Thursday, October 23, 2008

40S CARTOONS - THE FOGHORN LEGHORN

It's hard to rate the best cartoons ever made in any kind of top 10 or top 20 list, but this should be among them.http://www.cartoonthrills.org/blog/McKimson/47/TheFoghornLeghorn/AlmostHadAJoke.mov


This is the first cartoon that establishes the core Foghorn Leghorn cast and it does it wonderfully and confidently.

In 1947 animators at WB were very confident in their skills. They did much more custom made animation than Disney. They understood the gags and stories better and animated each scene not according to a pre-ordained animation formula, but to the individual scenes. That's why WB cartoons have stood the test of time and are still funny today, while Disney cartoons seem naive and archaic. McKimson's cartoons were especially down to earth and geared toward real people - you know the "Real Americans".
McKimson used strong contrasts and variations in his timing. He didn't rely on Cal Arts timing tricks like they do today.
This scene starts off with Foghorn slowly turning his head to watch Henery walk by. The head remains very solid and convincing as it turns. Hard to do!Then Foghorn stops Henery and begins to act. This cartoon is amazing. It's not only funny, but it instantly establishes 4 characters and their relationships to each other. Every one of them is clearly defined. They each have a distinct personality and a motivation.

Plus, they are all funny characters. This type of cartoon creation is the opposite of how it's done today. Today, many studios start with an "arena". They start with an environment, then try to come up with characters that would live in that environment. The last step is to come up with a standard animation personality to dump onto each character.

McKimson animators listen very closely to the voice track. Mel's characterization is even better than the radio personality they stole it from!

Mel stands alone as not only a fantastic voice talent, but a top-notch actor too. Foghorn's voice is full of variations in timing and emphasis. It's not monotone. The accents stand out and give more meaning to the already funny written dialogue.

The animator in this scene really exaggerates the accents by moving Foghorn far away up in perspective before he comes forward to hit each accent.

Within this bit of dialogue, the animator uses many variations of actions and timings to drive home the personality and meaning of the dialogue. He adds all kinds of funny hand gestures to add even more punch and meaning to the dialogue.

He doesn't use the same timing formula to connect each successive pose, as full animators tend to do today.
McKimson loves these upshots. It helps emphasize how huge his lummoxes are.



This next gag always killed my Dad. Watching my Dad laugh his ass off at it killed me too. You have to watch Foghorn Leghorn with men in the room. It's 10 times funnier that way.

This whole bit is great writing by Warren Foster. "I almost had a gag there, son!" Brilliant!The gags, the direction, the staging are all excellent, but what makes it really work is the exciting and deliberate full animation. Not just that that it's "full", but that it's so in character. Foghorn is a really dynamic character and McKimson's animators really customize his actions to bring him to life. If it was a 40s Disney cartoon, it would be full of timing tricks and stock actions and each character might have one customized bit of business that he does over and over again. (Like Donald's stock temper tantrum, or Tramp leading every action with his ass)

The fact that Henery isn't fazed by Foghorn's huge powerful bluster makes it even funnier.

Foghorn later was toned down (just like most characters) but for a few years he was one of the funniest characters in cartoon history. Everyone on McKimson's team worked together perfectly to create this magical truly animated entertainment.


I'm going to post more clips from it so keep your eye on the ball!

50 comments:

Ryan Martin said...

Yes! This is one of my favorites scenes in all of animation and you've perfectly articulated why.

Larry Levine said...

Bob McKimson showed a glimmer of potential with his early Foggy cartoons. Unfortunately his wooden direction & ugly model designs eventually won out, establishing him as Warner's worst animation director.

Cartoon Crank said...

YES! Agreed completely, a wonderful Pete Burness scene; but the best for me is that Manny Gould scene with Foghorn giving Henery's dad a beating with his potbelly. I think this may be just about the funniest cartoon ever made. Having seen this recently with an audience just further justifies that opinion.

HemlockMan said...

When I was a little kid, McKimson was my favorite of the WB toon directors. Back then, I generally referred to him as "the guy who draws big mouths". To me, those big-mouthed louts were hilarious. They still are.

JohnK said...

Hi Larry

I completely disagree. I think he was maybe the 3rd best after Clampett and Jones. And he was consistently funnier and more entertaining than Freleng and Jones.


