Friday 31 August 2018

Getting Clean, Getting Dirty

Miners going into Betty Boop’s Tavern shower off the coal dust first. Then, when they leave, they shower the dust back onto them.

I Heard (1933) is full of animal characters bopping to the beat and a fast stream of gags. Willard Bowsky and Myron Waldman are the credited animators. There’s live action footage of Don Redman and his orchestra at the beginning.

Thursday 30 August 2018

Shake Your Rabbit Tail

There’s something creepy about rabbits with slanted, almond-shaped eyes. The Warners’ cartoons used the design in a few cartoons in the mid-‘30s, including Shake Your Powder Puff, a 1934 effort by Friz Freleng, with Bob Clampett and Bob McKimson as the credited animators.

The rabbits’ tails are the powder puffs.

Cartoon ducks in sailor suits? Nah, it’ll never work.

The audience likes it, judging by this endless cycle of 12 drawings.

The title song was originally heard in the Warners feature Upperworld, also released in 1934.

Wednesday 29 August 2018

Maxwell Smart Before Maxwell Smart

Before there was Maxwell Smart, Don Adams got a lot of mileage out of his Maxwell Smart voice. In fact, he used it in two TV series in 1963. One was on Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales on Saturday mornings on CBS. The other was the lesser-known The Bill Dana Show on Sunday evenings.

Tennessee had a reasonably long life. It was repackaged and syndicated for years until enough newer cartoons came along. The Dana show lasted two seasons. Dana attempted to take a sketch comedy character with a catchphrase or two and stretch it into a half-hour. I’ve never understood why anyone thought Jose Jimenez was screamingly funny to begin with, but Dana sold a lot of comedy records doing him.

Dana was more than a comedian. He was a writer, too, and he basically wrote Maxwell Smart into existence. Adams supplied the voice and delivery, then took it to Mel Brooks and Buck Henry in 1965 and — would you believe? — turned him into a huge hit.

Adams talks a bit about his Dana version in this syndicated newspaper column of September 17, 1964. At the time, he was also doing some of his stand-up routines on another show. Adams apparently hated stand-up and preferred to spend his time at the race track instead of on stage or in front of TV cameras. Word is the track ended up with a whole pile of money Adams earned on Get Smart.

You Really Know How to Hurt a Guy, Don't You?

