Friday, 3 March 2017

Mohawk Moose

Tex Avery’s sense of humour and sharp timing shine through in that great Western cartoon Homesteader Droopy.

Here’s a great little sequence where many of the gags are familiar but Avery strings them together perfectly. It starts with a gun battle between the cattle baron wolf and Droopy. The bullets from Droopy’s gun shave the wolf’s hair into a Mohawk.

The wolf retaliates but misses Droopy. Instead, his bullets give a Mohawk to a moose head on Droopy’s cabin wall.

Avery holds the shot of the moose. He waits just long enough to surprise his audience by having the moose demonstrate he’s alive. The timing couldn’t be better.

The moose gallops off, seeking revenge.

The wolf reacts. Avery makes the reaction more effective by moving the cel of the wolf around the background for a bunch of frames.

The wolf tries to escape. Avery surprises us again. Not only does the wolf not go into the barn, he folds up the doors like a piece of paper after the moose runs inside.

A great satisfied look.

Before the audience has a chance to think, the doors unfold and the moose emerges like he’s coming up from a cellar. He and/or his layout artist (Ed Benedict perhaps) give the moose a great pissed off look.

We all know what’s going to happen next, so Avery gets laughs by pausing on the pose of the mangled moose antlers.

The moose, having done his animated duty, disappears from the cartoon as the wolf flies into the next gag sequence.

Bob Bentley joins Grant Simmons, Mike Lah and Walt Clinton in animating this cartoon.

1 comment:

  1. Character design is interesting here, because it's got one foot in the UPA/Ed Benedict school and the other in the more standard MGM character drawings from the late 40s-early 50s (though Tex had been fooling around with all-out modernism as early as "Symphony in Slang"). Having a relatively round-design character go all angles for a wild reaction 'take', as with the wolf above, was also something Al Eugster would be doing on the East Coast at Famous Studios at this time.