By the mid 50s all the cartoons were wooden and stiff. The budgets went down and the directors had all become more conservative.

Con said...

Thanks for these breakdowns of classic cartoons.

What gets me is the fact that Henry Hawk is so small, and yet he isn't "lost" in the background... meanwhile today they have to use shallow focuses just to make the charachters distinct from the background (*cough* Dreamworks) (its a cartoon - why do they need to emulate camera focus?)

I've always loved how fluid Foghorn Leghorn is as a character, especially with that perspective shot he's so huge and he flails and waves about.

trevor said...

I think McKimson is severely underrated, even at one time by me. In fact, he's as underrated as Friz is overrated.

Ya know Larry, he sure beat the pants off of Freleng and Jack King. Plus, even when the cartoons got more stiff in the fifties, often McKimson's cartoons had more movement than your golden boy Chuck, who's cartoons sometimes became limited to eye twitches and holding up signs.

It could be argued that he was a better animator than director, but that animator side of him came out often when pushing for more movement and new ways of doing things.

Some animators like the late Bill Melendez didn't appreciate his style of directing because it was too rooted in animation, forcing more drawings on you than needed.

As for his model designs being ugly, I think the ratio of beautiful to grotesque is calibrated a little differently than you might think. Remember, this guy was a superb draftsman whose style only diminished alongside the slowly vanishing budget; the drawings and characters became simpler only because there wasn't enough money anymore.

But this was part of his talent and I think you should rethink his contribution to the Warner Bros. catalogue.

I hope John does more of these breakdowns of the great McKimson cartoons. Some of my favorite animation is in the cartoon 'Rebel Rabbit'. Talk about great acting, movement and staging, this cartoon has it all!

Thanks for yet another great post, John!

- trevor.

Andrew said...

This is, to me, THE Foghorn episode. It's definitely the most memorable. Any chance, though, you'd elaborate on what you mean by the "timing tricks" you contrast with the varied timing used here?

Mr. Semaj said...

Man, it is so refreshing to hear a positive assessment of Robert McKimson's directorial skills.

A lot of people really hate his character designs, but I think his maverick approach was part of what made his earlier cartoons so funny. In fact, McKimson was making the funniest cartoons during the late 1940's.

McKimson's advantage was, aside from his unusual story choices, that his original team wanted to go crazy with their animation, and did so for a while. All compared to Chuck Jones who said he wouldn't dare take his chances with an artist like Rod Scribner, and Friz Freleng, whose team had long consisted of those who agreed with his emphasis on control. (Virgil Ross was one animator who preferred to work for Freleng instead of Clampett.)

chrisallison said...

Hey John, do you know anybody with timing sheets from Tex Avery cartoons? I should ask Steve next time I get to the archive (after my job ends in 2028).

I wonder if there are any patterns/tricks we could pick up by analyzing his sheets. Or maybe the lack of such. Either way, I'd be interested to see them, and your analysis.

Timing sheets around people who don't actually animate might be fatal tho.

jeremiah said...

this era of warner bros' cartoons are the best all-round cartoons ever made. some newer ones are funnier, but are poorly animated, some are well animated (few!) but have terrible stories.

Warner Bros' in the early 40's had it right. I grew up in the 70s and 80s and even now i dearly miss saturday mornings on ABC. they had at least an hour of these every week. I was always there with the VCR to record them.

When my dad died, I had to go through all his stuff, and I found about 12 six-hour VHS tapes of cartoons exactly as I left them all those years ago. I've yet to watch them; hopefully they haven't degraded too much. With any luck I'll be able to introduce my kids to these shows.

Larry Levine said...

Hi Trevor, I'm watching Looney Tunes long before you & most of the regular posters here were born, there is nothing for me to rethink--McKimson's overall body of work cannot compare to that of Freleng, Clampett, Davis & especially Chuck Jones. Chuck is indeed my golden boy--all 24K of him!!!

McKimson faired best (at least for a few short years) working with his own character, Foggy. Once he added Miss Prissy & Egghead the series tanked with the rest of his cartoons.

