Friday, 25 May 2012

Riff Raffy Daffy

Bring up the directorial abilities of Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, Bob Clampett and especially Bob McKimson and you’ll get any number of opinions about their work. But when it comes to another director, there seems to be universal agreement. It was a damned shame that Art Davis’ unit got shut down.

Davis made some great cartoons. And against all odds. By all reports, he was not a confident director and was the victim of backstabbing studio politics. He got saddled with a lot of one-shots and was allowed only a solitary, token cartoon with the studio’s star character (Bugs Bunny). He was given a pair of rookie writers. The studio was too cheap to process his cartoons in Technicolor. Yet his unit succeeded, especially when Daffy Duck or Porky Pig were on the screen. His writers (Bill Scott and Lloyd Turner) proved their worth not too many years later elsewhere and he had solid animators (led by Emery Hawkins).

An underrated gem is ‘Riff Raffy Daffy’ (1948), where our vagrant hero ensconces himself in Lacy’s Department Store window and won’t budge, despite the efforts of cop Porky Pig. A great scene is a pantomime of Daffy and Porky arguing on each side of the store window (which Daffy uses a glass cutter to create a door). I like how the cartoon uses multiples to move characters. Is this Don Williams’ work?

Williams, Hawkins, Basil Davidovich and Bill Melendez are the credited animators and Phil De Guard drew the backgrounds.


  1. The first still is definitely Don Williams, not sure about the second still. Mark Kausler

  2. Great frame grabs from a brilliant cartoon.

  3. For good or bad (your mileage may vary), we also get an early example of money-hungry Daffy in this cartoon, when he sells Porky the gun to shoot him with.

    The Davis-Scott-Turner cartoons retain a lot of the Clampett unit's energy, but also at times go spinning off in a different direction than the other three units in terms of the story's point of view. When you see them, there's no question whose cartoons they are (in contrast, the four Art Davis-Dave Monahan cartoons feel more like the other units' efforts, mainly a hybrid of the Freleng and McKimson units' cartoons of the same period).

  4. As one of Athur Davis's biggest fans, I have to applaud you for this page, and it';s one oif the best uses of Daffy []and J.Lee is right on, uh, you should pardon the punny expression..the money here on some of the greed aspect being used as well as the various other facts]. Daffy seems to be used like Jack benny's various "stooges" to Porky's Jack before Daffy and ELm er Fudd themselves would fill that role. The end ois similiar to "Duck soup to Nuts', what with the "sob story about kids"
    . "One Meat Brawl" with Porky and the barnyard beagle from the Foghorn shorts had that sob story, but no fake children, and not at the end. "I was only trying to find a home.....for my little ones." Two elevator gags. The song used in that window scene Yowp mentions is "Every Little Movement", also used in "Ain't That Ducky", 1945. Finally, this is one of a few Cinecolor post-19489 Warners shorts not to have a Technicolor restoration like "Dough Ray Me-Ow","Holiday for Drumsticks", and "Odor of the Day", (despite their having original open titles,too) dark blue c.1958 ring ending, as the 1`948 Looney Tunes graphjic is closed with is used. And finally, it fades out at the end. Nice scene of the cuckoo expelling Porky from his clock with Porky being given a piggy cloxe up.Steve C.