Thursday, 19 November 2015

It's the Warden

Tex Avery’s unit was let go in March 1953 before the completion of “Cellbound” (released in 1955). Mike Lah took over direction with animators from the Hanna-Barbera unit—Ken Muse, Irv Spence and Ed Barge.

Here’s a typical Avery reaction when an escaped jailbird releases he’s been transported back into the prison he has just escaped, and has been parked in the Warden’s office.

And the consecutive drawings of the prisoner recoils in fright. As he shakes, there’s a snake rattle sound effect on the track.

This was Avery’s last cartoon for MGM. Paul Frees provides the voices and Ed Benedict designed the characters.


  1. The dichotomy between the frazzled, frantic escapee and the near-motionless actions of the warden -- until the jazz band comes on TV -- showed (as with the earlier Symphony in Slang) that Avery had a better grasp of how to use the more flat, limited animation of the 1950s effectively to actually entertain audiences than some of the creators of the form over at UPA did (where much of the work by '53 was headed towards the same territory as Michael Barrier described Hugh Harmon's earlier work at MGM -- it was designed more to impress than to entertain audiences).

  2. 11/19/15 Wrote:
    My favorite scene in "Cellbound":The Warden's reaction to his wife of the over-acting, twitching Spike the prisoner with no disguises: "Hmmm...Saw Him Today....You'll Like This Guy.......He's Crazy." Spike then snorts on cue then completely cracks up in a mental breakdown.