Tuesday 4 September 2012

Run Over By a Streetcar

“And if that ain’t the truth, I hope—I hope I get run over by a streetcar!” says the wolf to a sceptical jury of wolves (and one skunk) in “The Trial of Mr. Wolf.” And that’s what happens.
It’s a gag used a couple of times in cartoons but you’ve got to admire Friz Freleng’s pacing here. No sooner does the wolf say his line than the streetcar roars over him. It takes less than a second (24 frames).
Here’s one foot (16 frames) of action, all on ones.

Dick Bickenbach is the credited animator. I can’t tell you who was handling layouts for Friz at the time (1941).


  1. The ink and paint department couldn't be bothered to color the faces properly.

  2. Friz's late-41 cartoons are interesting because while he's really got the timing down, the drawing style still hasn't completely been polished up from its 1930s roots. So you have characters who at times look like they could have come from a 1939 Merrie Melodie (or for Friz, from a '38 MGM cartoon), but moving in key scenes about as quickly as a MM from 1943 or later.

  3. Another factor is the teaming of Mike Maltese with Friz around that time. Mike added a lot of his trademark off-the-wall gags to standard stories (PHIAWATHA'S RABBIT HUNT, NOTES TO YOU) and spot-gag cartoons (ALOHA HOOEY, FONEY FABLES). The Freleng-Maltese collaboration through most of the 40s contributed to some of WB's most memorable and quoted cartoons. ("Duhhh- you can't fool me, 'cause I'm a moron."; "I brung ya a bunny rabbit- TA HAVE!!"; "Sorry, folks- full bus."