Thursday, 4 April 2013

The Horse's Mouth

There’s not a lot to like in the Walter Lantz cartoons starting some time in the 1950s, though some will suggest the studio produced some good shorts into the mid-‘60s. Still, you can still poke around through the ‘50s and find something worthwhile.

“Jittery Jester” (1958) features a horse with a standard design and a standard Dal McKennon voice. Whoever’s animating him here has decided to go for some exaggerated mouth movements on the standard line “Oooh, I hate him.” Here are some of the poses.

The animation caps one of Homer Brightman’s gags which makes absolutely no sense. Horse-riding Dooley says “Lower the drawbridge!” The drawbridge is lowered. But then the drawbridge is raised and Dooley and the horse crash through. Why was it raised? Who knows. It just goes up. I guess everyone was so distracted laughing at Happy Homer’s performance in the storyboard meeting they didn’t notice there’s no reason for it.

Bob Bentley, Don Patterson and Les Kline are the credited animators.


  1. So, Dal McKennon AND Daws Butler BOTH voiced Joe Besser-like horses?

  2. I never really equated the horse with Besser because the voice isn't Besser's and the horse doesn't act like Besser. But why wouldn't both of them be able to do it?

  3. Some of the Lantz cartoons of the late 50s remind me of some of the Columbia cartoons of the 1940s, in that you have situations where you have the start of the set-up for a gag, and the gag's punchline, but for whatever reason they decided the middle part of the routine that justifies the punchline either isn't needed due to time or budget concerns (or whatever). It's as if they know why the drawbridge has been raised, and somehow decide the audience will figure it out, too, even if it's not part of the cartoon (and just as an aside: What would a Columbia cartoon from the 1940s directed by a post-1956 or so Paul J. Smith have looked like?)

  4. I always assumed the flustered gatekeeper raised it again out of confusion.

    But how about that glaring continuity error where that hole in the drawbridge disappears in the previous and subsequent scenes?

  5. Woody (at the end of this short): "This joke will be funnier until they'll invent the television!"

  6. I presume THIS was animated by the infamous (at least from the 50s onward) Les Kline, was it?


  7. Can't belive i forgot to add, WOW, look at these cartoons in ultra pristine shape, The THICK outlines are even thicker than early in the decade with Don Patterson directing.