NEW YORK — Don Adams, who plays Inspector Glick the ineffective house detective on NBC’s “Bill Dana Show,” arrived early for our interview . . . one full day early. Apparently Adams, in typical Glick fashion, had the wrong date for the appointment and he spent the better part of an hour checking the faces on the restaurant’s customers hoping to find somebody who might be the reporter sent to interview him.
By the time we got together the following day Don had worked the entire incident into a routine and — typical of Don Adams — it was quite funny. When he’s not Inspector Glick, Adams is an “In” comic with a loyal cult of followers including ex-comedy writer Bill Dana.
This reporter has been a member of the Adams cult for years and I was delighted when he cropped up last season on a few episodes of the “Bill Dana Show.” His first appearance when, as Glick, he gave Jose’s hotel maximum security and inadvertently robbed a bank on behalf of some larcenous guests was easily the best of the Jose Jimenez adventures and won Don critical plaudits as well as a spot in the future plans of producer Sheldon Leonard and star Bill Dana.
In New Time Slot
When the show squeaked through and was given a new life and a better time slot (Sundays 8:30-9:00 p.m. beginning this week), Don Adams and Inspector Glick were signed on as regulars.
Although he will be seen on eight of the first 13 shows, Don still lives in New York and fills in his time with six appearances on ABC’s “Jimmy Dean Show.” I asked him why he feels the need to do the Dean show which probably does not have an audience geared for his type of comedy.
“I have a lot of fun doing it and It’s giving me a chance to get some sort of identity,” he explained. “Wherever I go, people come up to me and say I’m very funny and then ask my name. Outside of a small handful of fans . . . like Johnny Carson who shares a frequency with me and has been a great help with guest spots . . . nobody knows who I am.
“But on the Dean show I’m given a free rein and I’ve been able to use one of my favorite expressions . . . ’You really know how to hurt a guy’ ... so often that Jimmy's audience knows when it’s going to be a punch line and laughs before I deliver it. When they can identify you by a phrase or an expression they don’t forget your name.”
Loves Glick Character
As far as his own series goes, Don has been offered many of them but he loves the character of Inspector Glick and he's quite pleased at the way things are working out with Bill Dana.
“I go back a long way with Bill Dana,” said Adams. “I think I had one routine and a lot of ambition when I first met him. He liked me and wrote most of the material I used in my act.
“Now, on his program, I know I’m working with an ace comedy writer, I’ve done a lot of writing myself, Sheldon Leonard knows comedy, most of our directors are experts and this means that even a weak script can be sharpened before we film it. I like those odds.”
Adams’ three best routines are the locker room pep talk (“A good shortstop and a good second baseman go hand in hand, men. But not off the diamond.”), the hilarious re-creation of the confrontation scene from the old "Thin Man” movies where the hero locks the suspects in one room and solves the crime, and his courtroom bit where the defense attorney tries to win the case for his very guilty client. The latter routine has been incorporated into an upcoming “Bill Dana Show” episode.
Why He Became Comedian
Don became a comedian be cause he didn’t think he had the physical attributes necessary for success as a straight actor. Now that he’s made the complete circle and is an actor he’s turning down as many nightclub jobs as possible.
“I've spent a lot of years in clubs and I want out,” he said. “I don’t mind doing an occasional one-nighter, but I'd like to try my hand at directing — which I hope to do this season—and continue as a comedy character actor.”
Just before the interview ended Don confided to us that if he ever left show business he could easily make a living by betting at the racetrack since he’s one of the finest handicappers in the world. We didn't argue with him at the time, but the following Saturday at Aqueduct we wandered around the clubhouse until we found a dejected Inspector Glick staring mournfully at a pile of losing tickets.
We then asked him if this was how he was going to earn his bread and he looked us right in the eye and said, “You really know how to hurt a guy, don’t you?”

Tuesday 28 August 2018

Now Warming Up

“Uh, oh, it looks like they’re going to warm up the new pitcher,” says narrator John Wald in Tex Avery’s Batty Baseball.

And they do. Scott Bradley plays “Running Wild” in the background.

Avery and his gag writer(s) kept this scene short. There’s no wolfie-like reaction (Red Hot Riding Hood) from the pitcher, which would have made it funnier. Ed Love, Preston Blair and Ray Abrams are the credited animators.

Monday 27 August 2018

Woody and the Wolf

Consecutive frames from a fight scene in Who’s Cookin Who, directed by Shamus Culhane. Woody Woodpecker was into eating wolves in a few of his cartoons of the mid-‘40s.

Les Kline and Grim Natwick are the only credited animators. Will Wright plays the wolf.

Sunday 26 August 2018

Bugs Bunny Wins Over JFK

I’m not a fan of web site databases and encyclopaedia where anyone can go on and write whatever they want, such as Walt Disney being born on the planet Wtsrpphg (incidentally, he wasn’t). I’ve yowped in anger at some of the misinformation in animation entries.

