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 !

Sunday, July 29, 2007

"Foiling the Fox" - Jim Tyer in action

This is part one of the new weekly series of posts dedicated to the unique and fascinating work of Jim Tyer, perhaps the wildest and most original animator of the golden age. I will post more details about Tyer and his career next week. For now, here's one typical example of his work, just to wet your appetite.

"Foiling the Fox" (1950, Terrytoon) is a rather average, routine cartoon enhanced with several incredible scenes animated by Tyer. The main character, a bird named Dingbat has appeared before in several Terrytoons, most notably Dingbat Land (with Gandy Goose and Sourpuss).
This is Dingbat, folks:

Here are some of my favorite moments from this cartoon:

What follows is one of the coolest cartoon explosions ever! Pay attention to the way Tyer plays with the body parts and proportions of the fox character. Incredible!

And these were examples of relatively sane animation by Tyer's standards. If you want to see Tyer in one of his most radical editions, check these screenshots from Mighty Mouse cartoon "A Cat's Tale", posted on excellent Inspiration Grab-Bag blog:

  • A Cat's Tale (1951)

  • Another great example of Tyer's crazy art on the same blog:

  • Mother Goose's Birthday Party (1950)

  • Jim Tyer was also a highly accomplished comics artist. Don't miss these wonderful examples of his funny animal comics (including a Heckle & Jeckle story), posted at ASIFA Hollywood Animation Archive:

  • Jim Tyer Comic Books
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    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)

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