Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Hold The Lion, Please (1942) - Chuck Jones, Bobe Cannon

Bobe Cannon is becoming one of my favorite animators. Here's a scene I think is him in an early Chuck Jones cartoon.

It's very soft and subdued, but with careful solid drawings, a little different than the fast loopy stuff he usually does.

I always liked his stuff in Jones' cartoons, but now I'm recognizing more and more of his scenes in 30s Clampett cartoons, and late 40s Avery cartoons and I think I like that stuff even better because those directors seemed to encourage him to be funnier.

In the Jones cartoons, the direction seems to be more restrained as far as funny action goes, but Cannon was completely capable of combining his lyrical loopy style with the very funny actions and accents demanded by Clampett and Avery.

I've always wondered why Cannon left Warners to join Avery at MGM. Simply money? Or did he have a falling out with Jones?

I haven't heard Jones talk much about Cannon, yet I think he is Jones' strongest animator.

Anybody know some history here? Greg Duffle? Jerry? Anyone?
His animation in Avery's Senor Droopy is so full, and exciting and funny. I find it baffling and ironic that a couple years after his best most fully animated funniest period, he completely went the other way and directed stiff pose to pose cartoons for UPA. You can see his transformation on the way to being stiff in Avery's Rural Riding Hood. He animated the buck toothed country girl in a halfway pose to pose style. It's very good, but less fully animated, with lots of holds and a more graphic angular design.

Slow-motion (close-up):

Slow-motion (medium shot):


Franky said...

I love Tedd Pierce's lion voice in this. "Here bunny bunny, HERE RABBIT!"

PCUnfunny said...

Watching Bob Cannon's and Benny Washam's work makes me wonder why Chuck said Ken Harrs was his favorite animator. Harris was good but he animates kind of machanical,Washam and Cannon animated with much more fluidity and there drawings were better.

Anonymous said...

I always loved how the lions skin wrinkled around his joints like he was a big cuddly floppy animal.

Anonymous said...

i've always loved the way the lion's skin moves and stretches in this cartoon. so fluid. it has so much weight and elasticity. i especially like the way his fur gains "motion lines" when he's moving fast.

Craig D said...

Hmmm... What is it about scenes of WB characters talking on the telephone that's so appealing? (Baby Bottleneck, Draftee Daffy, The Great Piggy Bank Robbery and now this!)

Mr. Semaj said...

Funny, they just showed this on Boomerang yesterday.

Anonymous said...

That's Ken Harris' animation. Bobe Cannon did the scene earlier in the cartoon with Leo trying to mimic Bugs, and then Bugs being a smartass flipping out.


Anonymous said...

Nice videos. Going step by step is really revealing. Sometimes just a couple of frames of exaggeration is enough for the mind to get the signal and understand. I've done that with some of my favorite episodes of Animaniacs and it's quite insightful.

JohnK said...


You study Korean animation??

Hryma said...

He's like a really comfy looking soft pillow or doona, ya just want to hug him!

I think some of Animaniacs was animated in New Zealand, don't take my word on it?

Hey John being a Stooges fan what you think of 'The new (old) 3 Stooges' cartoon?
I picked up a DVD copy (Chrissy pres for myself) for $2aus that's like a buck 50 American, bargain!

Anonymous said...

This was one of those funky cartoons I always loved when I was a kid. My sympathies were always with the lion in this one and maybe you've hit on why.

The business where he plays with his beard is really cool. He's a character actor.

For years, I've gone through phases where whenever I have to knock on a door, I say in a scratchy, dopey voice, "It's me, the Lion!"

Anonymous said...

I remember watching this cartoon years ago, back in the good 'ol days of Cartoon Network when all they'd show is old Hanna-Barbara, Warner Brothers, MGM, and those great original shorts from current cartoonists. And sometimes the viewers could choose whether they'd become series. Not anymore. Kids can't choose whether a pilot gets picked up anymore. Now it's just reruns of the same show for three hours straight and the occasional rerun of a direct-to-video movie. I want Boomerang bad.

The sad part is that these kind of cartoons were all I was into years ago, and as I've moved on to other things I feel like I've grown out of touch with them. I still love them, but when I read all the interesting comments about the people and techniques behind them, I feel left behind. Does anyone know what the best place to go is if wanted to get back into researching the classic, Golden Age cartoons?

"Hold The Lion, Please" is one of the most memorable cartoons for me simply because of the lion. His personality is so refreshing compared to other characters of his kind.

Anonymous said...

I've always wondered why Cannon left Warners to join Avery at MGM. Simply money? Or did he have a falling out with Jones?

I remember reading somewhere (maybe Thad posted it originally) that Bobe Cannon wanted to be a director at Warner Bros. but they weren't giving it to him. That's the main reason why he left.

Anonymous said...

Great post, thanks for taking the time to put in the slow motion clips.
This is the type of animation I always figured born animators do naturally with a pencil and paper regardless of drawing ability. (for example someone starting with rubber hose) But schools and studios beat it out of them. I really don't have the time to really reasearch this like others but I always figured, and I could be totally wrong, that the reason these old cartoons had that thing that all great American art had (past tense intentional) was because the animators at the time had gone thru the system from the rubber hose days and developed their drawing and timing etc. together over time. Like a jazz musician of yesteryear may have started with military or drum corps as a kid and developed his creative musicianship slowly as he moved up to better and better bands against today going to University and graduating a creatively dsyfunctional know it all.
This may sound cynical but ya gotta judge a tree by its fruits.