The great Bill Melendez was indeed correct about McKimson & went over his issues (and as he noted, the issues with others in the unit) with me. McKimson's early cartoons were entertaining despite him & to the great credit of his crew. The more McKimson surpressed his animators & Warren Foster the weaker his cartoons became and by 1950 the slide was in full motion. Bob's unit were bolting out the door long before the shutdown & NONE returned after the reopening, where Chuck & Friz's units not only remained mostly intact, but stayed with them through the late 1970's/early 1980's.

Regarding Chuck & Friz, a Jones brow wiggle easily outshines McKimson's overblown hyper arm waving/hand gestures. Chuck was a master of timing & never needed to 'mug' for the camera like McKimson. The great Isadore Freleng, as noted in the John's previous post, was on top of his game in the 1940's & made many of the era's best cartoons, his footnote in animation excellence is secure.

On model design, McKimson was without question a great artist--but was a follower & not a leader. He was great following Clampett's vision but had little or no concept on what was funny & designed a stubby/fat/ugly Bugs, a far & pale cry from the classic pose he created for the Clampett unit. McKimson stated how much he hated the Fleischer cartoony style, which IMO was both funny & brilliant.

All this said, it's all a matter of personal preference. But most importantly, we BOTH agree John & Mike Peters are great!!!

mike f. said...

"Eye, ball... EYEBALL! It's a JOKE, son!"

It's amazing to me how cartoonists without a fraction of his talent feel they can dump on McKimson. Suggesting his model designs were "ugly" - when McKimson created some of the greatest model sheets in history for Avery and Clampett, including the classic Bugs Bunny model - is just plain ignorant.

More than any other animator, McKimson came to personify what we've come to know as the Warner Bros. "house style" in character design. The "look" of the classic WB characters is based on McKimson's drawings.

As the director with the least seniority, his unit was routinely raided for talent by Jones and Freleng in the fifties. Nonetheless, his best cartoons will live forever. Thanks for shedding some analysis and appreciation for one of the most underrated directors in history.

Beebo said...

Foghorn is my favorite character of all time. I also have wonderful memories of watching him with my Dad when I was little. He also used to imitate him to make me laugh. I'm glad to see someone appreciates him, he's usually relegated to second or third tier. I still think the funniest thing in the WORLD is when that dog is peacefully sleeping, totally minding his own business, and Foggy saunters up and BEATS THE LIVING CRAP OUT OF HIM WITH A BOARD!

Jeffrey said...

The great thing about Foghorn was the dialog was always hilarious. Comedian Artie Lange always uses this bit in his act to point out why the "younger generation" are a bunch of pansies:
[exasperated:]“Haven’t you ever seen a baseball before? Haven’t you ever played baseball?”
[aside to audience:] “There’s something, I say, there’s something kind of…yeeeeew….about a kid that’s never played baseball.”
Great stuff.

JohnK said...

"Regarding Chuck & Friz, a Jones brow wiggle easily outshines McKimson's overblown hyper arm waving/hand gestures. "

Those brow wiggles are known to drive some animators into an instant rage.

Roberto González said...

I'm not a big fan of McKimson's model designs either but I have also grown to appreciate him a little more than I did.

Of course I much prefer Jones over McKimson as a director and Jones' model designs are much nicer.

I used to like Freleng more than McKimson too. But now I think a lot of Freleng's shorts are a boredom. He has some stellar ones: Slick Hare, You Ought To Be In Pictures, Birds Anonymous, Three Little Bops...but a lot of the Tweety-Sylvester series put me to sleep, which is odd cause I really do like the characters (well, Freleng's Tweety not so much, but he's ok sometimes).

On the other hand McKimson, in the 50s and overall, has probably less shorts I would consider stellar but all of them are more or less entertaining. The animation is generally more vivid than the one in Freleng's short. I also have grown to appreciate his Sylvester Jr. cartoons. Formulaic as they were (especially the ones with Hippety Hopper) most of those have really funny dialogues between Sylvester and his son. Now that I think of it, I really don't dislike McKimson's model design in Sylvester. I have more problems with his version of Bugs. "Hillbilly hare" is hilarious, though (and Bugs doesn't look chubby in that one).

Deniseletter said...

