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, January 06, 2008

Little Red Walking Hood

"Little Red Walking Hood" (11/6/1937) is Tex Avery's first fairy tale spoof, and it sets the tone and pace for the similar cartoons that Avery will make at WB in the following few years ("Cinderella meets fella", "The Bear's Tale"). What sets this particular cartoon apart from the rest is the fact that nearly all the backgrounds have been drawn with colored pencils. This technique resulted with a very unique storybook look, quite unlike any other Hollywood cartoon of that time. Backgrounds were designed by Johnny Johnsen (sometimes credited as John Didrik Johnsen), Avery's favorite background artist, and his frequent collaborator at WB and MGM studio.

Another particular highlight of this cartoon is the animation by Irv Spence. Many of the other Avery's cartoons from the late 1937-39 period featured an indifferent and not too interesting animation (in comparison to his wonderfully inventive gags and ideas). This cartoon is one of exceptions. Spence is now mostly known as one of the principal animators on Tom & Jerry (he was responsible for some of the funniest and best animation of the famous cat & mouse duo), but the earlier parts of his career were spent at Iwerks, WB (Avery's unit in 1937) and Charles Mintz (Columbia) studios. Spence loved this particular cartoon so much, that he saved all of his original drawings. Because of that, it's easy to identify which scenes were animated by him, and I included the large number of consecutive frames from some of these scenes.

Few curiosities about this cartoon:
  • This is the second appearance of Egghead, a character that debuted several months earlier, in "Egghead Rides Again". In this cartoon, he's almost some kind of precursor to Droopy.
  • Wolf was voiced by storyman Tedd Pierce.
  • Little Red Walking Hood is imitating Katherine Hepburn, both with the voice, and the typical body mannerisms.

    Here are the screenshots taken from the new restored print that appeared on Looney Tunes Golden Collection vol.5.

    Six years later, Avery will have another take at Red Riding Hood story. Only, this time, things are going to be quite different...
    From "Little Red Walking Hood" (1937)

    to "Red Hot Riding Hood" (1943) (something new has been added)

    Wolf and Grandma also went through the drastic change of their image:

    The result: one of the greatest and most legendary short cartoons ever... but that's another story.

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    Blogger J Lee said...

    Irv Spence's animation of the wolf really is what makes "Little Red Walking Hood" a success. Tex in "The Sneezing Weasel" and Clampett in "Porky's Hero Agency" had already ventured into the area of the purely comic villain -- who unlike past cartoon bad guys was far more funny than menacing -- but this was the first cartoon where the supposed villain was animated as a source of comedy throughout the entire cartoon, with funny actions and looks, and with not an iota of actual menace. It would be the blueprint for Warner's future bad guys like Elmer, Yosemite Sam, Wile E. Coyote and Sylvester.

    2:53 pm

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Irv Spence was a great animator - his career really flourished when he left Schlesinger's and went cross town to MGM. I agree with J Lee - his work on this short really makes it work for me!

    10:53 pm

    Blogger John A said...

    Red Riding Hood is immitaing Bette Davis, not Kate Hepburn.

    12:06 am

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Happy New Year, to you and your cohorts.

    I wish you the best of luck for 2008, and keep on blogging (although the same can't be said to me, due to that my account is not posting my posts, and I have been focusing on my goal to be the best I can be, in the field of animation.)

    Later, and have a good one.

    From an inspiring cartoonist/ artist

    5:15 am

    Blogger Duck Dodgers said...

    John a,
    everythime you see a cartoon female character say "really..." that's an imitation of Hepburn.

    9:28 am

    Blogger Thad said...

    Love the animation in this cartoon! Spence pwns all.

    4:00 am

    Blogger Eshniner Forest said...

    This cartoon looks dang good!!

    4:50 pm

    Blogger Hammerson said...

    J.Lee: thanks for the comment! I never thought of this before... quite fascinating.

    John A.: Red Riding Hood looks like young Bette Davis, but she speaks like Hepburn... reeealy she does :)

    Bruce: thank you, and I wish you all the best for 2008. It's pity that you stopped with blogging, especially after such a terrific start. Hope to hear more of you soon, and good luck with your adventures in animation.

    Thad: Yes! His animation truly stands out from all the rest in this cartoon.

    New post coming soon... Monday or Tuesday, I promise :)

    7:26 pm

    Blogger Larry Levine said...

    "everytime you see a cartoon female character say "really..." that's an imitation of Hepburn"

    Well, actually 1930's RKO era Hepburn before smoking deepened her voice to how most people remember it.

    Great cartoon!

    9:40 pm

    Blogger Martin Juneau said...

    Great post Andrea! I liked this cartoon with this unique background.

    1:00 pm

    Blogger WIL fan said...

    John A said:
    Red Riding Hood is immitaing Bette Davis, not Kate Hepburn.

    2:28 pm

    Blogger WIL fan said...

    Elvia Allman is doing her Kate Hepburn voice as Red here. She pops up in a bunch of Avery cartoons of the era, like 'I Only Have Eyes for You' and 'I Wanna Be a Sailor.'

    Is this the only Warners cartoon with backgrounds coloured this way?

    2:37 pm

    Blogger Duck Dodgers said...

    Wil fan,
    As far as I know this is the only cartoon EVER made by any Studio to use sych backgrounds.

    9:45 pm

    Blogger Just Me said...

    I love the backgrounds in Little Red Walking Hood. The coloured pencils really makes it stand out as something unique. Was this technique use a lot, as this is the only cartoon I have seen that seems to have used this technique?

    2:37 am

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Little Red Walking Hood's voiceover sound alot like Katharine Hepburn! Hepburn is the godmother of Sam Robards (Robards is the second cousin of H. Neal Glanville, a newspaper columnist.)

    6:22 pm


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