Andrea/Duck Dodgers here. I friendly welcome every fan of animation at my blog. The goal is to support the love and rediscovery of Classic Theatrical Cartoons from the Golden Age of Animation, keeping meanwhile an eye on Golden Age "Funny Animals" Comics as well as on modern animated productions! Every SUPPRESSED ethnic caricature to be sometimes presented here is just for HISTORICAL and EDUCATIONAL purpose and NOT to offend anyone. Stay Tooned and Enjoy the place !

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Sour Puss

Ladies and gentlemen, here's a cartoon usually regarded as the worst thing that Bob Clampett has ever done at Warners. So often I've seen the opinion that "The Sour Puss" represents a real nadir, a big stinky blot in an almost faultless filmography of a great director. I've also seen it mentioned on various lists of the worst classic cartoons of all time... and I wonder why? What's the matter with you, people?!?

Maybe I'm crazy, but I love this cartoon, and I'm going to dedicate next 90 screenshots to it, whether you like it or not. Maybe some of the naysayers will change their mind in the end.
To be honest, "The Sour Puss" isn't on the level of Clampett's best 30s b&w cartoons, or his later color masterpieces: the gags are not particularly great or memorable, the story structure is sloppy, and the ending isn't too hot either. However, it IS a funny and enjoyable cartoon that has so much to offer. I'm going to list some of its numerous virtues:

Atmospheric use of black & white. Many scenes in Porky's apartment have wonderful noir-ish quality.

Shameless exhibitionism. I wonder how this cartoon passed the Hays code :)
Is this the most bare-butted classic cartoon ever (not counting Disney's "Water Babies")?

Funny drawings and expressions. This cartoon is filled with them.

An enjoyable, funny and goofy spirit permeates every frame of this cartoon. If there is a cartoon that succeeds purely on spirit, this is the one!

A terrific suicide scene!

Hysterical, explosive characters who can barely contain their emotions - that's one of Clampett's trade marks. His characters are not ashamed to express the most extreme joy and happiness. The cat in this cartoon is hilarious!

Big silly grins on the faces of the characters (and the audience who watches them). This is an enjoyable element present in so many early Clampett's cartoons.

Even before Rod Scribner, there were wonderful, distorted and highly original drawings in Clampett's cartoons. This cartoon, like nearly all of Clampett's black & white Looney Tunes was animated by his first unit. None of the strongest Warner animators worked with Clampett at that time (no Scribner, McKimson or Gould), yet the animation quality here is top notch.

An extremely obnoxious heckler that somehow manages to be very funny.

Another moment of indecent exposure from Porky. According to some legends, Ernest Hemingway was often fishing without his pants, so why can't Porky do the same.

"Look fellas, I'm a yo-yo!"

This is an excellent scene that reminds me of Jim Tyer's animation. Does anybody know who's the animator responsible for this? The animation credits on early Warner cartoons are often misleading. I've included many frames from this brief scene, for all of you aspiring animators to study it.

"Pussycats is da cwaziest peoples!". Lew Lehr caricature at the end. Many people criticized this as a cop-out ending, but I like it.

T-t-t-that's all folks!

Somebody should try a drinking game with this cartoon. Every time the word "pussy" is mentioned, drink a glass of your favorite alcoholic beverage (or lemon juice for you kids below the legal drinking age).

Cheers from Hammerson (who was not drunk when he wrote this post)

Labels: , ,


Blogger Kasey said...

I used to really hate this one. But after re-watching it, I've grown to love it. I agree, the cat is a real laugh-getter.

1:29 pm

Blogger John Young said...

this is one of my favorites. i had no idea people hated this one, i find that extremely puzzling. there are so many funny drawings in there it's almost ridiculous. It makes me feel alone in the universe 'cuz this is one of those cartoons i show my my non-cartoon friends so they can see why i like cartoons so much. lame, lame, lame.

6:38 am

Blogger Hammerson said...

>> there are so many funny drawings in there it's almost ridiculous <<

Yes! In fact, when I went through this cartoon couple of days ago, I extracted about 200 screenshots with funny or interesting drawings. It was really hard to narrow the selection later to only 90 screenshots. This is really nice cartoon for study, because of the excellent artwork and animation. And it's funny!

12:12 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the first half of the cartoon -- the cartoon deserves respect if for no other reason than the "Now I've seen everything" suicide gag debuts here -- but the second half comes across as something Ben Hardaway would have done if Cal Dalton designed wilder poses for the animators.

Clampett was obvously feeling constrained by 1940 at having to use Porky in every cartoon, and one of the ways to liven things up was -- as Hardaway did in "Porky's Hare Hunt" -- take the Avery-Clampett Daffy Duck model and stick it into a different body. So here we get the original Daffy in a fish suit, and in "Paitent Porky" we get the original Daffy in a cat costume. There are some good gags in both cartoons, but neither of Porky's antagonists are Daffy Duck, which takes away from both shorts.

2:24 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where can we find this short? Is it pretty hard to find, or is it in a boxset?

5:43 pm

Blogger Larry T said...

Andrea, all that animation you asked about is from John Carey.

He seemed to predate Rod Scribner in many ways- and Rod took this style the next step further into the bizarre and energetic.

5:52 pm

Blogger Hammerson said...

>> Where can we find this short? Is it pretty hard to find, or is it in a boxset? <<

It's included in the Looney Tunes Golden Collection vol.4

12:11 pm

Blogger Hammerson said...

>> Andrea, all that animation you asked about is from John Carey.

Thanks for the info! I've noticed lot of Scribner-like scenes in Clampett's b&w cartoons, but didn't know who was responsible for them (I previously thought it might have been I.Ellis)

Do you know any more details about John Carey? Did he ever worked on Clampett's color cartoons? He was in McKimson's unit and worked there during the late 40s and early 50s, but I can't recall his name in any credits between 1943 and 1948.

And it's Hammerson here. Andrea went to the vacation last week, and won't be back until mid-September. See the previous post for more details :)

12:23 pm

Blogger Hammerson said...

>> "Now I've seen everything" suicide gag debuts here <<

I didn't know that. Thanks! I recently wondered what could be the first appearance of that gag.

12:27 pm


Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer Posts | Older Posts | Home
Free Web Counter
hit Counter