Friday, 24 February 2012

Tex Avery Lion Roars

Tex Avery’s love of crazy takes may have reached its peak in “Slap Happy Lion,” released in Seotember 1947. It features three of Avery’s typical themes—a role-reversal at the end, the tormented can’t escape his tormenter, and toothy wide-open mouths with jagged tongues expressing fear or horror.

In this cartoon, there are takes everywhere, starting with the lion, then reactions to him, then the lion reacting to the mouse. I didn’t even try counting them at the end because there’s one after another after another that kind of numb your mind after awhile. Too many to post. But what you see below is from the second scene, where Avery comes up with different after-effects for each lion roar (followed by some kind of take and gag by other animals in reaction). The inside-out lion and the lion-as-a-ball go together.

Then the mouse scares the lion. Here are a couple of reaction drawings on ones. The second one is an in-between as the lion raises his head before a cut to a body shot and a scream take.

The animators credited on the cartoon are Bob Bentley, Walt Clinton and Ray Abrams. The character models (the lion’s apparently named ‘Flagada’) were by the great Irv Spence, drawn in July 1945, giving you an idea how long it took the cartoon to be released.

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