Friday, 16 August 2013

Flea Circus Backgrounds

Joe Montell was a buddy of Ed Benedict’s, and Ed got him a job working for his boss at MGM. So it was that Montell’s name appears as the background artist on several Tex Avery cartoons, including “The Flea Circus” (released in 1954).

Here are a few of the background drawings. Montell draws a different theatre scrim for each of the acts on stage.

And there’s a long one that I can’t snip together from frame grabs without the colour changing, but it follows a large sewer pipe about to be laid in the ground from one end to the other. Notice the Leaning Tower of Eiffel at the end.

Montell later worked for John Sutherland, Hanna-Barbera and Jay Ward.

Tex reuses some old themes here—fleas, lovelorn-ity, and an ending with insanely large numbers of children. And Bill Thompson reuses Droopy’s voice for the clown flea. It sounds like Francoise Brun-Cottan and Pat McGeehan are supplying the other voices.

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