Friday, 11 March 2016

Baseball Bugs Backgrounds

Mike Maltese may have been a security guard in You Ought To Be in Pictures (1940), but in Baseball Bugs (1945), he’s a detective. Well, on the wall out of the outfield fence, anyways.

Maltese wrote the cartoon but Paul Julian is responsible for the ads in the background.

Here’s Bugs (in a hole in the outfield?). There’s an ad I can’t snip together with this compilation frame grab for “Tudor Boy.” I can’t explain the other ads except for “Filboid Studge.” It’s from the short story Filboid Studge, the Story of a Mouse That Helped by H. H. Munro. I love how Bugs has his carrot in a hot dog bun. Is this Virgil Ross’ animation?

The next background fits in an inside reference to Virgil Ross. Do I need to explain Camuels? “Lausbub” is a German word. I found a reference to it in a number of old New York City newspapers which gave the translation as “prankster” or a “lousy boy.” See how educational cartoons are?

Oddly, the background changes when a Gas House Gorilla is on the mound. We never see enough of the background to know what word ends in “albo.”

Who needs rum and Coca-Cola when you can have Rum Cola? Note the little bottom trail on the “a” like Coke uses.

A Cal Dalton inside joke.

A Calvert dry gin parody next to more Filboid Studge.

A building across the street from the back of the Polo Grounds (which look more like Yankee Stadium) reads “Julius Food” something. I suspect Julian is making fun of his own name.

Could this be a switch on the RKO Theatre? The buildings are stylised, kind of a proto-UPA (which is where Julian ended up after leaving Warner Bros.).

Gerry Chiniquy’s thin-headed, cross-eyed version of Bugs can be seen in some scenes, and Manny Perez and Ken Champin also animated in this very fine cartoon by Friz Freleng. Frank Graham and Bea Benaderet join Mel Blanc in providing voices, and Tedd Pierce briefly appears as one of the Gorillas. If you’re wondering, the music over the opening titles is Sousa’s Sabre and Spurs March, and we get to hear Ahi Viene La Conga as well.


  1. First cartoon on the first Golden Collection, and one of the AAP prints that for years had circulated with washed-out colors that made it harder to read the billboard backgrounds. Combined with Friz's 1936 "Boulevardier from the Bronx", he really did not like the 1934 St. Louis Cardinals (at least Bing Crosby made it out of Warners cartoon purgatory by the 1940s...)

  2. Yes, that's Virgil Ross animation in the first photo. Those last two backgrounds look like they're from an early 1950's UPA Mr. Magoo cartoon.

  3. Paul also did some stylized perspective on some barnyard shots in "Each Dawn I crow".