Friday 3 May 2019

They Shall Sample My Blade

Duck Amuck has always been one of my favourite cartoons but so much has been written about it, there’s nothing I can add.

Chuck Jones’ cartoons can have such subtle movement and expressions that you feel it, even if you don’t notice it. Here is the open with dramatic actor Daffy Duck in an Errol Flynn-type swashbuckler role. Phil De Guard’s background pans to the left and disappears.

A realisation take. But Jones (or whoever animated this) doesn’t just have a static pose. The plume in Daffy’s chapeau drops to add to the effect that Daffy is stunned.

Daffy turns around to inspect the disappearance of his sword-fight scenery. Again, it’s not just a turn. Daffy flattens the palm of his hand. The gesture adds to what he’s feeling.

Daffy then gives us a shrug before tip-toeing out of the scene to adjust and give the audience watching his latest cartoon their money’s worth. Daffy, if nothing else in the 1950s, fancied himself an entertainer.

I shan’t attribute this scene to Ken Harris, but my wild guess is that’s who animated it. Ben Washam and Lloyd Vaughan also get screen credit, with Maurice Noble laying out the scenes, and Mike Maltese adding his unique style of dialogue. This post has the opening credit scroll snipped together.


  1. My favorite scene will always be Daffy trying to preform his cowboy song and receiving the wrong SFX. The looks on his face (especially when he smashes the guitar out of frustration) is pure silent comedy.

  2. I also remember the one similar to this with Elmer being the culprit animator. Getting his revenge on Bugs by continually re painting the scenery. Out of the two, Duck Amuck is my favorite.

    1. Hans Christian Brando5 May 2019 at 08:33

      "Rabbit Rampage." That's because Bugs is uncharacteristically hostile and defensive right from the start. The real Bugs welcomed a challenge and certainly wouldn't have been threatened by Elmer Fudd even in the artist's chair. Some good gags, though.

  3. Always sing "Over the sea we go men! We're shoving right off, we're shoving right off.....again?!" My favorite Chuck Jones cartoon.

  4. Warren and Dubin's "The Song of the Marines" ("Over the seas let's go men...") of course became Carl Stalling's go-tune melody for all things naval. It's from the 1937 Warner Bros. Dick Powell musical "The Singing Marine," and here it is with Dick Powell himself: