Friday, 20 April 2012

Well, Curl My Ears!

Bob McKimson’s early Bugs Bunny directoral efforts are really hit-and-miss for me. Some are among the most disappointing Bugs cartoons ever made, either because I don’t buy the story line (“The Grey Hounded Hare”) or they have those Jean Blanchard character designs with the huge muzzles (especially when talking) and teeny-weeny eyes and craniums. Like in “Gorilla My Dreams” (1948).

Mel Blanc’s falsetto female gorilla voice, which sounds like Mel Blanc as Bugs Bunny doing a falsetto female voice, annoys me a bit, too. And so does McKimson’s obsession with having characters burst toward, then away from, the camera to show his animators and assistants were capable of drawing in perspective (though it was probably a hit in theatres). But there are some things that I like in the cartoon so it’s not a total loss (and certainly not on a “Daffy-Speedy” level).

One is this surprise take by Bugs when he sees the female gorilla for the first time. Has any other cartoon have Bugs ears’ curled like this?

The credited animators in this cartoon are Chuck McKimson, Manny Gould and John Carey. If Izzy Ellis and Phil De Lara worked on this, I couldn’t tell you.


  1. I never liked Jean Blachard's designs; and why would McKimson approve those hideous designs when he was like the most appealing Bugs animator for Clampett who drew the best Bugs. It just doesn't make sense to me.

  2. Agreed. McKimson's model for Bugs was great.
    Someone who draws or animates can perhaps explain the logic behind big mouths and teeny eyes.

  3. The McKimson carton designs aren't that bad in his first 18 or so months of cartoons, but once he got his sea legs under him, he seemed to suddenly have the desire to move his characters in non-conventional directions and work from non-conventional angles. Occasionally they worked to the scene's advantage; more often than not, they just served to disorient the viewer momentarily from what was going on (and Gold help the theater-goers of the time if the 3-D fad had come in four years sooner, when Bob was at the height of jamming his huge-muzzled characters' faces towards the camera).

  4. Interestingly, McKimson cast Mel Blanc himself (instead of an actress) for the part of Mrs.Gorilla.