Monday 27 August 2012

Les Alpes de Gribbroek Sans Skunque

Chuck Jones bragged that he had something like 108 backgrounds in “What’s Opera, Doc?” but he seems to have liked constantly cutting to different scenic drawings. He sure did in “Two Scent’s Worth” (1955). I’d count them all except there’s only so much of Mel Blanc’s unctuous French voice I can listen to in one sitting.

Fortunately, Pepé Le Pew shuts up for a while in this cartoon so we can enjoy some of the artistry of Bob Gribbroek and Phil De Guard. The short opens with a pan down a really nice drawing of the French Alps and stops as we look down on a village of tall buildings below. About the first half of the cartoon takes place in the village. The rest happens across the slopes.

The drawings below are from the second half of the cartoon. Gribbroek uses a variety of angles in his layouts—looking up, looking down, looking slightly up or down. There were a lot more backgrounds than these in the last three minutes; I just picked the ones I found the most interesting that didn’t have characters in them.

I presume at least some of Jones’ cartoons released in 1955 would have been on the drawing board before the Warners cartoon studio closed on June 15, 1953. It re-opened some time in the first half of 1954. Jones’ best-known layout man, Maurice Noble, left the studio about March or April 1953 and returned around July 1955. The list below of cartoons and their layout artist is in order of 1955 release, with the production numbers in parentheses.

Beanstalk Bunny (1332) – Bob Givens
Ready, Set, Zoom (1327) – Maurice Noble
Past Perfumance (1329) – Bob Givens
Rabbit Rampage (1341) – Ernie Nordli
Double or Mutton (1343) – Phil De Guard
Jumpin’ Jupiter (1338) – Ernie Nordli
Knight-Mare Hare (1349) – Ernie Nordli
Two Scent’s Worth (1377) – Bob Gribbroek
Guided Muscle (1344) – Phil De Guard
One Froggy Evening (1335) – Bob Gribbroek

1 comment:

  1. Chuck gets two story credits on Pepe cartoons in the mid-50s, on this and "Heaven Scent" from 1956. It's a bit odd, because given Tedd Pierce's reputation as a 'ladies man' you'd think the tales de Le Pew would be right up his alley, since he created the Bob Hope genie to chase Witch Hazel and 'Instant Girl' for Bob McKimson at roughly the same time.

    Background-wise, these are a little more restrained than what Noble would be doing by the time 1957's "Touche and Go" came around. Story-wise, there's really not much difference here than from the ones Chuck was doing before and after this with Mike Maltese, but it does show how invested in the character Chuck was -- and possibly why his unit pretty much rebelled from the formula three years later, when Maltese and Abe Levitow concocted "Really Scent" when Jones was doing his Bell Telephone TV work.