Friday, 1 January 2016

Happy New Year

What better way to celebrate New Year’s than with everyone’s favourite fake New Year’s cartoon scene?

You’ve seen it. It’s Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd from The Wabbit Who Came to Supper (1942). Bugs is the victim of bad in-betweening in parts of the cartoon; not all the artists seems to have mastered drawing him. And then director Friz Freleng has unmatched shots as we get into the great scene.

Bugs throws confetti his fists have acquired from some place known only to cartoon rabbits and cons Elmer into a rousing chorus of Auld Lang Syne until Fudd checks the calendar, realises he’s been duped, Bugs leaps into the air and the chase is on again.

Dick Bickenbach animated this scene and even gets screen credit. The New Year’s scam came from the brain and storyboard of Mike Maltese.

Speaking of Maltese, here’s a little present for you. The special Hollywood Cartoon edition of Film Comment from 1975 is on the internet. Go to this link. In the search window, type MALTESE. Up will come Joe Adamson’s interview with the great cartoon writer, done at a time when (as inconceivable as it is to younger readers), there was next-to-no research about old animation and fans likely didn’t know who Mike Maltese was. It’s a little quaint considering how many books have been written about the Warners studio since then, let alone the volumes of research posted on the internet, but you can’t help but enjoy reading reminiscences from the best cartoon writer ever.

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