One of the readers on my neglected Twitter feed is named IBCF. A tweet came through from that account quoting a Wikipedia entry regarding John Daly, the former CBS news correspondent best known for hosting What’s My Line? who was also the news vice-president and main anchor at ABC. I was stunned at the Wikiquote, which is:
Daly resigned from ABC on November 16, 1960[14] after the network preempted the first hour of 1960 presidential election night coverage to show Bugs Bunny cartoons and The Rifleman from 7:30 to 8:30 pm while CBS and NBC were covering returns from the Kennedy–Nixon presidential election and other major races.
I’ve read a fair chunk on Daly, and I’ve read contemporary reports of his departure from what they used to call “the third network.” All the news stories I’ve read gave the same reason for his resignation. The footnote 14 above refers to a New York Times article of the following day. Allow me to quote it:
Mr. Daly’s resignation was submitted on Monday night after he learned that Mr. Goldenson [the head of the network] had hired Time, Inc., to become co-producer of four one-hour documentary programs for the “Close-up” series sponsored by the Bell & Howell camera company. Heretofore the series had been produced exclusively by Mr. Daly and his staff. Mr. Daly said Mr. Goldenson had violated the “traditional policy” that all news and public affairs programs be prepared entirely by the network and not by outsiders.
Nary a word about Bugs Bunny. (Incidentally “Monday night” was the 14th, not the 16th). Obviously, another made up entry by somebody on Wikipedia, right?

Not so fast.

I leafed through copies of a number of the New York newspapers immediately after the vote on November 8th to see what they wrote about ABC’s coverage. Surely news columnists would wag their finger and chastise a network if it postponed coverage of the story of the year for Yosemite Sam getting blown up on a ship. Remarkably (at least to me), at first glance there was nothing about cartoons. The columnists were falling all over themselves discussing the computers each network used to tabulate the votes. UPI declared ABC had the best screen arrangement for charts.

But there was one columnist who noted something else. Barbara Delatiner of Newsday mentioned on November 10th that Bugs had been on the air at 7:30 p.m. instead of Daly, reporter Don Goddard and tabulator Univac (perhaps it would have been appropriate, given the situation, to have employed Uniblab from The Jetsons, but I digress).

As it turns out, keeping Bugs and Chuck Connors on the schedule was not a last-minute decision. Newspaper TV listings in New York and Chicago for November 8th show ABC cutting away from its coverage of the vote to run the cartoon show, and editors would have needed time to get that information in print. And WABC-TV in New York even bought an ad in the Times promoting The Rifleman.

What of John Daly? Buried in the 11th paragraph of an Associated Press story of November 17th, was a reference to Daly’s annoyance about something other than outside producers infringing on his territory. The Wall Street Journal of the same date wrote its own story and included a quote.
Mr. Daly indicated there were other reasons for his resignation. He said he was unhappy about one aspect of ABC’s election night coverage. He opposed the network’s showing a “Bugs Bunny” film and “Rifleman” between 7:30 and 8:30 EST election night, thereby breaking into the election news, which had begun at 7 that night. “If you begin the coverage, you don’t leave it,” Mr. Daly said.
So, to sum up, is Wikipedia correct? Did veteran and respected newsman John Daly quit a cushy TV network anchor job because of Bugs Bunny? The answer—partly.

Bugs and his sponsors weren’t strong enough to keep him on the air on the West Coast (in Los Angeles, KABC coverage cut away at 4:30 for American Bandstand and Rin Tin Tin), but there was at least one other cartoon show that didn’t get the boot in favour of Kennedy and Nixon (or Huntley and Brinkley). Independent station KTTV in Los Angeles continued with its regular evening programming, meaning anyone not interested in Don Goddard and Univac could switch channels and watch a full half hour of The Huckleberry Hound Show. As Huck might say “Right smart little programming move there.”

Naps and Trains and Jack Benny

Train stations were the bane of Jack Benny’s existence, at least on the radio. He ran into abusive ticket sellers, blubbering cab drivers, announcers calling for passengers on trains on track five that no one wanted to ride and, occasionally, a tout giving him a tip on a magazine or a candy bar. In real life, Jack liked trains, and not just because of all the comedy inspiration they gave his writers.

Here’s a short newspaper story, from an unidentified syndicate, dated February 18, 1969. In a way, it’s sad. Jack talks about regular medical check-ups. Despite that, doctors didn’t detect his cancer until it was too late.

