Wednesday, December 26, 2007

McKimson's gift to Dads - humanity


Y'know, when you read a lot of animation histories or critiques, you find that the animators that get the most points among the critics are the ones who seem to have invented the most stuff, broke ground or bucked the establishment. Skill at entertainment is not high on the list of praise and I think that's an injustice. (just look at what wins animation academy awards)

To me, all art and entertainment should aim at communicating with humanity and speaking truth to human nature. Yes, great innovators are to be admired, but so are great pure entertainers. Entertaining at the top levels requires great talent and skill and love of the audience, and most of the audience is not made up of critics or art historians. It's made up of us people who have real lives and all experience universal emotions and situations.

Kids look for certain things in their entertainment that is different than what the adults need, and certainly different than what the critics need. The general perception of cartoons today is that it's a medium for kids, but it wasn't always that way.

Most grown up men aren't that into what cartoons are all about - fantasy, silliness and wild imagination. They certainly aren't looking for art and imaginative flights of fancy.

After all, they have to be mature and bring home the bacon, shave 4 times a day, raise smart ass kids, worry about rent, taxes, Liberals, stocks and pensions. They are slabs of meat riddled with real life stress.

So what do men find entertaining? The essentials: Fear, pain, stupidity and abuse.

These are all universally funny and that's why the 3 Stooges are the most popular comedians in history and Bob McKimson is the greatest cartoon director for the unwashed capitalist masses.

McKimson delivers the goods and I'll bet he made the most popular WB cartoons after Clampett left the place. Mckimson is the Jules White of the cartoon world.
This is top level fear.

This scene completely says it all:

http://www.cartoonthrills.org/blog/McKimson/UpstandingSitter/FearIntoAbuseclipsmall.mov


Nothing is funnier than a good ass beating with a board...except when it's a beating that's the result of causing a burly male to experience extreme fear.
What else do regular guys need from entertainment?


WHY DONT WE HAVE DISCLAIMERS LIKE THESE?

*** These frame grabs are from a remastered cartoon. The lines have been ridiculously thinned. Note how jagged that makes them. The colors have been "modernized" by taking out all the subtleties and pumping up the primaries and secondaries. It makes the cartoon strobe when you watch it on TV and flattens everything out, but this is all you get to see because we have removed the Film-maker's version from history."

30 comments:

jim said...

"What else do regular guys need for entertainment?"

Darned if I can think of anything else.

Ross Irving said...

I love it when I see someone scared half to death, completely get pissed off and flip out, does something really stupid or starts a fistfight.

Sometimes, I can't help but feel dumb when I laugh at stuff like this.

I try to get these basic feelings in my conceptions for cartoon stories, but I feel as if I can't have a great, clever reason behind a gag like Clampett always seemed to do, it feels generic to me and then I get bored with my ideas.

How would you make basic raw ingredients like these funny?

Has anyone ever had that same dumb feeling I have sometimes?

I've always known cartoons were hard to make, but lately it feels like it's becoming exceedingly difficult!

P.S.- I hope you had an awesome, warm Christmas with your friends today, John.

Weirdo said...

"What else do regular guys need for entertainment?"

They need things that make fun of the politicians that screw them over in taxes, as well as the hippies who also want to take their money. They also need sexy girls to take their mind off of their marital problems.

John, why weren't you on the retrospective of Robert McKimson on The Looney Tunes Golden Collection Vol. 5? You seem to really like and respect his work. Was Michael Barrier jealous of your insights?

PCUnfunny said...

I love it when I see someone scared half to death, completely get pissed off and flip out, does something really stupid or starts a fistfight.

Sometimes, I can't help but feel dumb when I laugh at stuff like this."


That's the solution to your poblem Ross. The funniest thing in life is people acting stupid. You shouldn't feel dumb, it's human nature to laugh at the misfortune of others.

PCUnfunny said...

"What else do regular guys need from entertainment?"

Going to the "Gentlemen's Club". And to include humor, defecating or urinating in the most inappropriate places.

amir avni said...

"Entertaining at the top levels requires great talent and skill and love of the audience, and most of the audience is not made up of critics or art historians"

AMEN

And everyone who over-values critics should always remember-- Roger Ebert wrote "Beyond the Valley of Dolls"

Larry Levine said...

When I watch these restored 'candy color' saturated cartoons I don't know to wear sunglasses or lick the screen for a sugar fix!

Sigh, those old AAP prints of yesteryear, how I miss 'em.

Newie said...

