Monday, 4 May 2015

Dixieland Droopy Backgrounds

Tex Avery liked using familiar routines but he wasn’t wedded to the past. When he returned to MGM after some time off, he embraced stylised designs that were popular in animated commercials and at the UPA studio.

Here are some backgrounds by Joe Montell for “Dixieland Droopy,” released in 1954. No one would mistake this for Johnny Johnsen’s work for Avery only a few years before.

Joe gets himself in a background. At least, we can presume it’s his store to the right.

And here’s an inside reference. Walt Clinton animated on this cartoon. Observe the store in the background.

It isn’t only in terms of design where Avery’s trying something new. He’s also experimenting with sound. The perfection of the tape machine during the ‘40s enabled new ways for sound to be recorded and played back. It’s noticeable in “Billy Boy,” where Avery’s wolf finishes his sentences with looped reverb. In this cartoon, Avery tries experiments in sound when Droopy runs through various sizes of pipe while Dixieland music is playing, and again when he’s being chased through a hotel’s revolving front door.

The Fred Allen show’s John Brown provides a couple of voices here (he’s the hipster in “Symphony in Slang” as well), and you can hear Avery himself in addition to Bill Thompson as Droopy.

1 comment:

  1. This is supposed to have been Avery's only CinemaScope cartoon. But other than the pan-out and top/bottom black bars at the end of the cartoon (as released on DVD) for the closing titles, I can say I've never seen the widescreen version of this one anywhere, and it would be interesting to see what the full backgrounds looked like.