Monday, 9 July 2012

Wacky Blackout Title Drawings

The best gag in Bob Clampett’s wartime spot-gag cartoon “Wacky Blackout” (1942) is in the opening.titles.

In the first shot, a civil defence worker enforcing blackout rules spots a stretching or dancing woman who’s disobeying the blackout.

In the second shot, he’s not enforcing the blackout. Instead, everyone’s checking out the babe, including a curious neighbourhood dog, cat and mouse.

I’ve removed the credits in the second frame so you can see the drawing better.

The stick-figure idea’s pretty cute, too. Virtually the whole cartoon’s pretty weak.

I haven’t any idea who drew the title cards for Clampett’s unit, which he had just taken over from Tex Avery. Sid Sutherland gets the animation credit here, but you can’t miss Rod Scribner. I suspect Bob McKimson and Virgil Ross are here, too.


  1. She's not dancing; she's *undressing*...that's why there's such a big crowd outside her window!

  2. Again, more mysteries that will never be solved.

  3. It's interesting to look back at these old spot gag cartoons to see how uncreative they actually are. Most of the jokes are about dated catch phrases.

  4. Tex Avery's "Field And Scream", IMO, is the single funniest spot gag cartoon I've ever seen.

  5. Warner's was pretty much burned out on the spot gag cartoons by late 1942, and you can kind of see why here. It wasn't just that the gags were getting weaker, it was the concept was no longer new and the improved personality animation had made the cartoons with full story lines so much stronger there was no point in doing the spot gag shorts any more (though they would periodically show up until the end of the 1950s).

  6. I love these type of csrtoons. I'm no older than fifty..maybe the part of the country my family came form (Midwest), maybe I was raied smart enough not to be taken by all the baby boomer culture and thererafter but I love these. No Offense,Zarktok, but I don't know if you are American or not or Middle American or Middle Class, but I like these, though I agree parts othese are weak., But hell, got get a enclyclopedia. Respect our brave COuntry (US AND Canada)!Steve

  7. Joe, it shows you I'm a naive, small-town boy. I don't know anyone who takes off clothes with the hands on the back of their heads. I thought the gender and curiosity attracted the crowd.
    Paul, I love Field and Scream. Avery and Benedict even make a mother-in-law joke funny.
    Steve, Zartok's post has nothing to do with nationalism or whatever else it is you're attempting to propound. He's saying, and quite correctly, a lot of spot gag cartoons are extremely weak. Jones (The Weakly Reporter), Freleng (Rookie Revue), Avery (Farm of Tomorrow) and Clampett (this one) all had duds with that format. It's like they felt obligated to make them and went through the motions. Other studios were even worse. Lantz made that Mother Goose one and Columbia inflicted 'Tangled Travels' on the world.

  8. This was directed by Clampett but isn't funny enough although this cartoon make me feel all cozy at home cus it is black and white