***don't post this but read it***

I HATE Robert Mckimson his cartoons always were UN-FUNNY, if he was good then it's a kind of good that didn't do it for me. Chuck Jones and Fritz Freling were it for me, i can't think of one McKimson cartoon i liked, but much respect to him.
Abbot and Costello were my type of "man humor" . ..Niagara falls...NIAGARA FALLS???.

What do regular guy's want, let meeeee think...hmmmmmmm... (pause)(pause)...let me think some more...hhhhhmmmm...(ding) (what's the pose? finger in air eyes wide open) PUSSY!!! naaaaaaw that's tooooo Japanese it's ahead of it's time, itsjusttoomaaaachh.

What do regular guys want??

regular guys want funny regular guy situations made abusive and stuff like you mentioned, like:
that...guy, on the line (dmv (long line), mcdonalds(hungry) college book line registration (poor))who takes too much time when you,in all your importance is in a hurry, the regular guy wants a character (cartoon) to go up and kick that person ,on line, square in their dusty ass...HARD then run for the hills...along those lines.

Franky said...

I love McKimson. There's nothing funnier than the abuse that Foghorn Leghorn heaps on pretty much anyone he comes in contact with.

Great abusive slapstick never fails to make me laugh.

PCUnfunny said...

"And everyone who over-values critics should always remember-- Roger Ebert wrote "Beyond the Valley of Dolls"

I wouldn't automatically shun cirtics. Sometimes I agree with them, sometimes I don't.

Mr. Semaj said...

What else do regular guys need from entertainment?

Borrowing a page from Al Bundy: luscious hooters. :D

J Lee said...

Borrowing a page from Al Bundy: luscious hooters. :D

The instant girl gag was the best thing about McKimson's "Boston Quackie". So he and Pierce did understand man's other primal need. :)

chrisallison said...

I think it's easier for historians to document innovators because that's pretty objective. When you talk about entertainment quality, that requires taste (and knowledge of what you're looking at). That's why quality entertainers aren't heralded as they should.

I.D.R.C. said...

Like NICO I used to wonder about McKimson's choices in body shapes, especially when you know he knows Clampett's BUGS.

Now I think the reason McKimson's characters are all doughy palookas with fat mugs is because you can beat them real good.

It's too bad there isn't much McKimson on Laserdisc. I don't recall seeing any on TV since the 60's. It's not too easy to see his cartoons outside of those ruined DVD's. Not sure how many there are on there.

I can't stand the tampering on the Looney Tunes sets. It should not feel like pain and abuse just to watch them. Whoever is responsible should be killed. I refuse to give them money. Those DVD's suck balls.

Even though there appears to be screen cutoff, the laserdisc cartoons are much truer to source. --And WHY isn't "true-to-source" what they are striving for? What manner of stupidity explains that?

Maybe Maltin will explain it in his new book, "Of Knobs and Novices".

LÜKEjaywalker said...

That's the solution to your poblem Ross. The funniest thing in life is people acting stupid. You shouldn't feel dumb, it's human nature to laugh at the misfortune of others.


It's also human nature to beat the horse shit out of those who laugh at the misfortunes of others.

PCUnfunny said...

"It's also human nature to beat the horse shit out of those who laugh at the misfortunes of others."

That's why I always have my good friend Mr.Knife with me.

LÜKEjaywalker said...

That's why I always have my good friend Mr.Knife with me.

I think you'd be better off making friends with Mr.Pencil.

PCUnfunny said...

"I think you'd be better off making friends with Mr.Pencil."

But why ? Knifes are sharper.

Kelly Toon said...

(("And everyone who over-values critics should always remember-- Roger Ebert wrote "Beyond the Valley of Dolls"

I wouldn't automatically shun cirtics. Sometimes I agree with them, sometimes I don't.))

Roger Ebert is also the critic who gave Stanley Kubrik's "Full Metal Jacket" two thumbs down, and directly afterwards gave "Benji Comes Home" two thumbs up.

greg said...

Had McKimson been demoted around the same time as Art Davis, would he would be judged today in a better light for his early directorial efforts (the first Leghorn cartoons and some of the weirder late-40s Bugs excursions)? The budget cutbacks hurt him more than Freleng--certainly more than Jones.

Jorge Garrido said...

>>The budget cutbacks hurt him more than Freleng--certainly more than Jones.

That's because Friz had Virgil Ross and Artie Davis and McKimson lost Scribner and the others after '55, this was long after the budget cuts. He also lost Warren Foster.

