Monday, 28 November 2011

A Smear Grows in Manhattan

Bugs Bunny gives “Lolly” his life story in ‘A Hare Grows in Manhattan,’ a fine 1947 cartoon by Friz Freleng. The credited animators are Manny Perez, Ken Champin, Gerry Chiniquy and Virgil Ross. It’s Virgil who was responsible for the expressive animation of Bugs in his hole, including a couple of smear drawings.

Bea Benaderet plays the not-too-veiled stand-in for Louella Parsons and co-writer Tedd Pierce supplies his voice for a couple of members of a Brooklyn dog gang.

The cartoon opens with a couple of pans over long backgrounds of somewhat stylised homes in Beverly Hills and ends with this street shot from a layout by Hawley Pratt.

Paul Julian disappeared from the Freleng unit for awhile around this time. Terry Lind and then Phil DeGuard (both late of the Walter Lantz studio) created the background art until Julian returned. It’s DeGuard’s work you see in this cartoon.


  1. It looks like Virgil was under impression of Bob Cannon' style, and he started to work in the same style only when Cannon left the studio. You can see the same style in one of Virgil's scenes in "Hary Splitter".

  2. He did it before Cannon left, too - check out Bugs vs. the Sumo wrestler in "Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips".

    In a way this is sort of like Clampett's "The Old Grey Hare" in that we get an opening framing device to place the cartoon in a different time period, except that Friz is only mildly interested in baby Bugs, while teen-age Bugs pretty much is no different than the full-grown adult version. Still a funny cartoon, though.

  3. There's an animated scene of "A Hare Grows in Manhattan" by Virgil Ross in the Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume 1 set and you can even see Ross's smear that he drew, which even fascinates me.