Chuck Jones became a director in 1938, after Frank Tashlin had left (although Tashlin eventually came back in the early 40s). Jones is mostly known for the slapstick humor, and wordplay gags which were present in many of his classic cartoons from the mid-40s onward. But his first several shorts were more slow and Disney-like, and usually focused on cute, small animal characters like Sniffles the Mouse. "Prest-o Change-o" was the first short Jones made to feature a wacky character, in this case, the crazy white rabbit from "Porky's Hare Hunt".
Ben Hardaway and co-director Cal Dalton, went back to the "hunter chasing a crazy rabbit" schtick, and brought us a short entitled "Hare-um Scare-um". Hardaway and Dalton had character designer Charlie Thorson create a new design for the rabbit. Thorson made the character grey, and a rounder head and torso, big cheeks, and big big teeth. The model sheet was labeled "Bugs' Bunny". Because, remember, Hardaway's nickname was "Bugs". Warner Bros. merchandising department took note of this idea, and began calling the chatacter "Bugs Bunny" on certain products such as glasses and booklets.
As you may have noticed, the ending to the cartoon seems abrupt. Follow the link below to learn more about the censored ending: http://ramapithblog.blogspot.com/2009/04/legendbreakers-hare-um-scare-um.html
Bugs Bunny is the most recognizable Looney Tunes character ever, and undoubtfully the most popular. But the character came a long way, and developed under many hands before he became the cool rabbit we know today. Bugs' history actually begins with Tex Avery's 1937 short "Porky's Duck Hunt", which first introduced the world to the wisecracking waterfowl, Daffy Duck. It also marked the first time Porky Pig's stuttering vocals were supplied by the talented Mel Blanc (before, Porky had been voiced by Joe Doughtery, a man who has a real stutter). Although Daffy had not yet been named, he became very popular with audiences, and Avery directed a second short entitled "Daffy Duck and Egghead". It was the Duck's first cartoon in color. The short was written by Joseph Ben "Bugs" Hardaway".
In 1938, director Friz Freleng left Warner Bros. for MGM (it won't last long), and Bugs Hardaway was promoted as director. His first major idea was, as he told studio painter Martha Sigall, "put a rabbit suit on that duck." The realization of that idea was Hardaway's "Porky's Hare Hunt". The story was by Howard Baldwin (there sure are a lot of "Baldwins" in show business isn't there?).
Not that around the 3:30 mark, the rabbit does Woody Woodpecker's laugh, even though that character had not been created yet. That infamous laugh was created by Mel Blanc himself, and had actually thought it up while in school! Can you imagine the looks he must have gotten? As for "Hare Hunt" itself, the short is pretty funny, but i hesitate to call it a classic. Martha Sigall has used the word "unlikable" for the embryonic Bugs. One problem is the rabbit laughs manically everytime he either outsmarts or harms Porky and his hunting dog, making the character quite devious. But still, the whole idea of a "screwy wabbit" heckling a hapless hunter is there, and thankfully, the Boys of Termite Terrace didn't give up on attempting to further develope this new character.
Up Next: "Prest-o Change-o", and "Hare-Um Scare-Um".
One of the members of the Golden Age Cartoons forums found this and posted it.
I don't know whether to laugh or cry about this.
On a more serious note, Wayne Allwine who provided the voice of Mickey mouse for nearly 3 decades passed away. Only major Disney fans knew this, but he and Russi Taylor, the voice of Minnie Mouse were actually married in real life. This is a sad thing that has happend, and I hope things turn out alright for Russi and the rest of the family.
David Gerstein has a new blog! Who is David Gerstein you ask? He is an animation historian, and he just made an incredible discovery! For years people have believed the cartoon "Hare-um Scare-um" ended with a family of rabbits beating up the hunter, and his head and his dog's heads are seen rolling down the hill into the iris-out.
David's post shows that while the rabbits DO beat up the hunter, the gag that follows afterward is anything but "heads rolling down the hill", but David does bring up an interesting theory on how that urban legend got started.
Matthew Hunter, one of the owners of he Mice-Looney-ous Blog has recently been posting his old Looney Tunes collection of toys and memorabila, so I thought I'd do the same thing. Because I'm a sheep...
In this story, Daffy Duck wants to go to the zoo and paint pictures of the animals, but a sudden rainfall causes him to change plans. For whatever reason, Daffy decides to go to the zoo and paint the animals themselves! Screw authority! As you may have guessed from the above "page", the story is told in rhyme (and oddly enough, when I was a little kid I never noticed this), but it is a unique story, with some funny illustratons, such as Daffy painting a group of zebras in plaid, and an elephant into an apple tree, and an intresting ending where the rain washes the paint off the animals and forms a rainbow by the zoo's exit.
