Thursday, 1 April 2021

Dixieland Droopy Opening

Tex Avery loved opening a cartoon with a pan of a background with an overlay on top of it to give it a 3D effect. He did it at Warner Bros. (In A Wild Hare, he also has Elmer Fudd animated between the overlay and the background) and he carried on doing it at MGM. He did it in Dixieland Droopy, a 1954 release.

We can’t show you the effect in still photos because the background moves at a different speed as the foreground overlay, but this will give you an idea of how the cartoon opened, and the style of art employed. The fence and wrecks are on the overlay. Avery then moves the camera in on the background and dissolves into a painting of the home of our hero, John Pettybone (played by Droopy).

I really love the stylised backgrounds in this short. They’re by Joe Montell, who later went to John Sutherland, then Hanna-Barbara and then Jay Ward. He later wrote a somewhat autobiographical book on being a gay artist.

I suspect Ed Benedict drew the layouts, but he only got a credit on Avery’s last two MGM cartoons. Mike Lah, Grant Simmons and Walt Clinton are the credited animators.

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