Friday, 31 May 2013

The Twirling Pants of Fear

Last week, we featured an Avery-like eye-bulge take from the Art Davis unit at Warners in “Porky Chops.” Here are some drawings from an even wilder take of the heckling squirrel when he sees and angry bear galloping toward him. Notice how the squirrel’s pants twirl in fear.

Larry Trembley has identified the animator as Bill Melendez, yes, the one who brought you the kind, gentle, almost immobile Peanuts characters on TV. Emery Hawkins, Don Williams and Basil Davidovich were also credited as animators.

This cartoon shows Davis and his writers Bill Scott and Lloyd Turner had the Warners style down pat. Puns, takes, silly dialogue, lippy antagonists from New York who called people names, characters zipping from one place to the next. And Davis carries it off with a one-shot character who doesn’t have audience familiarity going for him. Great stuff.


  1. Davis seemed to have been tasked with the job of keeping Porky relevant when he took over the Tashlin unit, judging from the high percentage of shorts he used him in. Even with Dave Monahan, Sid Marcus or George Hill as writers, all of his Porky cartoons work, mainly due to the strong supporting characters.

  2. If you'd say Arthur Davis took over the Tashlin unit, than it'd clearly have been Robert McKimson the true one that took over the Clampett Unit - sincerely through, there was an eventual unit swap and Clampett leaving in 45-46 directly connects to Bob McKimson's eventual promotion to director.

    Wow, that was an excellent exaggerated distorted take, but it's all believable and the basic form structure is still mantained and kept within the surface's mangle, squash and stretch, rubberhose exaggerated - but NOT spongy at all! (if it were, it'd lose all the naturalism and default solid correct natural common sense physics) - we are natural creatures and we need to really FEEL it and breathe it in the process - the "cartoon magic" they all talk about is obviously sponges and walls - bah!.

    Arthur Davis was BOTH an excellent director and an excellent animator and writers Bill Scott and Lloyd Turner had the best situations, just wish for the 1947 release cycle that they gave him a bigger chance to do more Bugs Bunnies rather than Freleng seemingly dominate with McKimson left with only one short, and Jones with none (due to one lone short, the one where Bugs Bunny meets an Indian, being pushed down in favor of releasing Rhapsody Rabbit earlier than it's production number clearly states).

    Bill Melendez in that scene was really amazing and really shocking that a guy that did stuff like this would do lifeless stuff like Yes Virgina There is a Santa Claus and, ugh, specials of the hideously drawn comic strip Cathy........

    In fact the animation for those things move all the same as the Peanuts stuff (he also had a studio in London, England run by his son Steve, but then what's the use IDing that stuff when it's all in the overseas game), and to think UPA's surface would allow someone to animate and draw and design (UPA loves that word, design XD HEH) in entirely different styles later on in their own careers....

    it's quite fitting to see the Garfield specials switch to an offshoot Film Roman and after a few specials and with the Hollywood one, they no longer move the same as the Peanuts stuff and no longer move in the lousy same way and thanks to Kevin Petrilak (who handled the Simpsons and Bobby's World intros), move way more fluidly and at least move a lot smoother, can you imagine the Peanuts characters moving like that?, huh?.


  3. I also enjoy Art Davis's work everything that he directed at Warner Bros.Animation in the forties..esp.with Emery Hakwins animation and "doll eye look"...:) Steve C.

  4. , can you imagine the Peanuts characters moving like thaamazing pics