Martyn Drake said...

Perhaps this is why I have respect for my father when we used to sit down and watch these kind of cartoons when I was little. He found them absolutely hilarious. Having a dad who loved cartoons as much as his son made me proud. Still does.

Larry Levine said...

That's because Friz had Virgil Ross and Artie Davis and McKimson lost Scribner and the others after '55, this was long after the budget cuts. He also lost Warren Foster.

Keep in mind after the studio reopened, Chuck & Friz's units were restored pretty much intact, in the case of McKimson no one wanted to return. He literally had to both direct & animate his first couple of post-shutdown cartoons until he could round up a staff.

During the 50s Chuck's unit was turning out the most winners, and even though Friz was on his downwards slide, he was still considered by management the elite unit & the one winning the Oscars. By this point the McKimson unit was considered 'poverty row' quality wise & he was saddled the weakest animators (soon as one showed promise Friz or Chuck grabbed 'em for their units). McKimson had TOP talent working for him in the beginning, it was his creative inflexiblity that led to his downfall by the early 50s.

I once read a quote by Clampett in which he refered to McKimson as a great animator who never should have became a director.

Josh "Just What the Doctor Ordered" Heisie said...

Yup. McKimson's cartoons seem to entertain my dad the most (even though he has no idea who Bob Mckimson is). Especially Foghorn Leghorn.

PCUnfunny said...

"he was still considered by management the elite unit & the one winning the Oscars"

That's another thing. Some of the poorest out put from Jones and Freleng won oscars.

Larry Levine said...

That's another thing. Some of the poorest out put from Jones and Freleng won oscars.

I agree about Friz, "Knighty Knight Bugs" is a dud, but in the eyes of management Friz was the one bringing home the statues, which Eddie Seltzer would often remind Chuck Jones of. Friz stunk by the 50s but throughout the 40s he made a lot of great cartoons, much better ones than McKimson.

Chuck's only Looney Tunes Oscar was "For Scentimental Reasons" which IMO is a great cartoon & one of the best Pepe's.

Dan DeHaan said...

Speaking of thinned line work...er...i mean remastered line work. I picked up the Tex Avery Droopy collection and was quite disappointed with what they did to some of those toons. They gotta treat these babies like the sistine chapel!!! Computer, comschmooter. They looked like they were traced over by a classroom of 8 year olds....8 year olds with down syndrome in fact!

Robert said...

Roger Ebert is also the critic who gave Stanley Kubrik's "Full Metal Jacket" two thumbs down, and directly afterwards gave "Benji Comes Home" two thumbs up.

If there were really two thumbs involved that means Gene Siskel agreed with him.

C. A. M. Thompson said...

The academy was super dumb when it came to cartoons. It bothers me that people took them seriously. They always gave it to Tom & Jerry or Tweety or Speedy Gonzales. Decent cartoons but most of them are the same and they're boring when compared to other stuff from the same years. I think they just had a lot of people voting who only liked to see cats get abused.

lazy yass said...

John-

I just recently stumbled onto your Blog.
I always was a huge Ren and Stimpy/Spumco fan
After reading ...well...skimming you blog pages,
I got an even more intense respect for you. Now as a human being.

I agree wit 99.99999% of the things you say.
I wouldn't write unless i had a reason to disagree.
So here it is:

I just cant understand OR believe that you think highly of Chuck Jones.
This guy single handedly destroyed more cartoons than my mind can handle.
Incoherent story lines, clunky looking feminine characters, pieces of complete shit.

When I hear that someone is a fan of this “F”ing disaster case, I get the same feeling as when someone praises Neil Young, or classic movies like ‘Citizen Kane’

Neil Youngs voice to me is like listening to someone scratch their nails down a chalk board. HORRIFIC! And Movies like Citizen Kane are absolutely unwatchable.
I have tried to watch some of these amazing classic movies, and I cant keep my eyes open.

I believe these are things people feel they NEED to say to be respected, or sound intellectual. I dont believe for one second anyone really feels it in their hearts.

Chuck Jones has been praised up and down, but so were New Kids on the Block in the 80’s. This guy is the worst of the worst. Especially when he destroyed Tom and Jerry.

If he was on acid at the time, good for him, But I wasn't, and I’m not...So I don't get it.
It isn't funny, it isn't well done, and its totally uncomfortable to watch. Complete torture!

You are the greatest. And you GET IT!

How can you like that mess!

Please, explain. Its killing me.