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, September 01, 2007

Abou Ben Boogie

Several weeks ago, we had a post about The Barber of Seville, a fantastic Woody Woodpecker cartoon directed by Shamus Culhane. Now, I'm presenting Culhane's other masterpiece, Abou Ben Boogie. This cartoon was for many years considered as some kind of Holy Grail among the fans and collectors of Lantz cartoons, because it was available only in extremely poor quality prints (see examples here and here). Only in the occasional showings on retrospectives and animation festivals, people were able to see this forgotten classic in its full splendor. Now it's finally available on DVD, as a part of Woody Woodpecker and Friends collection (luckilly, it's not too much damaged by the use of DVNR like some other cartoons on this set).

Abou Ben Boogie is a part of Swing Symphony series, inaugurated by Lantz three years earlier with the cartoon called "$21.00 a Day (Once a Month)" (also contained in the Woody DVD set). Swing Symphonies were highly entertaining and sometimes highly politically incorrect cartoons with excellent soundtracks that often included the participation of the famous jazz musicians. Culhane's entries in this series are particularly strong and inspired.

Abou Ben Boogie is clearly influenced by Tex Avery's masterpiece Red Hot Riding Hood, but while there are many parallels, Culhane's cartoon is quite different in tone and execution. The most noticeable difference is in stylized and minimalistic backgrounds and unusual graphic solutions (the white outlines of Abou Ben for example). Pat Matthew's animation of the dancing girl is a remarkable achievement, comparable with Preston Blair's animation of Red in Avery's cartoon.
The other animators who worked on this cartoon beside Pat Matthews are: Grim Natwick, Don Williams, Les Kline, Dick Lundy, La Verne Harding, and Paul J.Smith. For the more info, take a look at Thad's excellent breakdown of scenes and animators.

Enjoy the screenshots...

Isn't this one of the sexiest classic cartoons ever? :)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Culhane uses Avery's sexual reactions, but the design and motion of the characters more closely resembles Chuck Jones, while the camera angles seem to borrow from Frank Tashlin, both of whom Culhane had animated for at Warners (while the graphics and background on this cartoon seem to have been borrowed back by Jones and Maurice Noble for some of their Middle Eastern-themed cartoons of the mid-50s like "Ali Baba Bunny").

3:04 am


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