Monday, 28 January 2013

Cat-Tails Background

“Cat-Tails For Two” is the first Speedy Gonzales cartoon, evidently thought of by director Bob McKimson as a one-shot character, like the crow in “Corn Plastered” (1951). Speedy was rescued a few years later by Friz Freleng, redesigned by Hawley Pratt and sent on his Merrie Melodies way to the podium at the Oscars. That assured Speedy of his continued appearances in cartoons, eventually to be bastardised into a ridiculous and boring series with Daffy Duck in the mid-‘60s. The less said about those cartoons, the better.

The short opens with a pan over a dockside background, painted by Dick Thomas from Bob Givens’ layout.

“Cat-Tails For Two” was the final cartoon released by Warners for the 1952-53 season (August 29, 1953). If you’re curious about the origin of the name Speedy Gonzales, feel free to check out this book on the web. The term was known on the Great White Way; Walter Winchell reported in his column of December 2, 1952 that “Paul Hartman was In and Out of ‘Two’s Company’ so fast the Lindians are calling him ‘Speedy Gonzales.’”

Thanks to Matt Hunter for some memory-jogging background for this post.


  1. The 1952-53 season was really the end of an era for the meticulously detailed background work and character layouts in Warners' cartoons. Starting about a third of the way through the '53-54 season, you can really watch the UPA influence come into play for all three units (Jones willingly working with Maurice Noble, Freleng ham-handedly for the first year or so of his output, and McKimson's team basically hanging on the longest to remnants of the more realistic designs).

  2. I wonder if that was McKimson's doing or Bob Givens'. Givens has said he liked the UPA style.