Monday, 7 November 2016

Blast That Tongue

Tex Avery made several cartoons involving noise and escaping it so someone doesn’t hear it. There’s Rock-a-bye Bear, Deputy Droopy and, in a variation on the theme, The Legend of Rock-a-bye Point. All of them zip along with one gag flowing into the next.

Here’s one from Rock-a-bye Bear. The conniving little dog gets Spike caught in a dining room table. He puts a stick of dynamite on Spike’s tongue. Anyone who knows the format of these cartoons can figure out what happens next. But Tex twists things by adding a piece of action after the tongue zooms back into the house and Spike’s mouth. The tongue slaps Spike across the face.



Both Rich Hogan and Heck Allen get story credits in this 1952 release. As far as I know, Hogan left MGM when Avery took some time off around May 1950 and was replaced by Dick Lundy. So it could be that the story stage of the cartoon was started before Avery left and completed when he came back.

8 comments:

  1. The design for the conniving little dog always reminded me of a Hanna-Barbera character. Sort of a white Augie Doggie (and those snowy mountain backgrounds looked like they stepped out of a late Harman-Ising cartoon).

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  2. I'm curious as to why Spike was assigned the sympathetic role here, instead of his usual tormentor/villain persona. I'd like to think he barged into Tex's office, and delivered a Daffy Duck-esque rant regarding "typecasting".

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    1. Spike got a few sympathetic roles around this time -- "Cock A-Doodle-Dog", "Garden Gopher" and "Magical Maestro" also had him as the patsy for most of the cartoon.

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    2. You're right, of course, but I was referring to his part in this particular cartoon. Then it occurred to me - Spike's raison d'être in the Texiverse is to be the recipient of beatings, falling objects, explosions, etc. Had he been the aggressor here, that wouldn't have taken place (until the karma/punishment ending). So out of necessity, his role would have to change from time to time to suit the plot.

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  3. There were a LOT of cartoons built around THAT premise, weren't there? Even BEFORE MGM, Tex Avery in one of his swansongs at WB, used that in 1941's "Cagey Canary", and at MGM, Hanna and Barbera, first in one of their Oscar winners, 1945's "Quiet Please", and in 1957(?) "Royal Cat Nap" used the same concept, and HB at their own studio in "Augie Doggie" [as the final part of "Quick Draw McGraw, 1959-1962], used the staying quiet or leaving the premises so as to make the required sound bit in the open of "A Peck of Trouble": with the Jerry Lewis woodpecker, and the entirety of "It's a Worm Day" with the Frank Nelson librarian. Hanna-Barbera even used it on at least ONE episode--and a famous one, in season 2-of "The Flintstones"-"The Sweepstakes Ticket"[it's when Barney encounters in Betty's house a mouse trap while trying to get into the house, when Fred CARRIES Barney to a mailbox, then 1) opens the door, 2) shoves Barney part way, though thankfully not dropping him a la that same seasons's episode of the "Flintstones" "The Mailman Cometh", 3) holding him so Barney now goes as required :YEOOOOCH" as only Mel Blanc as Barney could have done it, 4) Fred and Barney scoot, and then we see this big nosed (though not Jimmy Durante sounding) short stuff mailman, who 5) looks in, 6)gets yelled, "Ouch" at by the echo...then 7) turns to US and says "ya know, I gotta stop eatin' at them cheap resturants."Hardy HAR HAR!!

    That "quiet or go outside to make the noise" gag was certaianly influenced by the everyday situation with parents vs kids laying and rivals the "ubiquity" gag, which was used with the gag being discussed in the (as directed by the only director, Tex himself, who could make him funny), Chilly Willy/Smedley short mentioned. Imagine...finding someone on your trail everywhere you go, biting your ass, casuing you to go outside and yell...btw "Deputy Droopy" has the most grotesque attempts by the "victims" to make the sound..the two banditos trading heads like if they were CHeshire cats.

    SC

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  4. BTW In my second paragraph "laying" was a typo for "playing"

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  5. I recall a "Dino vs. Cavemouse" segment of a later Flintstones cartoon (late 70s-early 80s) which reworked the "Rockabye Bear" gags.

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