Saturday, 8 October 2011

Dance of the Big Snooze

Most of Bob Clampett’s final cartoons at Warner Bros. are filled with remarkable drawings. His very last, ‘The Big Snooze’ (1946), features an amazing little cycle as Bob provides a ridiculous animated response to the old “walk this way” gag.

At one point, Elmer’s upside-down with his curls behaving like feet. He hops on all fours and does a Russian kick dance, as Carl Stalling mixes ‘Chicken Reel’ with that Russian song everyone knows but no one can name. The cycle breaks here for Elmer and Bugs to shout “Hey!” at the camera.

My understanding is this scene was animated by Manny Gould. Manny blossomed beautifully in the Clampett unit after two decades of toil in animation, dating back to the days of silent films in New York City. I don’t think you’ll find too many signs of this kind of work in the Krazy Kat cartoons he did for Charlie Mintz in the ‘30s.

Izzy Ellis, Rod Scribner and Bill Melendez (Scribner’s former assistant) are the other credited animators. Clampett’s name in the title cards is noticeable by its absence; he’d left the studio by this time it was released for reasons that are still debated today.

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