As the other directors mentioned,Mc Kimson is good too!.the 40s expressions were well done exaggerated without creepiness but funny.Some were really beautiful like the post before this.The managing in these cartoons of "who is the chicken" plot is amusing and ingenious and I note it when Fogorn make use of his sense of opportunity to strike the dog when argues the chicken's identity to perplexed Henery.I don't know how they use the timing to capture so well Mel Blanc voice accents or inflexions.

MLP said...

"Those brow wiggles are known to drive some animators into an instant rage."

Some of us ordinary people in the audience think they're kinda irritating, too.

Larry Levine said...

Hi Mike F.
"It's amazing to me how cartoonists without a fraction of his talent feel they can dump on McKimson."

Does that included Bill Melendez (the man Ken Harris once called one of the best animators in the business)?

"More than any other animator, McKimson came to personify what we've come to know as the Warner Bros. "house style" in character design. The"look" of the classic WB characters is based on McKimson's drawings."

McKimson indeed in large part create the classic 1940's WB look, but puzzling did not follow the Clampett designs in his own work. The fact his Bugs became more on model by 1950 indicates to me that McKimson realized 'fat' Bugs wasn't working.

Like I said in my first post, McKimson DID show potential early on, but as Bill Melendez noted to me, Bob was frustratingly unbending to any ideas other than his own and that was his directorial undoing. Doesn't make him a bad guy & doesn't mean he didn't make good cartoons early on (like the one profiled here). It means his style didn't grow with the job & by the 1950 his weaknesses showed.

Hi John,
We agree to disagree on McKimson, but I think you're great :)

Will Finn said...

Thanks for these stills John, I am still waiting for my latest DVD's to show up via snail mail.

When I was very little, Foggy was my least favorite character--i felt like "yeah, he talks a lot and doesn't listen, so what?" After I got a little older and had met a number of people like him, I began to appreciate him more. As an adult, he has become one of my favorites-- a real work of genius and a wonderfully diverse, yet consistent guy. I wish they'd put more of him on DVD.

Larry Levine said...

Re: Jones' brow wiggles, in a sense, is an off-shoot of the 'quite' low key gestures made famous by Jack Benny--getting a big laugh from the least reaction.

Many thought Benny was brilliant, others couldn't understand why he just stood there. Like with Jones & McKimson, it all comes down to personal preference.

JohnK said...

That's the least entertaining part of Benny. He is a very animated character when he is doing character stuff.

When he does the little looking at camera reactions he is saying "what a lame joke the writers wrote".

When Jones does it, he is stealing attention away from his animators and gags, as if he can't let the material stand on its own - he wants all the credit.

That's why there is less and less animation in Jones' cartoons long before the budgets actually shrunk. He wants you to notice how clever his poses are and tells you they are by wiggling his characters' eyebrows at camera. "Look how clever my master is!"


Yeuchhh!

Shawn said...

>>Suggesting his model designs were "ugly" - when McKimson created some of the greatest model sheets in history for Avery and Clampett, including the classic Bugs Bunny model - is just plain ignorant.<<

I don't think McKimson's designs were ugly in his own cartoons either. I LOVE his design of Daffy Duck in cartoons such as "Boobs in the Woods". Daffy was short, had a skinny skull, and a fat red tongue that barely fit into his beak..spraying spit everywhere whenever he spoke. Daffy's gags were hilarious in those cartoons too. In "Daffy Duck Slept Here", Porky is trying to sleep in a hotel room when Daffy comes in, drunk as hell, with an invisible kangaroo named Jaime. In my opinion, that was Daffy at his most obnoxious, and his funniest!

Roberto González said...

John, you do like Jones, don't you?

I know you do, but anytime you compare him to other directors it almost seems as if you hate his stuff.

I don't have a big problem with those brow wiggles thing-y. Jones' Bugs is a little too arrogant sometimes and that makes him a little less likeable, but other than that I see that more like the character being vain rather than Jones' himself being vain. And the character being vain and full of themselves can be funny.

JohnK said...

I like Jones best in the 40s before he started toning down the animation and resorting to flowery curly cues and walky talky cartoons.

Kali Fontecchio said...

I'm not extremely fond of the way the characters look in hi cartoons, but it works for his manly style all the way.

The designs work with the acting and stories. What's that one where the dog convinces Daffy to come as food with Porky Pig?

mike f. said...