At 74, Jack Benny Is a Master At Using 'Visual Vocabulary'

NEW YORK—“Why don’t you go inside and take a nap,” the young man said with the paternal air of a doting father. He was answered with a glare of utter disdain, perhaps the most famous facial expression in America.
When Jack Benny glares at you, he is using a visual vocabulary that may be saying, “You must be out of your mind.” Or, “Isn’t that the most ridiculous thing you ever heard?”
In this case, the glare he gave his young agent seemed to say, “Who do you think you’re talking to, a seven-year-old?”
The agent was well aware that he was talking in seven year-old terms to a 74 year-old man. He also knew that despite the glare, his client would retire for a short nap, in the manner of a seven-year-old.
If you watched Jack Benny on his Birthday Special last night you, like everyone else in the audience could easily be convinced that 60 would be a closer age approximation for Jack. It’s no trick of make up.
Jack has a fine baby-like skin that is almost free of lines. His eyes, like his brain, are alert.
Jack keeps a vigorous schedule that he is able to maintain by both taking good care of himself and taking good advice.
“I’m on a very busy schedule right now,” he said. The comedian was in New York for a hectic three days of interviews, business meetings and theater parties. “But I’m well rested and I feel fine. Want to know how I rested myself? I took the train from California instead of flying.
“Of course, not everyone can take a train. Imagine Bob Hope, for instance. The only thing that could get him on a train would be if there were 800 soldiers on board. He'd do a show from coast-to-coast.”
Jack paused, his gaze drifting to the ceiling for a moment. “You know,” he said, “I was just thinking about Bob and our health and how some of us can take care of ourselves and some of us just have to keep going and going. Bob takes good care of himself when he can, but he moves around so much that that has been seldom.
“I talked to him a few days ago and I told him he is crazy if he goes right back to work after having so much trouble with his eyes. Who needs it? Why kill himself?”
The world’s oldest, or perhaps youngest, seven-year-old then leaped forward, crooked a famous finger, palm up, and said, “Anyone can live to a ripe and happy old age if he just gets regular examinations, takes care of and paces himself.”
Then he sat back and stared his famous stare of futile wonderment, saying, “Isn’t it stupid, that so few of us do?”

Saturday 25 August 2018

The (Cartoon) Sky is Falling!

On July 23, 1962, after being on an unpaid leave of absence for several weeks, Chuck Jones signed an agreement ending his career at the Warner Bros. cartoon studio.

If you were wondering where Jones was part of that time, wonder no longer.

Jones took a trip all the way across the country to Cape Cod. Who Jones knew there, if anyone, I don’t know. But I do know he somehow ended up being interviewed by the Boston Globe.

Jones may have been the most quoted director in Warner Bros. cartoon history. He wrote two books, a third was published featuring conversations with him and he was interviewed (quite willingly) by animation historians when that particular breed started surfacing in the late 1960s. Jones also outlived all the other major Warners directors, passing away in 2002.

This Globe piece may be the earliest one-on-one interview he gave. It was published July 14, 1962. The reference to Tom and Jerry is interesting in light of his being hired in August 1963 to direct new Tom and Jerry cartoons for MGM release. The last sentence of the story no doubt is one of Jones’ philosophical musings which the writer didn’t have the space or inclination to examine further. Jones, however, completely misses the reason for the demise of the theatrical cartoon, one Walter Lantz had been pointing out since the 1940s—money. Producers didn’t get make a profit on any cartoons for several years because theatres didn’t make any money showing them, and didn’t need to show them anyway.

Bugs Bunny’s Grandpa Fears Cartoons’ Death

Even the faint possibility that quality cartoons might be faced with oblivion leaves you pale and shaking, as if you heard that someone was going to tear down the flag and step on it.
Cartoons are a part of America, like crackerjacks, ball games, home and family. Bugs Bunny is Uncle Sam’s nephew and the Roadrunner and Coyotte [sic] are like the neighbors. Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck are like . . . well if they go it’s like burying real people.
For Charles M. (Chuck) Jones, vacationing in Cotuit, it would be especially painful. He’s the creator of such characters as Pepe Le Pew, the romantic skunk; Roadrunner and the Coyote and has developed familiar fellows like Bugs Bunny, Sylvester the Cat, Yosemite Sam and Porky Pig. Bugs, by the way, is 24 years old. It was Jones who ventured the idea that the classic cartoons as we know them now may someday disappear. He is concerned with the current vacuum of new cartoonists.
“There are no good, young animators getting into the business,” Jones said. “I doubt if there are a hundred animators in the country today.
“When Walt Disney first started, there were dozens of young cartoonists, me included, eager to start off too. Of course Disney was the first to succeed and then, one by one we followed along to our varying degrees of success.
“But what happens when there is no longer any Disney nor the other animators who came along with him if there is no new blood to replace them?
“Tom and Jerry are already gone. Who can forget the hit and go of Tom the Cat and Jerry the Mouse?”
Here Jones introduced a second threat to theater cartoons—television. It seems the creators of Tom and Jerry and other first-class animators have decided to forsake the painstaking art of animated cartoons for the easier, simpler Tv funnies.
For instance, by taking short cuts you can turn out 150 times more TV cartoon work than you can the theater type, where there is more depth, more motion, expression and far more action.
Of course, TV Networks also show many re-runs of the dated animated theater cartoons. The better known TV-born characters include the Flintstones, Quick Draw McGraw, Deputy Dawg, Rocky the Flying Squirrel and Mr. Peabody.
“I hope,” Jones added, “that as television matures it will create a bigger demand for the theater animated cartoon. Once it does, I’m sure there will be numerous young fellows jumping into the field.”
Jones jumped into the profession 30 years ago with Warner Bros. as an in-betweener (the beginner who draws in between movements of cartoons characters while the chief cartoonist draws the main action).
He later became a top-flight animator and today produces, writes and directs his own cartoons. His wife, Dorothy, helps in the writing department.
Ten of Chuck’s cartoons have been nominated for Academy Awards, and he has won two Oscars. He worked with Friz Freleng in developing Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck and others. He is presently doing a full-length feature, “Gay Purr-ee,” about French cats.
When we left, Bugs Bunny wasn’t a rabbit, he was a little boy who likes carrots!

Friday 24 August 2018

Something In The Drink

Celebrity caricatures abound in Flip’s Soda Squirt (1933). One is a queenie stereotype modelled on character actor Tyrell Davis who drinks a chocolate soda made from tacks, ink, insecticide, hair tonic and castor oil. He turns into a monster (as per the 1931 feature Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) that walks toward the audience.

But don’t worry. He’s changed back when, in a thrilling fight scene with Flip, he sprays himself with “Eau de Pansy.”

This was the last Flip cartoon released. One theatre manager told the Motion Picture Herald: “Another good cartoon comedy of Flip as the soda jerker. The grand opening of a drug store in Hollywood and some very good caricatures of the film actors and actresses. Very good and full of good clean entertainment—J.J. Medford, Orpheum Theatre, Oxford, N.C.”

Thursday 23 August 2018

Ring of Fire

Tex Avery and writer Rich Hogan came up with several spot-gag cartoons involving a competition between Droopy and Spike the bulldog. They’re not Avery’s best work but the quick pace makes them funny.

Avery may have been talking about Daredevil Droopy (released in 1951) when he mentioned to historian Joe Adamson that these kinds of cartoons were made when he got stuck on a story and needed to fill his yearly quota. The idea was to put the strongest gag at the end. In this case, Avery’s “strongest gag” was one that had been used several times before in the middle of cartoons (the old “tiiiiimb-(crash)-brr” routine).

