directors withtheir own voices working on John's level thana 100 movies made by one person.

I think in years to come this blog is going to be cited as turning point in history. "Chapter 2: When everyone stopped making crap"

Anonymous said...

HAZAAA to bum acting!!

( i should really read all the comments before I post)

I think the bum is a very expressive point int he body even in less specific instances than Daffy's tail feathers. It's the other end of the torso. It completes the line of action through the body. (Of course the line of action usually continues through to the legs. In this scene tho. It is the end because his legs are bent.) It's a counter-balance to the head. Therefore when your head movies you but must move. When you bend over, doesn't yous ass stick out? The motion would be completely unnatural otherwise, like a crane being lowered.

By animating the butt you enliven the whole figure!

Kevin W. Martinez said...


on pretty much every other Clampett-themed post you've done, you have lambasted the Golden Collections for their DVNR, supposedly cranked-up colors and their preference of Tweety and Pepe Le Pew over the Clampett films, yet here, you not only post a bunch of screenshots of the restored Great Piggy Bank Robbery, but offer a plug for one of the Golden Collection DVD's.

What's with the sudden change of heart?

JohnK said...

Because it's almost the only way you can still see these cartoons.

I can't make them fix the cartoons.

Kevin W. Martinez said...

The Great Piggy Bank Robbery (as well as Kitty Kornered, the Big Snooze, Baby Bottleneck, A Corny Concerto, Book Revue, and all the other Clampetts on Volume 2) has been released numerous times on VHS and Laserdisc (as a matter of fact, The Great Piggy Bank Robbery was released on 4 different VHS tapes and 4 different Laserdiscs). Since you've plugged VHS tapes insead of the DVD's in the past (such as for What's Cookin', Doc?), seeing you plug the DVD's on your blog is unexpected.

JohnK said...

if you can find the video tapes and have VCR that can still frame one frame at a time, then I recommend it highly.

Marc Deckter said...

Kevin W. Martinez said... seeing you plug the DVD's on your blog is unexpected.

Hi Kevin - that's because I wrote the plug.

I made the screengrabs in this post from the DVD's, so I decided to plug the set.

Like John says, if you can find the VHS tapes - even better!

K. Hammond said...

Duck Twacy is my most favorite cartoon ever! The expressions, the artwork, the jokes and even the colors is wonderful. Bob clampett is truly a great one.

My parents let me look at any comic I want except anything too violent or fresh, of course, but that doesn't mean I don't. My oldest cousin works at a book store up in Brooklyn and he sends me comics all the time. That is how I was introduced to R. Crumb's comics which lead me to watch his documentary and fall in love with his art. I look up to many artists in hopes to be a comic artist one day.