Thursday, 16 February 2017

Rockabye Anvil

For Tex Avery, The Legend of Rockabye Point was a natural extension of a number of cartoons he made at MGM. One character tries to force another character to make noise and wake a third character who inflicts some kind of violence on the second character. Rock-a-bye Bear and Deputy Droopy are examples.

When Avery moved over to the Walter Lantz studio, he tried it again with The Legend of Rockabye Point. It’s a typical Avery cartoon in that it barrels along and as soon as one gag ends, the next one begins. In one, Chilly Willy tries to drop an anvil on the sleeping guard dog. These poses tell the gag.

Mike Maltese got a story credit in this cartoon but it’s really no different than the MGM “noise” cartoons written by Heck Allen. Don Patterson, Laverne Harding and Ray Abrams are the animators.


  1. Boy, I sure do wish Avery had stuck around the Lantz studio for a few years. Maybe we would have been spared some of those dull, relentlessly dreary cartoons the studio turned out for way too long. Maybe Avery could even have made the Beary Family funny. (Though that might be an unrealistic thing to expect of anyone.) Of course, it's also possible that tight budgets, low expectations and indifference would eventually have affected Avery's work at Lantz, too.

  2. The bit where the polar bear opts to just smack the dog with the clarinet to knock him out instead of singing "Rock A Bye Baby" seems to have a bit of the change-of-pace Maltese touch in it. The plot itself does force Clarence Wheeler's music to be more on-point (and part of the comedy) than it normally was in the 50s Lantz cartoons -- Wheeler's music wasn't bad in the Bill Lava vein, despite a similar shortage of musicians, but is also wasn't memorable, as the music from other studios' musical directors of the period was.