Sunday, September 19, 2010

Papa Yogi: George Nicholas

Limited animation done right
Here's a good Yogi cartoon animated by George Nicholas and laid out by Walter Clinton.

The drawings and animation are cartoony and stylish at the same time. It show hows when you don't force (good) artists to trace model sheets you can get unique and funny cartoons - even when they only cost $3,000 for 6 minutes.

One thing I love about the earliest HB cartoons is that there are so many combinations of layout artist, animator and background painter. None of them are forced to a strict standardized look and the constant random mix of artists makes all the cartoons look different. Accidental experiments. This shaking up of the creative elements from cartoon to cartoon really works when you are using good artists- and especially when they came from different classic studios. George Nicholas was from Disney, Walt Clinton from MGM's Tex Avery cartoons and it's fun to see the mix. I'm not sure where BG painter Joe Montell came from, but his style is different than Lozzi and Monte's so that's neat too. I wish I could see Dan Gordon's storyboard drawings. I have xeroxes of a few of his HB board panels and they are really fun and lively. I'm sure he influenced the final look of Papa Yogi as well.

I think the people who hate HB might be thinking of the more standardized bland looking cartoons that came so shortly after this. There are a lot more of those than the few good ones that makes me like them.

Papa Yogi is a 2nd season cartoon- 1959-60, the year after the Huckleberry Hound Show came out. This season's cartoons are somewhat slicker than the first season. They actually have some animation in them. The first season used a lot of popping from still pose to still pose - like colored animatics. The year after this for some odd reason, everything fell apart in the HB kid cartoons. Yogi looks like hell all of a sudden. Maybe because they put their best people on The Flintstones, I'm not sure. Maybe the Yowp blog will explain it to us one day.

Yowp is celebrating the great June Foray's birthday this week.