Monday, 13 November 2017

Abou Ben Bouncing Ball

Pat Matthews truly was a star animator for Walter Lantz in the 1940s, and his work deserves to be better known. He animated some wonderful dance sequences, some comic, others not.

Maybe his best-known work is on the two cartoons featuring “Miss X,” who Lantz had to ditch after because of skittish censors. The second release was Abou Ben Boogie (1944). It’s pretty much conceded by animation historians that Miss X was inspired by the singing, dancing Red, animated by Preston Blair in the Tex Avery cartoons. Matthews animated Miss X on twos (one drawing shot on two frames of film) but that didn’t hurt the movement at all.

Here are some of the drawings from the dance sequence (reused later in the cartoon; Lantz pinched pennies when he could) by Matthews. Miss X rolls Abou Ben Boogie up into a ball before her butt bounces him out of the frame.

Matthews’ Miss X dance sequence in Lantz’s The Greatest Man in Siam (also 1944) was debatably better than this, but these are sure some nice drawings. And his camel dance scene in this cartoon is tops; some of the best comedy animation ever in a Lantz cartoon. Learn more about who worked on this cartoon in this post from Devon Baxter on Jerry Beck’s site.

1 comment:

  1. Averyesque sexual reactions combined with a bit of Joneian design and layout Shamus Culhane seems to have brought over from Warner Bros. (Jones unit itself wouldn't try to animate a super-sexy girl in the regular theatrical releases until the transformed Witch Hazel in 1956's "Broomstick Bunny").