Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Happy Nude Year from Elmer Fudd

Bugs Bunny pulls the phoney New Year’s bit on Elmer Fudd in “The Wabbit Who Came to Supper” (1942) in a funny scene animated by Dick Bickenbach. Here he is about to get away when Elmer realises he’s been had.

The oddest thing in the cartoon isn’t the gag. It’s Elmer’s house. He has a women’s powder room, a pink bottle of “Sissy Stuff Petunia” in the bathroom and female nude portraits on the wall. Here are a couple.

And, for some reason, he has kind of a topographical map on another wall.

The cartoon was directed by Friz Freleng and anyone familiar with his unit knows that Paul Julian spent a number of years as his background painter. But Graham Webb’s Animated Film Encyclopedia says the backgrounds were done by Lenard Kester from layouts by Owen Fitzgerald. Julian left Jones’ unit in February 1941 but apparently didn’t join the Freleng unit right away. In 1942, he was creating murals for public buildings under a WPA programme.

Kester was born in New York City on May 10, 1917, grew up near the East River, studied at Cooper Union, then got a job at the Fleischer Studio in New York and went with it to Miami. In 1939, he took a vacation to Los Angeles and decided to stay. The Film Daily Year Book of 1941 lists him as an art director at Schlesinger’s (along with Johnny Johnsen and John McGrew). He then worked for Walt Disney, but I have no information about when he changed studios. So it could very well be Kester’s work on this cartoon.

1 comment:

  1. Alberto Bettacini has it on his website that 'Meatless flyday' was one of the last cartoons Kester painted for Friz.

    Oh, and Happy new year!