Monday, 16 March 2020

Drawing Water

The idea of a cartoon character drawing his own props goes back in the sound era as far as Van Beuren’s Pencil Mania (1932), and I’m sure Koko the Clown did it in Fleischer shorts in the silent days. It’s resurrected to pretty good effect in Gag Buster, a 1957 Terrytoons cartoon starring a fox named Spoofer.

In this scene, he draws a hose, washes the colour off the bad guy, then plays “Oh, Susannah” on his lines (you hear a solo steel guitar playing “Oh Susannah” during that part). The character design is a little scrunched but the expressions are nice.

Spoofer paints the colours back on, dances in a circle and then it’s on to the next gag.

Spoofer borrows from Screwy Squirrel; he plays part of the score of the cartoon himself (a drum roll).

And he chatters an awful lot; the internet says his voice belongs to CBS staff announcer Bern Bennett. I’d never be able to tell. Jim Tyer fans can spot his animation and there are scenes that if they weren’t animated by Carlo Vinci, they’re influenced by him.


  1. Like I said in Saturday's post, this is one of the transition Terrytoons that doesn't feel quite like a Gene Deitch effort, but also doesn't feel like a Paul Terry one, and visually, doesn't fully look like either's work (It's probably more old Terrytoons than new Terrytoons on the whole, while the last of the transition efforts, "The Bone Ranger" feels like it's more influenced by the new studio's sensibilities, with the title character's problems foreshadowing what Dietch would later try to do with Foofle at Terrytoons, and with Nudnick at his Prague studio).

  2. And of course old school Terrytoons like THE MAGIC PENCIL and TRICKY BUSINESS made extensive and imaginative use of the drawing-up-props-and-characters trope too.