There are several “blackened” gags in this cartoon. Two involve explosions. The other involves fire. Droopy zooms a motorcycle through a ring of fire. He’s untouched. Spike does it. Naturally, he’s the bad guy, so something’s going to happen; it’s a matter of waiting to see what Avery and Hogan do. In this case, Spike and his bike become crispy outlines.

Walt Clinton, Grant Simmons and Mike Lah animated this short.

Wednesday 22 August 2018

Sheldon Leonard vs TV

For a while, Sheldon Leonard could do no wrong on television. He had given up on a screen career that seemed destined to have him play small time hoods for the new world of television production. He had a success right off the bat with “Make Room For Daddy” starred nightclub comedian Danny Thomas playing nightclub comedian Danny Williams.

Leonard brimmed over with self-confidence about his producing abilities, long before a string of consecutive hits in the early ‘60s. Here’s a 1954 article (May 11th) from the Brooklyn Eagle, written during the first season of “Make Room For Daddy,” the first of his huge successes.
TV Keynotes
Sheldon Leonard States His Views on Television


Hollywood, May 11—“The basic trouble with live television,” volunteered Sheldon Leonard, “and I'm a guy who's basically a stage actor, is that you have to submit and print your first draft. With film, we can edit and change and throw out the dead wood.” We were on the set of tonight's Bob Hope Show, in which Leonard appeared as guest-star actor. Sheldon, incidentally, is director of the Danny Thomas Show (filmed). I agreed that film has certain technical advantages over live TV, but, then, why is live TV invariably better than its filmed counterpart?
“That's easy,” Leonard answered. “Conditions have always favored the author who writes for live TV.
Primarily, it's the problem of residual rights. Once the film is made, it's a permanent thing and all rights are relinquished. For live TV the rights are just leased for a particular showing. Naturally, live shows get the best material. It's a big problem and it's being fought over now. When we can solve it, films will probably get better material to work with.
“Everybody gives me advice on how to handle my career. My agency wants me to specialize. But I don’t want to relinquish acting—it's fun. It keeps me fresh and it's good for me as a director. No, I'm not going to specialize. “I don't want to sound egotistical, but nobody can tell me what to do in this business—nobody knows more than I do. The truth is, nobody knows very much. We can't learn anything from anybody, because we're doing it right now. We have to discover how because it hasn’t been done before. We make lots of mistakes, but don’t forget, we’re writing the book.”
Questioned about the Thomas show, Leonard told us it was shot in sequence, before a live audience. “It's like a play, a little cluttered by machinery.”
He's enthusiastic about “Make Room for Daddy,” and its surge to popularity justifies the enthusiasm. “I'm always battling with Danny about how to do some scene. If we don't argue, the show stinks. Sometimes we shoot a scene both ways to see who's right. Oh, we've done a lot of bad shows,” he continued, “but maybe that's because we're over-ambitious. Directing this show is the hardest work I've ever done in my life—but it's the most stimulating.
“I have no tolerance for mediocrity in this business,” he exploded before putting in a strong plug for his network (ABC) and his clients for granting the show relative immunity from interference. “There are too many talented people held back because of the mediocrity already entrenched. Show business is one of the few businesses a person can get into without talent and without aptitude.” (Leonard's opinion, not Scheuer's.)
“I bitterly resent the absence of standards to qualify people for this business. It has too many ramifications, it has too strong an effect on people to be permitted to operate on such a whimsical basis. But, how do you get around that? I don't know," said Sheldon, answering his own question, “I guess that's Utopia.”
Leonard learned the same thing Fred Allen learned 20 years earlier—executives at the networks fancy themselves experts at programming and invent reasons why shows should or shouldn’t work. Leonard saved “The Dick Van Dyke Show” from cancellation by going to the sponsors and directly pitching the show, telling them to give it a chance. It worked. And the show became a success. But that’s only one example of troubles that Leonard endured. Here’s a list, enumerated in an Associated Press column of January 3, 1969.
