Thursday, 16 February 2012

Flying Chicken Leg in Perspective

Cartoon directors seem to have given in to the tempation of animating little bits in perspective just for the hell of it. Bob McKimson did. He’d have characters run toward and away from the camera whether it added anything to the cartoon or not. And Rudy Ising once said Hugh Harman was “a nut” which it came to perspective animation.

The motivation in some cases might have been simply to break up the monotony of the look of the cartoons. Maybe that’s the case in Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera’s “Part Time Pal” (1947). It’s not a great cartoon—Barbera seemed to think just the idea of Tom being drunk could carry a whole short—but we get a flying chicken leg animated in perspective. Tom swats it out of Jerry’s hand.

The credited animators are Mike Lah, Ed Barge and Ken Muse. I’m not sure if this is Lah’s work here; it looks a lot more like Lah at the end of the cartoon when Tom’s banging the umbrella and climbing the stairs. A shame Irv Spence isn’t here; he would have done a great job in the scene with Tom tripping over the milk bottles.


  1. I think there are quite a few cartoons from the mid-40s with incomplete credits. Possibly re-issued? To my eye, it looks like the cartoon begins with Ray Patterson. The milk bottles and drumstick scenes look like Barge. Tom's 1st drunk scene in front of the fridge is Muse. The scene with the hotfoot looks like Pete Burness. More Muse at the dinner table, then Mike Lah when Tom goes upstairs and attacks Mammy.

  2. The chicken leg perspective would have been great for a 3-D Tom & Jerry cartoon.

    With McKimson, aside from the towards/away shots, he seemed infatuated in the late 40s-early 50s with down-angle perspective shots, where not only would the character be coming towards and then away from the camera, but the audience would see it from almost a ground perspective, so that the bottom of the character's body would be far larger and their heads would pretty much angle away from the camera. And, other than to offer a size-comparison view between the bulldog and the gambling bug in "Early to Bet", I can't think of a single reason why he used those shots, except that he could.

  3. You're correct, Burness and Patterson animated without credit. Several cartoons do have some uncredited animation, mostly by Patterson and Burness or Spence.

    More info about why weren't they credit can be found here:

  4. Ed Barge animation of Tom throwing the chicken away. Mike Lah only did the ending from Tom banging the umbrella to the end scenes. Ray and Barge both did the opening. Muse got great shots of Tom drunk. Yes Pete got the shots of Tom giving Mammy a hotfoot and that whole sequence. I think he did the scene of Tom drunk again in the bathroom after that bathroom rum he had.