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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Two Crows From Tacos

This post is dedicated to two forgotten characters in Looney Tunes history: Jose and Manuel, the two Mexicali Crows. They were made as part of WB's funny Mexican cannon and made around the same time as another Mexican who overshadows them, Speedy Gonzales. While Speedy is quick and smart, these two are the polar opposite, happily being lazy and very, very stupid.

Jose is the short, fat one and is always quick to say that he's the "bre-ains" of the two. Manuel is the skinny one and possibly, the dumber of the two. They first appeared in Two Crows From Tacos, an underrated 1956 gem by Friz Freling and perhaps one of the most controversial cartoons he ever made.

The biggest controversy over this one are the sterotypes portrayed here. Even though the stereotypes are horrific, the art, slapstick, and dialogue are what make it work. Art Davis, I believe, animated a huge bulk of this short and Virgil Ross (seemingly) animates the scene where Jose and Manuel beat up the cactus for having their "grlass-hopp-er". There's also a very unique ending to this cartoon. Instead of an iris out, we get to see a beautiful Mexican sunset as they sing their favorite song, offbeat but happily, with the immortal words, "That's all, folks!" written over the background.

The two crows reappeared in a 1959 Speedy Gonzales cartoon called Mexicali Shmoes (this time as cats), where they try to catch Speedy the same way they tried to catch their grasshopper as crows. With the same result, of course! It's probably my favorite cartoon the two crows were in. It was also nominated for the 1959 Academy Awards for Best Animated Subject and introduced Speedy's cousin, Slowpoke.

Their final appearance together was in the 1962 short, Crow's Feat, again directed by Freling. They're back as crows and manage to be outwitted by, of all people, Elmer Fudd! (they mistake him as a"scares-crow")

Hey, Jose! A ticking corn!

1 comment:

Pokey said...

The uncredited voice characterizations are by Tom Holland. He was one of those unsung dialectitcians. You know, I haven't seen a lot of protest over this as over similiar Warner Bros.cartoons from the time involving Mexicans and other Latin are folk, not to mention those from other studios.The That's all Folks and other usual legends appear on the last scene..without Bugs, Daffy, or the other usual characters who Friz and Chcuk, particuarly, and eventually Bob, turned into one dimensional personality characters, this is definitely better..[I saw this on Nickelodeon in the 90s which is where I know about this.]

Steve Carras
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