Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Under the Falling Chesnut Tree

The opening of The Village Smithy, a 1936 Warner Bros. cartoon, contains some of the elements that director Tex Avery would use throughout his career. We have an off-screen narrator reading a famous poem as the scene gets set up in an unusual way. The “spreading chestnut tree” and “village smithy” both fall into the frame.

Tex has the off-screen narrator talk to the on-screen smithy, telling him he’s supposed to be standing (because the poem says so), and then ordering him to turn around and face the camera.

Now the blacksmith shop falls into place. You can see the shop’s shadow before it hits the ground.

Avery has some good irreverent gags in this cartoon, such as the narrator calling for a horse to appear and a camel walks into the frame (which is then pulled out of the picture using an old vaudeville hook).

Cecil Surry and Sid Sutherland receive screen credit for animation. Chuck Jones, Bob Clampett and Virgil Ross no doubt animated as well.

1 comment:

  1. Legend has it that this was the first cartoon with an O.S. Voiceover. True?