Tuesday, 19 March 2019

La Frenche Phonee

Fake French was pretty much mandatory in Pepe Le Pew cartoons, and we get a pile (un pile) at the start of Past Perfumance (1955). It’s set in a Paris movie studio in 1913.

Thus we get Rin Tin Tin (a play on “n’est-ce pas” is on the left).

Clara Bow.

Mack Sennett. (The “Quiet” sign, I presume, is a bit of intentional irony).

David Butler was a Warner Bros. director at the time this cartoon came out. He left to become an independent producer by 1956.

“Chimps Elysees” is today’s groaner from writer Mike Maltese.

The movie sets are fairly stylised. Phil De Guard painted the backgrounds from Bob Givens’ layouts. Maurice Noble was still at John Sutherland Productions when this cartoon was made.

The characters are a mix of stylised (you see some above) and standard designs (Pepé, the cat).


  1. I think the french word "le" is pronounced like SIMPLY the "l" before a vowel in English, NOT like the English word "lay"!

  2. Well, remember the stereotypical yell of "quiet on the set!" like you hear Daffy Duck yell in "Hollywood Daffy," or the director's call in "You Ought To Be In Pictures." Quiet was needed on the set for the filming. You very often see (for real) photos of sound stages at WB and elsewhere showing lamps that would light when filming was in progress, so one knew not to make noise (as Porky does). I think that's what the sign next to the Mack Sennett types is referring to.

  3. Vocally, the interesting thing here was in Jones giving Arthur Q. Bryant a couple of non-Fuddian speaking roles, as the prop manager and one of the screening room viewers.

    1. I recognzied him as the prop manager, but didn't know he was one of the viewers,too("Phew! Stinks!")

  4. I'd find a slide show of just the backgrounds more entertaining than the cartoon, not to mention easier to take.

  5. I always liked the "faux French" styling of the Pepe LePew cartoons, all that "wrought iron" filigree. Back in the day there was a mall near me that was built in the 50's, and all of the interior was done like that - big birdcages, screens, railings, etc. - like being inside one of these cartoons.