Sheldon Leonard a Successful Don Quixote of TV and Movies
HOLLYWOOD (AP) — Television producer Sheldon Leonard pictures himself as a tilter of network windmills, a dreamer of impossible programming dreams. Judging from his past performance, other producers should try the Don Quixote bit.
The latest of the Leonard lances is aimed at the Sunday spot now being vacated by the Phyllis Diller show. Leonard's new series, “My Friend Tony,” will be facing the formidable opposition of “Mission: Impossible” and ABC's Sunday night movie starting Jan. 5.
“I think we can make it,” he says confidently.
Maybe so. After all, Leonard himself made it from playing gangsters in wide lapels and snap-brim hats to being mentor of a long string of television successes. With each show he had to battle the ossified thought patterns of the industry's programmers. He catalogued:
1. The Danny Thomas Show. “I was told that in the heartland of America, viewers would find no identification with a man who told jokes in a night club for a living. I solved that by placing the emphasis on him as a husband and father.”
2. The Andy Griffith Show. “Now I was told the reverse: that a rural comedian would not register in urban America. But I had my research department look up the huge sales of records by Eddy Arnold; a large percentage were sold in cities. That proved to me Andy would go over in the urban areas."
3. The Dick Van Dyke Show. “An inside show about television show couldn't possibly interest a mass audience, they told me. In fact, Jim Aubrey, then head of CBS, tried to convince me to change Dick from a comedy writer to an insurance man.”
4. The Bill Dana Show. “This time they said I couldn't base a comedy show on a dialect comedian. The series failed—because I had tried to present a fantasy character against a realistic background.”
5. Gomer Pyle. “An audience gravely concerned about the draft and the Vietnam war would not watch a show about soldiers, they argued. I solved that by placing Jim Nabors in a military environment that had nothing to do with fighting a war.”
6. I Spy. “No show with foreign locations had ever succeeded, but I was willing to try.” Leonard also pioneered with a Negro co-star, Bill Cosby. The producer's challenge in “My Friend Tony” seems less profound than those which went before, but he claims it is a real challenge: “No series has ever had a foreign-speaking leading man.”
The new star is Enzo Cerusico, a handsome Italian Leonard chose for an "I Spy" segment in Rome.
“I interviewed 50-60 actors for the part, and he was the only one who couldn't speak English,” said Leonard. “I figured he must be good if the casting man would send him to me under those circumstances. And he was good.
“I put him under contract and brought him over here a year ago last June. Now his English is good. So good, in fact, that he is beginning to question why he does this and that in his scenes. I lose an hour or so a day because his English got good.”
James Whitmore also stars in the hour show as a UCLA criminology professor who helps solve crimes by scientific methods.
“My Friend Tony” wasn’t a hit and is remembered by perhaps a handful of people today. By now, Leonard’s track record wasn’t so hot—he lost with “Hey, Landlord,” “Accidental Family” and was on his way to failure with “My World and Welcome To It,” and comedies starring Pat Finley, Shirley MacLaine and Don Rickles before gaining a starring role in a show called “Big Eddie” that never found an audience.

Despite all that Leonard accomplished on television and his image as a gangster on film, he still may be best known for occasional appearances on radio when he said “Hey, bud, c’mere a minute,” to comedian Jack Benny playing comedian Jack Benny.

Tuesday 21 August 2018

Rule 1 is Broken

Mike Maltese’s end gag in Going! Going! Gosh! (released in 1952): the Coyote swings at the Roadrunner to skewer him with a javelin. He hear a “beep, beep!” Down he comes. The frames explain what happened next. I love the little trucks floating around the Coyote’s head.

It turns out the roadrunner is driving the truck.

Hey, wait a minute! Chuck Jones insisted Rule 1 of the Roadrunner/Coyote series was “The Roadrunner cannot harm the Coyote except by going ‘Beep-Beep!’” (Chuck Amuck, pg. 225). Oh, right. He made these up long after he stopped making the cartoons. Or, to paraphrase Maltese, “What rules?”