[McKimson indeed in large part create the classic 1940's WB look, but puzzling did not follow the Clampett designs in his own work. The fact his Bugs became more on model by 1950 indicates to me that McKimson realized 'fat' Bugs wasn't working...]

I have no idea what you're trying to say; it doesn't even make grammatical sense.

I agree with Ken Harris: Melendez was certainly one of the greatest animators in history. So was a certain animator named Bob McKimson - the one you so magnanimously conceded showed a "glimmer of potential".

BTW, since you asked: the cartoonist with a fraction of McKimson's talent (yet who presumes to dismiss his work with words like "ugly" and "wooden") to whom I was referring was NOT Bill Melendez...

Larry Levine said...

Hi John, I think Jack Benny's pauses & quite moments were the cornerstone & key to his screen character. Look at the famous scene in "To Be or Not to Be" when Robert Stack walks out during Benny's big scene, the expression of his wounded ego demanded nothing of the screenwriters, only of Benny's brilliant timing.

This is how I see 50's Chuck Jones. I personally don't see it as Chuck saying "I'm great", but as a window into the character's take on the situation, a real personality responding rather than Maltese or Pierce needing to create a broad jokey reaction.

On the other hand, I also love Bob Clampett's version of Bugs & Daffy. Clampett knew how to bring out the lovable child-like impishness within them which was different from Chuck's more adult take. Both brilliant.

It's ironic the only later McKimson cartoon I like is "The Mouse That Jack Built", more out of my love of Jack Benny & Co. than the direction of the cartoon. But I do give McKimson much credit for the concept, it was a great idea.

Roberto González said...

I think Jones took a little too much credit and some of his 50s cartoons get a lot more attention than most of the other shorts, but I still believe his 50s stuff has more design and a generally more interesting look, even though some of the stuff in the 40s is also great (Hair Raising Hare comes to mind). I don't really mind the more limited animation here. Why would you mind that here and not in Hanna-Barbera?

I believe you have talked about it earlier, but you said that his cartoons got better in design but worst in the gags and stories in your opinion or something like that? Cause I recall you saying good things about quite late Jones' cartoon like Barbary Coast Bunny or Bugs' Bonnets.

And about the walky-talky thing...well, the dialogues were quite funny. I'm kinda sick of seeing the "pronoun trouble" and all these things getting overanalyzed again and again, but they are still good. It'd be fine to see the other directors getting more attention too, but that doesn't make 50s Jones any less valid. Just my opinion...

Shawn said...

>>What's that one where the dog convinces Daffy to come as food with Porky Pig?<<

Hey Kali! That's "Daffy Duck Hunt" (1949). That one's hilarious!

Caleb said...

I think it's interesting that whoever your favorite animator is, they are usually compared only to other WB artists. I think most of the cartoonists being mentioned here are in a league of their own, and some were better at promoting themselves more than others. When a cartoon is firing on all cylinders (motion, music, acting, color, jokes, story, etc.), it is golden and everything else is just personal preference.

Jones is amazing of course, but sometimes his characters were too designed-looking. Having said that, I wouldn't change a thing. By the way my local museum is having a WB cartoon exhibit in a few weeks, and I'm going to take as many pictures as they'll let me.

Stu said...

I don't hold out much hope for a response since this is off the topic, but whereas you continually mention CalArts' methods in a seemingly dismissive tone, I'm very curious what advice you'd give to a young wannabe who hasn't yet chosen an art school. If CalArts isn't where it's at, where-at is it? At the very least, could you tell me (or post about) what we should look for in an art school - if there's much difference between them? Or do you think one might be better off altogether by just stockpiling paper and pencils and becoming a parents'-basement hermit until they're brilliant? I was keen on CalArts, so if you think it's a rip-off, then I'd really appreciate a tip to find more productive instruction. Thanks, take care.

Larry Levine said...

Mike F, I knew who you were 'aiming' at, I thought it was unfortunate that was the direction you choose rather than state why I could be wrong. John stated his side & I respect his thoughtful opinion.

If you don't want to seperate what I said about McKimson the director from my praise of him as an animator, no sweat. I noted it several times so it's on the record.

No debate on Bill Melendez's talent, which I guess validates his harsh criticisms of McKimson.

