Friday, 29 March 2013

Crows' Feet Backgrounds

Orange and shades on either side of orange dominate the Friz Freleng cartoon “Crows’ Feat” (1961). And since we’re into the 1960s, stylisation is the key. Clouds aren’t puffy white things; they’re mere outlines in the sky.

The backgrounds are by Tom O’Loughlin, who replaced Boris Gorelick in Freleng’s unit on cartoons that were released starting in 1958. Here’s more of his work, including the scarecrow that (deliberately) resembles Elmer Fudd.

Thomas Gardner O’Loughlin was born in Canada on Christmas Eve Day 1923 to Ernest W. and Nellie Jane Gardner, neither of whom were Canadian (his father was from Washington State). The family was living in Edmonton in 1935 and moved to Indianapolis by 1940. A posting on the Big Cartoon Database states O’Loughlin began work in the animation industry in 1947 but, as usual, that’s not correct. A Los Angeles Times story in early 1952 stated he moved to California from Montana the previous year. He was married in 1953 but his marriage certificate doesn’t list his occupation. As you might expect from someone in Friz’ unit, he later worked at DePatie-Freleng and spent time at Filmation. He died in Healdsburg, California on October 26, 2007.


  1. The middle part of this cartoon, especially the scene with the moving corn stalk camoflague, really looks like a precursor to the DePatie-Freleng style of backgrounds and animation that Friz's new studio would use later in the decade. In contrast, he background with the rocket is 100 percent Warners, and looks like O'Laughlin modified the background designs Maurice Noble used for "Hare-Way to the Stars" (less rounded shapes, more straight lines and angles).

  2. Mel Blanc & Tom Holland [who ALSO spent time at DF, on "Texas Toads"], did the crow voices, though STRANGELY ENOUGH....Elmer doesn't speak.:) This also his last classic appearance.Steve C

  3. 3/30/13 Wrote:
    To answer your question,Pokey about Elmer not speaking in this Crow episode was probably a good thing. Arthur Q. Bryan was already dead for nearly two years by the time this 1961 cartoon appeared. Mel Blanc and Daws Butler tried to replace Elmer's voice for a time wll into the 1970's, but just didn't have the vocal perfections right for Elmer's voice as Bryan did. Even the current voice of Elmer on the recent New Looney Tunes Show tries really hard, but still can't quite nail Bryan's nasal voice, though it's not without for a lack of trying. Bryan's voice was a one-of-a-kind unique that's hard to imitate.This cartoon won't be seen too often on Boomerang or Cartoon Network because of the crows (allledgedly) "racist" speaking voices, slovenly manners and insensitivity of Mexicans for being "slow" and "lazy",even if they outsmart the "gringo" Elmer Fudd more than often. Political Correctness, of course has butchered many a great cartoon by senseless censoring,so the crows can be seen as funny if taken with a far open mind.Think of them as a Cheech & Chong-like team without the drug references.