Thursday, 17 May 2012


“Dumb-Hounded” was the first cartoon featuring Tex Avery’s Droopy and it has some nice muted backgrounds by Johnny Johnsen. Here’s one of his cityscapes; I’ve matched the colours the best I can in this reconstruction.

The shot cuts from a pan of the street to the drawing below. The door is on a cel.

And what would an MGM cartoon be without animals running at an angle past the camera in perspective?

Irv Spence, Preston Blair, Ray Abrams and Ed Love animated Droopy, who is a lot rubberier than he was in later cartoons, and lethargy is used to set up gags by Rich Hogan.

There’s a model sheet for this cartoon dated March 1942. The short was released almost 12 months later.


  1. I never have been sure if the muted effect was deliberate, or just a result of a bad older MGM print. We may have to wait for Wanrers to finally release that Complete Tex Avery set to find out (and I'm surprised that given MGM's higher budgets and early 40s ethos of mirroring Disney, they didn't allow Johnson to keep working in oils as he had done with his amazing 1940-41 backgrounds at Warner Brothers).

    The early Avery cartoons at Metro are also almost at war with themselves over what Tex was trying to bring over from Warners and the pesudo-Disney conventions of the MGM studio in general and of the Hugh Harmon unit he was now running. The scene with the dogs was one of many in the early cartoons where Avery seems to have felt obligated to let the animators do their thing -- which I suppose is similar to what Michael Barrier said Tex did with Bob McKimson when he moved over to his unit. But it's to far less positive effect on the comedy aspects of the cartoons, once you get past Preston Blair's 'Red' animation. Like Harmon's work, the dog pile of dogs is impressive animation, but not really funny (Friz's goofier dog pile a decade later in "Foxy by Proxy" isn't as well-animated, but it's much funnier).

  2. I'm pretty sure the muted colours are deliberate, much like at Warners or Bob Gentle's work on Tom and Jerry. They were that way to make the characters read better.

  3. Deliberate or not, I like them!

    It's like watching Looney Tunes on DVD, I'm really glad we have the remastered color versions but sometimes finding a saturated sepia-tone copy of a cartoon on youtube or somewhere, gives it a nice texture.

  4. apt title for a cartoon where multiple Droopies seem to appear [though Droop has a validated cartoon licence to do so, and to tortue that wolf again in 1946-47's "Northwest Hounded polkice" with it.]Steve