The question on hand is: does your opinion of my work disqualify me posting critiques on McKimson's cartoons? Does someone that you say doesn't measure up to the McKimson unit model sheets loose the right to freedom of opinion?

I guess you're right, I would NEVER draw a character like a McKimson directed cartoon, just ain't in me. I'm disqualified.

Interesting enough, someone recently said my work was a cross between Chuck Jones & John, guess I'll have to be content with that opinion.

trevor said...

I sometimes get the feeling that after 1950 Chuck and Friz realized they didn't have to compete with the, as Mark Kausler called them, "high power directors" [sic] anymore.

Chuck, in his book, paints Leon Schlesinger as a buffoon with a lust for money and horseracing, but many people have contended that Leon was responsible for more staples in those cartoons than is realized, and he recognized his strongest assets were Avery and Clampett ( you can't dispute that ).

Now, if I was Chuck, and I had this overbearing boss who I didn't like telling me to be more like someone else I didn't understand, then as soon as the individuals in question jumped ship you'd better believe I'd be doing things my way.

McKimson was an animator at heart who didn't want to be a director at all, but eventually had to take the job ( which was offered three times ). Since he was a student of the Avery class, his early cartoons still had the vim and vinegar of the early works.

I believe that the reason McKimson's cartoons got weaker as time went on was because he wasn't the alpha male that Friz and Chuck were.

But I'm probably wrong. People believe what they want to believe anyway.

- trevor.

The Butcher said...

"Those brow wiggles are known to drive some animators into an instant rage."

They drive me into an instant rage and I'm not an animator. It's just so damn smug. Honestly, if you saw someone make that expression and bob their eyebrows at you, you'd want to punch them in the face.

I know I may get blasted for saying this, but most Friz Frelenge and Chuck Jones do nothing for me. Friz because he's even and conservative, Chuck because his cartoons are masterful, but not funny.

mike f. said...

Fair enough, Larry - but please realize that it wouldn't kill you to show a little more respect for a Golden Age animator, character designer and director who merely worked on some of the greatest cartoons in history.

It's terribly frustrating to read narrow and dismissive comments like your original one. In this case I just chose not to keep silent.

Adam T said...

One could also criticize Jones for changing character models for the worst too. Eyelashes and moist eyeballs with big pupils started appearing on more and more characters as time passed. The spirit of Sniffles the mouse came back.

Mr. Semaj said...

McKimson was an animator at heart who didn't want to be a director at all, but eventually had to take the job ( which was offered three times ). Since he was a student of the Avery class, his early cartoons still had the vim and vinegar of the early works.

I believe that the reason McKimson's cartoons got weaker as time went on was because he wasn't the alpha male that Friz and Chuck were.


I was surprised when I found out that McKimson initially declined the director's chair in 1938, which was then given to Chuck Jones.

Think about how differently life would've been if McKimson DID take an earlier directing offer.

Bob said...

keep your eye on the ball haahah I remember that my dad loves Foghorn Leghorn too he would use to watch it with me when I was kid and he brought his friends over to watch and laugh at it. Guess its a guy thing

Luke Farookhi said...

Though Jones' are probably my favourites, McKimson's cartoons have always been the funniest for me. I think it's the bluster, and Mel Blanc is at his most entertaining, in my opinion, in McKimson's cartoons.

Porky in 'Daffy Duck Hunt' always makes me laugh, simply by saying 'well, c'mon, boy, let's go' in his usual way, and falling behind because of his stuttering when singing 'Jingle Bells' right at the end, to name a couple of examples. And Foghorn Leghorn has always made me laugh more than any other character, in this cartoon and particularly 'A Fractured Leghorn' (when he lets no other character get a say until the end of the cartoon).

The broad and rather grandiose movements of McKimson's characters work with these vocal qualities in much the same way the eyebrow flutter works for Jones' characters.

Elana Pritchard said...

I like the slappieness of McKimson cartoons. Smacking people in the face is funny!

Sven Hoek said...

STU,

On the top-left of John's blog there is a text box next to an orange 'B', start there, type in "Preston Blair" and click on the 'Search Blog' and start practicing what you find in the books 'Animation 1' and 'Animation 2' for hours every day. There are enough links in there to keep you busy for years. You will be more prepared than if you had spent thousands of dollars on, and years in an animation school. There are some very talented people on here to help you judge your progress.

