Friday, 31 March 2017

Irv Wyner's Rome

Irv Wyner shows a good eye for light and shadow, especially inside the Roman Colosseum, in Roman Legion-Hare (released 1955).

Being the mid-1950s, Wyner’s trees and buildings are more streamlined than you would have found in a Warners cartoon a decade earlier.


  1. While the Jones unit transitioned fairly smoothly into the UPA background and character designs, Friz's unit's efforts were on the clunky side for the first year or so of the changeover. They'd pretty much smoothed those problems out by the time "Roman Legion-Hare" came around.

  2. What bothered me is those Hawley Pratt box-head designs for characters more than the post-Julian backgrounds.
    Jones' flattened characters seemed to fit Ernie Nordli and Maurice Noble's designs, but then Jones seemed to become too preoccupied with design, especially after Mike Maltese left.

    1. The background work in a couple of the pre-shutdown cartoons Friz did with more UPA's designs didn't seem to want to commit to the changes as much as Noble did pre-shutdown for Jones. The post-shutdown work also is less abstract than some the things Nordli was doing, but you're right that the background work in Freling's earliest post-shutdown cartoons is far better than Pratt's design efforts, which gave the characters those giant pill heads (and Friz would finally admit the mistake when he returned to Warners in the early 1980s and finally went back to the original design for Granny).

      Even before Maltese left, Jones' designs in his one-shots like "To Itch His Own" started to become overly cute and showy -- I'd love to see the evolution of the last Jones-Maltese WB cartoon, "The Mouse on 57th Street" which didn't hit the theaters until over two years after Mike had decamped for Hanna-Barbera. The cartoon seems to be about 90 percent Chuck and Maurice Noble and about 10 percent Mike at best.