Eatin' On The Cuff
Well, it's been a long pause, but here we go again :)
I apologize for the lack of updates during last two weeks. As you all know, the Looney Tunes Golden Collection vol.5 is out, and this event must be celebrated with a series of posts. One of the cartoons contained in this DVD set is Bob Clampett's relatively obscure, but brilliant Eatin' On The Cuff (or The Moth Who Came To Dinner).
It's a funny variation of "the moth and the flame" story: a moth who's just about to be married to a bee, is tempted by a "sexy" black widow spider disguised as Veronica Lake. This cartoon has an admirable mix of cuteness and aggression that was very much Clampett's trade mark during the late 30s and early 40s. The animation is extraordinary - remember, this is one of the earliest cartoons that Clampett made with the former Tex Avery's unit, and the main animators were: Rod Scribner (who did some of his wildest and most uninhibited scenes here), Bob McKimson and Virgil Ross (the only officially credited animator). The characters were designed by Gene Hazelton, a superb artist who worked at Clampett's unit in 1942 (and later spent many years at MGM, working both for Tex Avery and Hanna & Barbera). His most famous work for Clampett was design of all main characters in Coal Black and De Sebben Dwarfs.
This cartoon was released on 8/22/1942, exactly between two popular Clampett classics: Bugs Bunny Gets the Boid and The Hep Cat. It was the last Clampett's black & white cartoon, and the use of this technique is quite extraordinary. It's also one of the rare WB cartoons that extensively used the live-action scenes, and photographed backgrounds. Clampett experimented with photo-backgrounds earlier in Porky's Pooch, and Friz Freleng's masterpiece You Ought To Be in Pictures from 1940 is almost entirely made as a live-action/cartoon combination.
The name of the live-action pianist and narrator (dubbed by Mel Blanc) is Leo White .
Here are few frames from a wonderful walk cycle (done by Bob McKimson?)
Confidentially, she stings!
The lack of color is probably the main reason why "Eatin' On The Cuff" isn't more famous, or more frequently shown on TV. It's in my opinion comparable to Clampett's best color cartoons.