Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Mother Hubba-Hubba Hubbard (1947)
Here are the screenshots from "Mother Hubba-Hubba Hubbard", a Columbia/Screen Gems cartoon released on 5/29/1947.
Columbia had perhaps the most turbulent history amongst all the cartoon distributors and studios of the classic era, with numerous changes of management and some dramatic shifts in style and quality. With majority of its '30s and '40s output virtually unseen for decades, it remains one of the more obscure and unknown studios. If you're interested in a detailed chronicle and history of Columbia cartoons, take a look at the excellent The Columbia Crow's Nest web site.
The most lauded, and sadly very brief-lived period in Columbia/Screen Gems history has been 1941-42, with great Frank Tashlin working as a producer, storyman and director. Some excellent and innovative cartoons have been made during that time. However, by the mid-'40s, Columbia/Screen Gems was languishing, with The Fox and The Crow series being the only one rising highly above the mediocrity of studio's production. One last serious attempt to revitalize the studio came in 1946. with the arrival of Warner/Schlesinger associates Ray Katz and Henry Binder as the studio managers. They lured some well known people from Warner Bros, among them writers Cal Howard and Dave Monahan, and... a cetain fellow named Bob Clampett! With Clampett as studio's creative director, there were great chances for a real revolution, similar to what Tashlin did five years before. It didn't happen though, and studio closed the doors by the end of 1946. The final result were some solid Warner-influenced cartoons that received the theatrical distribution in the following two years, after studio's demise.
Very little is known about Clampett's involvement, and by all accounts, he worked mostly as a storyman (two cartoons usually credited to him are "Boston Beanie" and "Up'n'Atom"). "Mother Hubba-Hubba Hubbard" clearly shows some of the Clampett influence, and it might have been at least partially written by him. This fast-paced cartoon filled with crazy and absurd gags seems at the moment like some strange hybrid of Avery's "Who Killed Who", and Clampett's own "The Great Piggy Bank Robbery". And while it's not as good as those two towering masterpieces, "Mother Hubba-Hubba Hubbard" is neverthenless one of the better and most enjoyable Columbia cartoons of the '40s.
Director of this cartoon is Bob Wickersham, a veteran of Disney, Iwerks and Fleischer studios. Wickersham directed more than 30 cartoons at Columbia, among them the majority of Fox and Crow titles. Does anybody knows any biographical details about this very good and talented director?