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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Of Mice and Magic

A Famous Studio cartoon from Paramount directed by Izzy Sparber, one of three chief directors there. I love the musical score for these cartoons, particularly this one. Mae Questal appears as Louise as she sings a grand rendition of "Personality".

Another thing: it's not every day that you can say that there was a more violent cat and mouse team than the infamous Tom and Jerry. Everyone, meet Herman and Katnip. These cartoons are played out like a T&J cartoon, only there are far more brutal jokes like one where Herman brushes Katnip's teeth with a metal file, or pounding Katnips head so hard with a mallet that it actually leaves an imprint. Aside from that, Katnip's little strut when he thinks he catches Herman is hilarious.

On top of that, the voice acting is pretty stellar. Mae Questal relives her moments as Betty Boop and Sid Raymond is always a riot. Arnold Stang also appears in this cartoon and does a good job. I personally like his Top Cat voice better, though. Oh well. :)

I wish I could present this in a higher quality than what I have, but these are incredibly hard to find.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Acorny Squirrel

Winter aproacheth, and poor Benny forgets to forage food for the winter. Thankfully, he finds a whole stash of acorns wedged in an elm tree. The catch is that they're guarded by a mean-spirited acorn woodpecker.

Seriously, I need to rename this one. Suggestions?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Cousin Tex

A Pixie-Dixie cartoon and the first one I believe. This series reminds me of watching a Tom & Jerry cartoon. After all, the last cartoon of that series was released the same year this was made. Coincidence? Pixie and Dixie are cute but don't have much to offer. Mr. Jinks on the other hand, wow! Jinks was the real star of these cartoons. He's such a wonderful character and even has a distinctive voice. Creating such a character with limited animation is really hard to do, but Hanna, Barbera, and Daws Butler really pull it off. It's because of Jinks that makes this series my favorite H-B cartoons outside of Yogi Bear and Quick Draw.

Well, even if the story in this one isn't too far off from a T&J cartoon like "Pecos Pest", it's still very enjoyable. I liked Cousin Tex (after all, he is better than Cousin Batty. Ask Yowp about that one.) The branding iron joke was my personal favorite and the ending was pretty unexpected. Carlos Vinci and Mike Lah animate this cartoon. Kudos to H-B for this little gem.

Lone-Star Cousin

A scene from a Ralph cartoon called, "Lone-Star Cousin"

Here, Ralph's cousin from Texas comes to visit him after hearing about his troubles with the house cat, Lionel. Tex manages to subdue Lionel after the cat grabs and almost kicks him out of the house. He then manages to rope and hogtie him in less than 10 seconds. Tex then goes out and grabs a branding iron, telling his cousin that Texas mice brand cats they subdue. Before he attempts this task, he politely asks the cat, "Would you like on the left side or the right?"

The glorious return of Ralph!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Nowhere Bear

Another classic H-B cartoon. Ed Love's designs and expressions on Ranger Smith are worth watching. H-B must have let each animator have a distinctive style, kind of like the classic Warner Bros cartoons.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

El Kabong Meets El Kazing

This is kind of odd for me, considering that I usually discuss theatrical cartoons with full animation, but I'd like to talk about the early Hanna-Barbera cartoons.

I've really began to appreciate this era of animation a lot. Even if the animation is extremely limited, the designs of the characters were still very pleasant to look at and the staging of these cartoons was simple, but easier to understand. Now, I don't know much about these early H-B shorts, but thankfully my blogger friend Yowp does. The link to his blog is somewhere on the side of mine. Visit it! It's worth it!

Anyway, I've really begun to love Quick Draw McGraw in particular. Everything aout this guy is just so damn funny. His actions, motifs, and most importantly, his voice. Daws Butler does a wonderful job portraying Quick Draw and Baba Looey. I know he based a lot of these characters on TV and movie stars of the 50's, like Yogi Bear was Art Carney and Mr. Jinks was a mix of Crazy Guggenheim and Marlon Brando. I'm not sure where Quick Draw's comes from. Maybe it's original?

I really get a kick out of the El Kabong cartoons. Thanks to the writing by Mike Maltese with George Nichol's animation, this has become my personal favorite Q-D cartoon. And, as a bonus, the prototype Snagglepuss in in this one! The Burt Lehr voice is still there, but he's orange and more of a wise-ass villian than a patsy ham and sort of a hero. The part where Snaggle hyphen puss demostrates his "Kazinger" always gets me! Even Baba Looey gets into the act at the end, as El Kapowey. "champion of champions, I theen"!

Orange Snagglepuss from, "The Lyin Lion" (1960)

Long story short, this cartoon just rocks! I'll probably post more posts dedicated to these shorts, so keep a look out by visiting regularly. Again, for more information about the early H-B cartoons, visit Yowp's blog (the link's on the right.)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Bedeviled Rabbit

My father's favorite cartoon as well as being one of my favorites simply because of the Tasmanian devil. This is part of why I like McKimson's cartoons so much. He was really able to appeal to grown men in particular thanks to his classic sense of humor. There's a lot more violence and adult jokes in McKimson's work than any other director at Warner's. (In fact, look at when Taz is tossing up a salad. There's dead squirrels coming out of it!)

Taz himself is vaguely different from a lot of other cartoon characters at the time because of his persona. He's a vicious, nasty brute with some hilarious vocals from the great Mel Blanc. I wonder if anyone really laughed out loud while Mel was recording. I guess I'll never know. I know Jack Warner in particular really loved the little slob.

Artistically speaking, I really enjoy the backgrounds to this cartoon. The colors feel really natural even if they're mostly green. At least they're not in some garish neon-green color. I got to admit, Rick Thomas did a good job with the forest's look.

Well, enjoy this one. It's even better when you watch it with your friends. :D