Wednesday, 30 July 2014

A Grander Old Nag

Thad Komorowski’s blog has a new post today that should excite all fans of old cartoons.

Republic Pictures decided in 1946 to release cartoon shorts and contracted with former Warners director Bob Clampett to make them. He finished a grand total of one before Republic decided conditions weren’t ripe for animation and the deal was off. We detailed the situation in this post.

Some time ago, the one cartoon—“It’s a Grand Old Nag”—was made available to the world on the internet via Jerry Beck’s now-former web site, with a very interesting commentary by Mark Kausler, a first-rate dissector of cartoons and a kind and gentle man. The copy was pretty ratty and missing footage but it was all that was around.

You can read the full story on Thad’s site but, in summary, a 16 mm. version turned up, and a transfer has been made by Steve Stanchfield, who has been helping to preserve animation history by restoring B-list Golden Age cartoons that, if it weren’t for his painstaking work, are now far more appreciated. And they have, quite generously, uploaded the transfer on the internet.

Want a comparison between the two versions? You could barely see the main title card before. Now, you can view the detail, even though it’s gone through compression posting it on line, it’s not from a 35 mm. print and was printed in an inferior colour process.

And how about the difference here?

It’s a funny thing how you can appreciate the animation more when you can actually see it. And you can get a better idea of how Clampett handled cartoons when he didn’t have animators like Rod Scribner and Manny Gould providing funny and outrageous character takes. This cartoon’s much tamer (despite atypical Clampett gags) but the animation seems far smoother than his work at Warners, and the great Ed Love came up with some fine scenes of the emotional director (voiced by an uncredited Dave Barry). And it’s hard to believe Jeff Alexander never scored a cartoon before this (or after this, for that matter). His work is clever and matches the on-screen action perfectly.

Head to Thad’s blog HERE for the story and the cartoon.

Now if there were only a complete and viewable version of “Wacky Quacky”....

No comments:

Post a Comment