Thursday 26 November 2015

By Word of Mouse Backgrounds

Simple was in, in 1954. Here some stylised backgrounds by Irv Wyner for the Warners cartoon By Word of Mouse

And some longer ones. How many universities were called “P.U.” in animated cartoons? I like the two-tone shadow effect on the building.

And an inside joke.

Friz Freleng directed this from a story by Warren Foster.


  1. It's been posited that this was the first cartoon rushed through production when the studio reopened after the six-month hiatus (likely due to the fact the Sloan Foundation was footing the bill for J.L.).

    Compared to the Jones unit or even Tex Avery over at MGM, Friz's crew had some rough going at the outset trying to adjust to the new UPA-inspired designs, which really was noticeable in the 'pill head' secondary characters from Freleng's cartoons of the period (in terms of background, both Wyner here and Jones' stand-in people for Maurice Noble on layouts and backgrounds were really into transparent columns, rocks or other objects in the 1955-56 period, as in the first two backgrounds above. They'd move more towards the ones below those as the 50s went on, where there would be color, even if it didn't stay completely within the lines on the objects).

    1. I really dislike the box-head designs that Hawley Pratt came up, especially for Granny.

  2. "Mouse Consumption"! (Richard Haydn-like professor mouse, presumabl;y Stan Freberg's voice work.) Excellent voices between the two main mice by Mel Blanc and Freberg (with Bea Benaderet in one of her handful cameos, as the "Momma" mouse who makes the final punchline.) The theme music for this was reused from "Feather Bluster", the 1954 Foghorn Leghorn cartoon, "Piker's Peak", a Bugs/Sam cartoon AND "Tweety and the Beanstalk" (both 1957), all either a Stalling or Franklyn original credits theme obviously.SC

  3. Oh yeah, the "Sloan Trio" which also includes "Yankee Dood It" (Jehoshaphat! Rumpelstiltskin!) and "Heir Conditioned" - bankrolled by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation - stopping dead in their tracks for Economics 101 lessons and to generally say "hooray for free enterprise."

  4. Rival Department Store - from the same conglomerate that gave you the Competitor Pharmacy and Opposition Restaurant chains.

  5. How many universities were called “P.U.” in animated cartoons?

    Let's not forget where Pimento University was thus referenced in the 1943 Chuck Jones short The Dover Boys, essentially a lampoon of the Rover Boys series of Stratemeyer Syndicate-generated juvenile fiction.

  6. The in-joke screen grab looks like some of the art of Stuart Davis: