Monday, 5 March 2012

Wags To Riches Opening

The MGM milking stool must have appeared at the story meeting for ‘Wags to Riches’ (released in 1949). Tex Avery and writers Jack Cosgriff and Rich Hogan milked just about all they could out of the opening sequence, where the estate executor (played by Pat McGeehan) lists all the attributes of the dog that will inherit the estate of his late master.

Naturally, the over-confident Spike is smoking on a cigar while Droopy just sits immobile with his usual sad expression. Spike then acts out the attributes while the executor reads them.





But an eye for beauty.


But one of the boys.

A good scout,

But brave as the Knights of Olde.

Avery varies the animation. The juggling and horse-riding (four drawings) are on ones, the staggering and blackboard-writing are on twos and there are a few static drawings to allow the word-gag to sink in.

Bob Cannon, Walt Clinton and Grant Simmons also have animation credits on this, but another name is buried in the cartoon as an inside gag.

The Will bears the name of Bill Higgins, who was in Avery’s unit at the time; an assistant animator, I suspect. I don’t recall seeing his name credited on any cartoons.

1 comment:

  1. This was Spike's debut cartoon, and Avery and crew apparently wanted to hit the ground running with him via the opening scene in creating a more natural rival for Droopy, as opposed to an adversary, as the wolf was used in the pre-Senior Droopy shorts (Spike could have taken the role of the showboating matador there, and in fact pretty much did handle a similar task as Butch, when Michael Lah reworked the plot for "One Droopy Knight").

    This cartoon was also hard to find for about 20 years, because for some reason when MGM put their post-47 and T&J cartoons into syndication in 1977, they sent out the CinemaScope remake "Millionaire Droopy" to most stations and kept the original on the shelf. It didn't change Spike's actions, and they didn't bleach him white like they did in the remake of "Ventriloquist Cat", but the gags just don't play as well on Don Driscoll's sparser widescreen backgrounds, since you'd expect all those crazy reactions to use the full width of the screen, but they don't.