Thursday, 2 February 2012

Hound Hunters

The George and Junior series of cartoons had to be Tex Avery’s weakest at MGM, unless you want to count the “...of Tomorrow” shorts. “Lucky Duck” was a success because it was George and Junior vs a duck. The conflict was focused; there wasn’t even dialogue to get in the way or slow it down. And then the conflict itself became irrelevant for much of the cartoon as Avery interrupted the chase for gag after gag.

In “Hound Hunters” (1947), the conflict between George, Junior and a teeny dog gets muddled when Avery tosses other characters into it and the little dog vanishes. There’s not one but three costume gags. And one gag ends with Junior shivering in George’s arms, which he’s already done in the picture to set up a situation, not as a gag.

Maybe the story’s a little out of whack because the cartoon was originally named “What Price Fleadom.” There is no flea in this story, unless Tex was referring to the dog which is small but not flea-sized. So it could be the story underwent a major overhaul and not all the kinks were worked out of it.

Still, Tex always manages to do something inventive. One thing I did like was in the cat dress-up sequence. George and Junior get inside a lumpy cat costume, one in front, the other in back. Tex pulls off a surprise take, but adds vibrating words on the screen. And when you’ve read the first line and it sinks in, a second one pops up. I think it’s Walt Clinton’s writing.

Naturally, it wouldn’t be a Tex Avery cartoon without big-mouth fear takes. With teeth.

But where’s the little dog in all this? Isn’t the cartoon about catching him? Oh, well.

The designs are by Irv Spence and the animation credits went to Clinton, Preston Blair, Ed Love and Ray Abrams.

1 comment:

  1. I think there is another Avery cartoon with the title "What Price Fleadoom" with Homer the Flea (an Rudolf Ising character). They probably used that name for that short.