Friday, 16 November 2012

Mutts About Backgrounds

“Mutts About Racing” was directed by Mike Lah, designed by Ed Benedict, with backgrounds by Fernando Montealegre. All three would later work at the Hanna-Barbera studio making the first season of Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear and Pixie and Dixie. And there’s some of that influence in this cartoon.

Here are some of Monty’s backgrounds. The cartoon was in Cinemascope, and the drawings reflect that. The first one isn’t a complete background, just enough to give you an idea. I’d guess the rocks and tree in the second one are on an overlay. The tree reminds me of the kind Art Lozzi drew in the first season Yogi cartoons at H-B.

And a few more. The first one has a simple box for a house, much like the school house in “Little Bird Mouse,” a very early Pixie and Dixie cartoon designed by Benedict. The billboard in the second has a sharp-nosed guy that Benedict liked drawing. The speed limit sign on the last one is on an overlay.

A theatre in Winnipeg was showing this as early as March 13, 1958. By then, the MGM cartoon studio had been closed for almost a year, and Benedict, Lah and Monty had finished a season of TV cartoons.

1 comment:

  1. Between the backgrounds, Ed Bendict's character designs in the Droopy series and the more streamlined designs Bill & Joe were using in their cartoons, the graphic look of the final season of MGM CinemaScope releases is pretty much a seamless flow into the look of the first few years of the H-B studio. That was good as far as what you got from your TV cartoons, since maintaining the Metro 'look' provided a certain solidity for the limited animation that other studios couldn't match, but not-so-good for the overall quality of the last widescreen releases, which by 1957-58, looked less sumptuous and more cheaply made than the product Warner Bros. was still churning out, even with their UPA adaptations.