This book was made by "Brad Gilchrist" (LOL) and he apparently made two other Looney Tunes books, one starring Porky Pig, the other Bugs Bunny.
So anyway, I just thought I'd dig this litte LT childhood memoryandshare it with my two readers. Yes, my blog only has two readers. They know who they are.
We've all heard stories about Eddie Selzer, the producer of Looney Tunes, and about how he had no sense of humor. Well, guess what? i actually uncovered an old magazine article dated August 4, 1969 from Film Culture magazine that included an interview with him! I received this magazine from a friend who collects old magazines. Reading this interview is actually quite laughable, and you'll see that the stories Chuck Jones told about Selzer being a humorless bozo, were not exaggerated.
My scanner does not work, so I had to actually RE-TYPE this thing word for word. The things I do for you guys.
FC: What was it like being the head producer for a company creating what many consider the greatest cartoons ever? ES: You'd never know it, but I found it quite boring. Watching a cartoon get produced is tiring. Seeing storyboards, and looking a scripts is a pain. It's the equivalent of reading. I hate reading. And I know there are those who say reading is good for you. Well if hating to read is bad then I don't want to be right. The only entertaining part was seeing the final cartoon on the projection screen before release. Knowing you're the first person to see these cartoons makes me feel good. Like I'm ahead of the average person. And winning those Oscars was great.
FC: Explain your role as a cartoon producer. ES: It is my duty to make sure the cartoons are funny. I attend story meetings, and look at the storyboards, see what the cartoon is about, look at the gags, and then let the directors and writers know which gags don't work, and which ones do. Or tell them if a new type of character is good or bad. Unfortunately, they rarely listen to me. I'm just one person, and don't have that much power over their work. For the most part it's up to Jack Warner the head of Warner Bros. Being the only producer in one cartoon studio is a pain. The cartoon executives of today have it easy. They work in groups now, and it's easier for them to control animation people, so we can get what we want.
FC: Why is it a bad thing to let the animators do their own thing, and not have a person looking over their shoulder? Can't they have a little freedom. ES: That's what a teenager would say to their parent.
FC: I met Friz Freleng once. He said you two once fought over the character of Tweety Pie. You wanted to use a woodpecker character and Freleng wanted to use Tweety. ES: There was a story man by the name of Bugs Hardaway, who worked at Warner Bros. long before I came aboard, and from what I understand he created Woody Woodpecker. Well that character became a hit. Friiz Freleng eventually made his own Woody Woodpecker cartoon, although oddly enough, he felt the need to redesign the character to be cuter, and he paired the woodpecker with Sylvester. Now I like Woody Woopdecker, and wanted Friz to do more cartoons with that character, but Friz wanted to use Tweety who was originally created by Bob Clampett. Friz threw a fit and walked out. Bob Clampett, who was in the process of being let go at the time, talked me into calling Friz back up. He convinced me that Friz was a terrible talent to lose, so that's what I did. Friz came back, he made the cartoon his own way, and it won an Oscar, which the Academy said I was allowed to keep. In fact, they said i could keep all the oscars we won, instead of the artists. That was real nice of them. I wonder if Walt Disney gets such special treatment. And the Woody Woodpecker cartoons continued as well, but strangely enough, they were made at another studio.
FC: Did you ever meet the original Looney Tunes producer Leon Schlesinger? ES: No. And i can't really comment on his producing techniques, but just to point out, no Looney Tunes cartoon won an Oscar until I took over. Think about that.
FC: Of all the Looney Tunes characters, who is your favorite? ES: Bugs Bunny. He makes us the most money.
FC: And least favorite? ES: I hate Tasmanian devil, and that skunk Stinky, I guess that's his name. It's never really mentioned in any of the cartoons. The odd thing is these characters are just as well-liked by the public as Bug and Daffy are. Honestly, where is this world coming to?
FC: Are there any cartoon shorts your regret producing? ES: I hated the one where Bugs fights the bull. Bullfighting isn't funny. I also hated the one where Bugs is fighting a camel. Camels aren't funny. And they're ugly too. They're big lips, big humps, they spit everywhere, and go freakishly long without water. And have you ever looked at a camel's foot? Particularly their toes? Camels have some ugly toes.