Friday 17 May 2019

Bluebeard Pie

Art Davis exhibits some masterly gag timing in Bye Bye Bluebeard, the last cartoon made by his unit at Warner Bros. before it was disbanded.

A mouse leads Bluebeard on a chase, jumping into various household items to hide. Bluebeard takes a look, his head moving slowly (animated on twos). Three frames later, Bluebeard’s face is smashed with a pie. It happens again and again. The pies come out of nowhere because your attention is on Bluebeard’s head and three frames isn’t a lot of screen time. The whole sequence had a nice rhythm.

Finally, Bluebeard is ready for the pie. It doesn’t come. He lifts up his protective mask. Wham!

Davis went out on a high note. This cartoon is solid all around. Sid Marcus’ story is structured well with some good dialogue. Porky has a couple of reaction scenes with creative expressions. Some of the layout work is interestingly angled. Emery Hawkins, Bill Melendez, Basil Davidovich and Don Williams are the animators with layouts by Don Smith. We can only speculate about the calibre of future cartoons if Davis’ unit had been spared from budget cuts, and was allowed to keep going.


  1. We kind of get an idea at least for the next cartoon out with McKimson's "A Ham in a Role", which features Marcus' story, but since it is Bob McKimson, tighter animation on the dog and the gophers than Davis would have allowed his animators to get away with. (The other question is how would Warners' cartoons have done if Sid Marcus had stayed on staff as writer longer -- he provided a boost in creativity when he came back to share story load with Tedd Pierce just prior to the 3-D shutdown, after Bob's 1952-53 releases had fallen into something of a rut.)

    1. It's hard to say. He wrote that one with the Indian with a butler, didn't he? That one's never made me laugh.
      I guess Marcus was the one who invented the Tazmanian Devil, who was pretty good for a limited character, at least at the start.
      I gather Marcus was hired after Pierce went to UPA and then was laid off with the rest of the unit.

    2. Marcus shows up seemingly right before the studio's shutdown, which is when I thought Pierce made his sojourn to UPA. "The Hole Idea" and "Dime to Retire" are Sid's last WB credits until the D-FE era with the Daffy-Speedy shorts, and after that Warren Foster got story credit on a couple of Bob's cartoons before Pierce returned.