Thursday, 17 January 2013

Wartime Bull

“The Chow Hound” (1944) is an unusual Snafu cartoon because Snafu isn’t punished or learns from a mistake. In fact, no one does (unless any beef cattle saw the cartoon and learned they shouldn’t go to the slaughterhouse). Nonetheless, it provided a message for the audience of soldiers watching it in World War Two—don’t pig out because rations are valuable (and to people in the mess tent to not over-serve soldiers).

According to the Snafu DVD release, this short was directed by Frank Tashlin and, for him, it’s pretty tame. No outrageous camera angles or cinematic effects that one comes to expect from him (the reason is explained in the comments). There’s terrific animation of a struggling camel (played by Mel Blanc) in one scene. And there are some attractive drawings at the start where a steer gets a look at a cow and falls in love. Here are five consecutive drawings on twos.

Yeah, the take last only two frames. It’s followed with kind of a throbbing-eye effect, where the eyes bulge and unbulge for two frames apiece. You can imagine what Tex Avery or Bob Clampett would do with the same scene.

There’s a cut to what the steer was looking at. The cow coquettishly blinks. A very nice drawing.

You’ll notice the cow has an udder. I understand udders were banned from theatrical cartoons by the Hays office which, of course, had no jurisdiction over military cartoons.

I couldn’t tell you who animated on this but someone in the comment section can. Frank Graham provides the voice of the bull narrator.


  1. I never thought this cartoon was produced by the Frank Tashlin unit. Friz Freleng's unit did the animation (Manny Perez, Gerry Chiniquy, Virgil Ross, Jack Bradbury) and the staging looks like Friz's as well. It's possible that Tashlin had done some work on it early on, possibly story work, but I'm certain he didn't finish it.

  2. I just watched this entry on YouTube, Yowp - this Snafu short was done by Friz Freleng and his crew - I recognize Gerry Chiniquy's & Virgil Ross's animation anywhere.

  3. Mike, Bart, I'm quite prepared to take your word for it. I can't tell the animators all that well but I'd expect a Tashlin cartoon to be laid out differently than this.
    I don't know why the DVD says it's Tashlin.

  4. You say that Snafu doesn't get punished in this one, but you're mistaken.I'm fairly certain that when the bull (or maybe it's his ghost)sees Snafu hoarding food and then wasting it; he head-butts Snafu into the middle of next week.

    The Thunderbean DVD finally gives us this cartoon complete. Most other versions that I've seen have bad splices that obliterate some scenes.