Friday, June 30, 2006

What's Cookin' Doc? - Bugs at table

This is a nice example of very subtle acting and strong personailty of Bugs Bunny from a Bob Clampett cartoon.
It's Bob McKimson again.
Oh and here is a nice letter from Milton Grey, an animator, cartoon historian and....timing director on the Simpsons! This guy has his finger in every cartoon pie, so listen to his ass!

"Hi John, Thanks for your e-mail. I gather from it that you have seen my two articles on Bob Clampett (actually, one about Coal Black) that Mike Barrier posted a couple weeks or so ago on his website.
I've gotten quite a few compliments from people for the commentary I did for Gruesome Twosome on the Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume 3 DVD set. They said they liked the way I described Clampett's working methods, which led to the unique results he achieved in his cartoons.
I'm surprised how many times I keep hearing, even recently, from people complaining that the later Clampett interviews that Mike Barrier and I recorded have never been published. I guess people don't know that I made all those interviews available in 1999 on the Beany and Cecil DVD under the heading of The Bob Clampett Oral History. I wish more people would listen to that, because what Bob actually says is so different from what people think Bob says, people who have only heard Chuck Jones' lies about Bob.
You are so absolutely correct about Bob's cartoons being ignored by critics, simply because his cartoons are so much more difficult to describe in words than other cartoons (like Jones's) that just follow formulas that have already been described in words. In that regard, I saw a great quote in the March 13, 2005 edition of the Los Angeles Times Book Review, by Richard Schickel. I will paraphrase the quote slightly here for clarity, since I'm quoting this statement out of context:
"Filmmakers are at least sometimes trying to make movies whose meanings are carried primarily through imagery. Films of this sort are often harshly criticized for their inarticulateness. That's because movie reviewers are essentially literary people, condemned to summarize in written language a medium that often produces its greatest effect through purely visual means. The critics naturally love snappy dialog -- in short supply lately -- and complex, novelistic narrative structures. Also, I can tell you, it is easier to quote a few good lines than it is to describe the effect of a subtly orchestrated sequence of images."
Myself, at the risk of sounding like a flake, I spend very little time on the internet, due to an awfully busy work schedule, and I never visit chat rooms because so much of those (I've heard) are just the drivel of very uninformed people. But recently Mike Barrier urged me to read the proceedings of a chat room because a lot of it was about one of my Clampett articles on Mike's website. This "thread" went on for sixteen pages, and it is guaranteed to make your blood boil, as it is basically a rant by about a dozen dedicated Clampett bashers, accusing Bob of, among other things, allegedly taking credit for things that I have never heard Bob trying to take credit for. (And along with Clampett, you and I were also mentioned frequently as over-zealous Clampett disciples.) The chat room, if you want to sit through it, is at


Maybe sometime soon you and Eddie and I, and maybe a few other people, should get together and collect all of our articles on Bob's work, and brainstorm some new things to try to describe Bob's work -- and how Bob really advanced the art of cartoon animation far beyond anyone else in his day -- so that no one of us has to feel singled out as a zealous disciple. I hope Eddie has already told you, but recently I printed, in a small private publication called Apatoons, the transcript I typed up for Mike Barrier of the comments made the day in July 1979 that you, Eddie, Rick Farmaloe, Bob Clampett and I got together for the purpose of trying to put into words what makes Bob's cartoons so unique. Even today it is a fascinating read, and I'll give you a copy if Eddie hasn't already. But I really agree with you about the value and importance of continuing something like that, because if we don't do it, probably nobody else will -- just because it is too difficult for most people, even most cartoon fans, to articulate.
Wow, it's getting late, so I have to go. But let's talk some more about these things, and see what we can do.
By the way, I have a sketchbook of my recent drawings at the printers right now, which should be printed in about another week, and I'd like to give you a copy. I don't have your mailing address, but I can give a copy to Eddie to give to you. Also, at some point, I'd like to introduce to you a really sincere fan of yours, who is the guy who directed and produced the cartoon "The Ghost of Stephen Foster".

Anyway, I gotta go.
Your pal,Milt"