Tuesday, 12 April 2016

A Changing Elephant

Here’s something I’ve never understood from the start of Chuck Jones’ cartoon Punch Trunk (released Dec. 13, 1953). A shipment of bananas has arrived on the dock. A dark green elephant peers out from behind the stalk.

The elephant kind of withdraws back, but then he suddenly turns grey and develops long tusks. These are consecutive drawings.

Why did he change colour? Were the first drawings of a shadow? If so, why didn’t the elephant have tusks? What am I missing here?

This is much like a Tex Avery cartoon, except in reverse. Instead of huge eye-takes as people see the teeny elephant, we get Jones’ small-eyed poses into the camera. Ken Harris, Ben Washam and Lloyd Vaughan are the credited animators. Dick Thompson and Abe Levitow may have been split off to work on Feline Frameup at the same time.


  1. I always thought it was a "are my eyes deceiving me?" thing at first so they drew it abstractly before the real deal came into full view. I liked that.

  2. Yeah, I get the feeling that it's supposed to be a shadow or a silhouette in the first frames. Why no tusks, I can't say.

  3. That always caught my eye....also a case much later of a someone literally being made a monkey of, in this case the circus cat, and b y the elephant...Who was the little girl Genevieve voiced by (J.Foray?) SC