Thursday, 5 September 2013

Multiplying Sylvesters

The title animation says “Henery Hawk in…” but he’s not the star of “Crowing Pains” (released in 1947). That honour goes to the evolving version of Foghorn Leghorn in his second cartoon.

When Bob McKimson took over as a director at Warners, his take on the Warners characters was a little screwy at times. He had a few great Bugs Bunny cartoons, but he also cast Bugs as a little ignorant. Here he has Sylvester tormenting a dog, which doesn’t really fit his personality. Fortunately, he and writer Warren Foster must have realised it as the cartoons became a battle of wits between the dog and Foggie, a far more satisfying pairing.

In this short, Foghorn once again convinces the naïve Henery that something is a chicken—in this case, Sylvester. The cat tries to escape the chicken hawk, who Foggy has disguised in an egg outfit. Sylvester suddenly turns into multiples of himself, each pose held for a pair of frames. Here are some of them.

The cat then jumps back into itself and zooms away.

Thad Komorowski tells me Izzy Ellis did this scene. Jack Carey, Chuck McKimson and Manny Gould also get on-screen credits.


  1. Foogy and the dog are kind of on the same side in this one -- something that would happen a couple of other times and the end of cartoons in the 1950s, but not at the beginning, as is the case here.

    Aside from using the characters slightly different from the other units, Bob also seemed to want to take the designs in a different direction. His Bugs in the 1948-49 period seemed to be constantly battling weight problems while Sylvester's face here and all the way through 1950's "Pop 'em, Pop" seems like it's almost squashed into the third dimension, with an upper face and nose constantly sticking out towards the camera -- Artie Davis' Sylvester may have either been mute or had a voice like Mel's original Barney Rubble if he had been clubbed on the head, but design-wise, his cat was a lot closer to what Friz, Chuck and even Bob were drawing (other than the Durante end gag in "A Hick, A Slick and A Chick").

  2. Three out of the four animators are ex-Clampett.

  3. I'd say that's Manny Gould's animation particularly the way Sylvester's face is drawn.