Tuesday, 14 February 2012

A Lotta Actors Were Outta Woik

Warren Foster wrote a life story for Bugs Bunny and Bob McKimson filmed it in “What’s Up Doc?” There are some sequences I really like, and a great one is when Bugs is on a park bench with other unemployed vaudevillians, hoping to get a break from the shining star of the big time, Elmer Fudd.

The caricatures of Al Jolson, Jack Benny, Eddie Cantor and Bing Crosby couldn’t be much better, and the animation of them auditioning for Fudd is perfect. I especially love Jolson. Whoever did this scene captured him beautifully (see the comments for the answer). You have to watch how he turns and looks pleadingly desperate as the snobbish Fudd passes by him. And Bing’s mouth movements singing “You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby” are fun.

The kicker is Fudd’s line: “Bugs Bunny! What are you hanging around with these guys? They’ll never amount to anything!” Of course, the joke is that they did. They had been stars for more than 20 years by the time the cartoon was released. And they were really stars until the day they died; all but Cantor were still working.

Jolson’s voice in the cartoon is provided by Dave Barry, who worked on the Jolson radio show.

Animators came and went in McKimson’s unit. Credited on this one are Bill Melendez, Chuck McKimson, Phil De Lara and Pete Burness, the last time his name appears on a Warners cartoon. Jack Carey and Emery Hawkins had been doing work in the McKimson unit but went from director to director, wherever needed.

1 comment:

  1. Bill Melendez animated this sequence as well as the Boys of the Chorus. I asked Bill about his work on this cartoon once. He said the Boys of the Chorus were a mountain of work (I believe it) and that when McKimson handed him the scenes, he said "I've got something really fun for you to do."

    Emery Hawkins did a lot of work in this cartoon without credit. WB seemed to hate crediting more than four animators in any one cartoon.