Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Wackiki Writers

It’s a real disappointment that a cartoon featuring cartoon writers Tedd Pierce and Mike Maltese playing themselves isn’t funny. But that describes ‘Wackiki Wabbit.’

Director Chuck Jones and Layout Man John McGrew spend virtually the whole cartoon telling the viewer “Look at us! Look at the angles we made! Look at our camera shots! Look at our design-y background art! Look how we’re not like everyone else!” Very little of any of this is for the sake of advancing the story or for gag purposes. It’s there to show off.

Ken Harris is the credited animator. But we get some smears suggesting Bobe Cannon is at work.

Smeary Tedd Pierce.

Smeary Mike Maltese.

And Smeary Bugs Bunny. The Bugs smears are for the sake of smears. He’s turning his head back and forth for no particular reason other than to give the artist a chance to do smear drawings.

Two weeks before ‘Wackiki Wabbit’ came out in July 1943, Warners released another of Jones’ ultra-design efforts—‘The Aristo Cat’. It’s a far better cartoon because of a stronger story and gags once the mice show up to battle the selfish jerk cat. In this one, Bugs torments (in very few gags) a couple of lacklustre starving castaways (Maltese barely speaks) who, quite logically, want food.

I guess if you’re an artist, you find art in itself entertaining. But if you’re making a comedy film, the concentration had better be on comedy. Jones forgot that in this one.


  1. There are a few decent moments, albeit the best gag isn't animated, it's the translation of Bugs' "Emo Unh" greeting at the bottom of the screen. But it's a really slow and quiet cartoon, as if it's a throwback to two years earlier or one of Chuck's Sniffles shorts.

  2. Yeah, J.L., it's a dialogue gag that Bob Hope (probably among others) used on radio.

  3. Am I the only one who thinks that, in conception, these characters look like Pierce & Maltese (as seen in the lobby card art) but in animation they look much more like Ken Harris and Mel Blanc? (Even as kids, my brother, sisters and I identified the round character as Blanc). Could just be a shared delusion.

  4. Definitely looks like Ken Harris.