Thursday, May 24, 2007

Foghorn Leghorn - McKimson's realistic world view

Disney aimed his cartoons at Moms, but thank God someone thought of Dads too. That was Bob McKimson.

Mckimson had a funny worldview.

To him, all men are assholes. They are all dumpy, middle aged, loudmouthed schnooks and they all take advantage of each other.

He treated all his characters that way, Bugs Daffy, Elmer, it doesn't matter. Everyone is a sarcastic reality-bitten bully-even Porky Pig!

I find that hilarious because it's so true.

"Walky Talky Hawky" (1946)

Bob Clampett told me all about McKimson. He referred to him as his top animator. He said he was a timid little British guy - mild mannered and soft spoken, very conservative. The opposite of his characters!

That instantly explained his worldview to me. To a mild mannered little British guy, American cartoonists (at least the WB ones) must have seemed like the brashest, vulgarest, most boorish loud mouthed louts on the planet.

Being of a practical nature, when he got his chance to make cartoons, he gave the audience what he thought they wanted - characters who were just like how his cohorts appeared to him. His idea of what a Warner Bros. cartoon was a lot of yelling, brute punishment and slapstick. Some historians fault him for that, but I can tell you that his view was right.

Most guys love Foghorn Leghorn because he represents what we all want to be. Foghorn is a typical Dad type character. A guy who wants to be in charge and uses force when possible and guile when necessary to get his way.

My Dad used to laugh his ass off at "that big chicken". Pepe Le Pew did nothing for him.

By the way, look at the great drawings and poses!

McKimson used difficult angles and perspective more than the other directors.

His sense of scale and hugeness is amazing too!


The McKimson commandments
Thou Shalt covet thy rival asshole’s women
Thou shalt covet thy rival’s property
Thou shalt smack thy neighbor’s buttocks
Thou shalt trade punishment for greater punishment
Shove and thy neighbor as thou might be shoved
Thou shalt play vulgar practical jokes
Thou shalt make the rules that only thee don’t have to obey
Thou shall not ever speak the truth
Thou shalt take advantage of the stupidity of others
Thou shalt sneer and disdain thy fellow assholes

McKimson might have been a miquetoast sort of guy himself, but he had good enough business sense to make cartoons for regular folks. He knew his duty and dood it.

Coming up: UPA - when Milquetoasts rebel!
See what happens when pantywaists rebel against the public and make cartoons for other pantywaists...