Tuesday, 17 January 2012

A Camel in Morocco

Camels are funny-looking things, especially in cartoons. Probably the funniest-looking camel in a cartoon not made by Warner Bros. is in the Walter Lantz cartoon ‘Socko in Morocco’ (released in January 1954). It’s one of the shorts Don Patterson handled during his far-too-short tenure as a director.

For reasons known only to Patterson, and perhaps writer Homer Brightman, the camel is partly hollow. Buzz Buzzard rides inside it.

Thad Komorowski tells me that Walter Lantz was so cheap, the directors at his studio had to their own design characters, unlike MGM where they had people like Claude Smith or Ed Benedict to do that sort of thing.

The camel is animated in silhouette and long shot at the beginning of his scene with a flurry of feet on ones. Then we get some medium shots. The animation is by Ken Southworth, Herman Cohen and Ray Abrams. Art Landy is credited with the very nice backgrounds; good design and sunset hues.

This cartoon has dialogue at the beginning and end, and virtually nothing in between. What few words on the soundtrack are handled by Dal McKennon as Buzz and a horse, while Grace Stafford is Woody and giggles for the princess. I’m presuming McKennon is also the French Foreign Legion commander, though he reminds me a lot more of Harry Lang than anyone else. Lang died about five months before this cartoon was released after suffering a lengthy illness.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I have an original celluloid from this cartoon. Has the background, Buzz with the captured princess riding a camel. Do you have any information on this? I can send pics. ramalm@gmail.com