Tuesday, 15 November 2011

No Barking Swirls

Chuck Jones temporarily split up his unit at the Warner Bros studio some time in 1952 and had his animators work on different cartoons. Dick Thompson and Abe Levitow animated ‘Feline Frame-Up’ (Production 1278), Ben Washam and Lloyd Vaughn drew ‘The Cat’s Bah’ (Production 1285), leaving his remaining animator to handle ‘No Barking’ (Production 1282). All were released in 1954.

Why Jones did it, I haven’t been able to discern. The studio shut down production for six months, but that wasn’t until June 1953. Regardless, Ken Harris came up with a really likeable cartoon. Not bad for a former car mechanic.

Among the many attractive things about it are a couple of bits of animation featuring swirls and multiples, the first time with Frisky Puppy and the second time, toward the end of the cartoon, with Claude Cat and Frisky.

In the last sequence, there are 12 different drawings of heads, eyes and swirls animated on twos before we get back to the drawing you see above.

Like all animators, Harris had an assistant—it was Al Pabian for awhile in the ‘50s, then Willie Ito—but whether the assistant did any work on this, I don’t know.

Harris was born Karol Ross Harris on July 31, 1898, the son of William and Katherine R. Harris. He spent his youth in a little whistlestop called Elliot near Livermore, California, and then in Stockton before moving to Los Angeles. He died in Los Angeles on March 24, 1982 after a fine, well-documented animation career.

As a trivia note, ‘No Barking’ appeared on the bill with MGM’s attempt to cash in on ‘I Love Lucy.’ See the teeny letters at the bottom of this ad for ‘The Long, Long Trailer.’ And another theatre advertised it as a “new Tweety colortoon,” even though Tweety only has a cameo at the end.

1 comment:

  1. Jones' use of Tweety in a cameo in No Barking came on the heels of Friz Freleng's using Jones' Pepe Le Pew character during the ending gag in the Tweety cartoon Dog Pounded which was the studio's first release of 1954.