And with the money you save, you can buy all kinds of great spumco products.

trevor said...

Interesting enough, someone recently said my work was a cross between Chuck Jones & John, guess I'll have to be content with that opinion.

That was me.

But in my defense, I think I was high.

- trevor.

WIL said...

"Interesting enough, someone recently said my work was a cross between Chuck Jones & John, guess I'll have to be content with that opinion.

That was me.

But in my defense, I think I was high.

- trevor."

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Stu said...

A bit on-topic this time before I return to my earlier question and respond to Sven:

I really can neither fathom nor empathize with the widespread love of Chuck Jones that holds him higher aloft than Clampett, Avery, or the likes of Fleischer, Iwerks and Lantz. While it's not really prevalent here, you can't catch a TV documentary on animation or read a book about the history of the industry without the academic outsiders going nuts over him.

When I was a little boy, I watched Jones' cartoons about the three goofy dogs over and over, and they were stellar, brilliantly vital - but the majority of his work after that period is so staid (either in pacing or in content) that I can't stand it, if only because of frustration due to knowing he had the talent to be so much better. I'll admit his designs in the Roadrunner cartoons were novel, but by the time he got over to Tom and Jerry at MGM, his direction resulted in scenes so protracted and predictable that it is almost physically agitating to watch for an entire 'toon. Too many static symbols, as others have observed - and even worse, an obvious pride in it. I wonder whatever could explain the man's degeneration? The industry-wide post-"post-war boom" droop, or something more personal?

On the other hand, I also don't understand the harsh words that some people have for McKimson. WB cartoons are, collectively, a big, bright, overflowing ice-cream sundae; McKimson might not be the "chocolate" (Clampett) or "vanilla" (Jones) cornerstone, but he's right there in the mix, with a "flavor" every bit as essential to the all-encompassing diversity that makes WB cartoons so damn fun despite their age. Maybe he would be strawberry or mint, and Freleng would be the broccoli you had to eat all of first.

I've always thought of McKimson's cartoons as the most folksy and bucolic, offering an authentically Southern leisurely and casual violence to contrast against the more abstract, remote, urban or exotic themes of the other directors. Growing up in the South myself, McKimson's galloots, oafs and bumpkins were always comfortingly familiar, and all the more entertaining. Foghorn Leghorn was just like everybody's dad, uncle, or grampa.

SVEN: thanks for the tip. And my apologies to everyone for writing another off-topic post, but I don't see any other way of posting messages to this group of people.

I've got all sorts of books and DVD's about drawing, including the Blair books, for cartoons as well as fine art - and I have to admit, it's hard for me to imagine what could be taught at an art school that one couldn't learn on their own. Nevertheless, because John K. and many of his friends, along with most of the great animators I can find biographical information on, went to art school at some point, I always figured that it was a necessary step in the whole process of achieving a professional level of skill; if it wasn't, why would THEY do it?

But if I'm wrong and it doesn't take college to make a Scribner or McKimson, or Budd or Tytla or Williams, then great, some pro with the skills to be trustworthy need only mutter an affirmation of that fact and I'll sell my car, lock my door, cancel life and do nothing but draw until I'm hireable. I simply don't know if that's the smart way to go, though, as I've really not read of anyone else going exactly that route.

Anyway, thanks again.

Mattieshoe said...

http://toolooney.goldenagecartoons.com/images/ltgc6/comparison/comparison6.jpg

John, we need you in charge of the DVD restoration. this is the worst transfer yet.

miss 3awashi thani said...

speaking of animation timing. are you ever planning to ever go more in depth with that?
your past posts about colors really helped me alot, so i'm hoping you teach us more about animation (like the cal arts timing tricks you talked about? i don't even know what they are in order to avoid them)

PCUnfunny said...

What I found interesting about Bugs in the early McKimson cartoons is that he would often fall for schemes from the protagonist then cleverly escape the situations, like in Easter Yeggs or The Windblown Hare. Also, McKimson never gets enough credit for reviving the Porky and Daffy team up as well as keeping Daffy crazy while Jones and Freleng turned him into a jerk.

PCUnfunny said...

Kali:

That was Daffy Duck Hunt. Mckimson at his best.