Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Random thoughts, Warner directors
Recently, I storyboarded a project for Nickelodeon via Frederator called 6 Monsters. The director of my segment is a gentleman named Manny Galan. Manny's the fellow responsible for all of the cool bumpers you see on Nickelodeon.
It was fun to board this cartoon---the designs are pleasing, and the script called for a lot of cartoony acting. Thinking about my work on the job, I realized how much I'd channeled my love of Bob McKimson cartoons into the board. So much of my style when drawing cartoony animation comes from Clampett and McKimson, and Rod Scribner and Emery Hawkins. I only wish my drawings were half as good as theirs. As a child, McKimson was my favorite director. Clampett too, but in a more primitive, "I like his work, but I'm also half creeped out by it" kind of way. You know, the kind of way that implies how influential it is. Clampett's very much gotten his due, particularly in the last ten years, but McKimson continues to be underrated, I think. For me, Chuck Jones is overrated. As a teenager, I was taught to say, "Jones was the best director Warners had", but the truth is, I thoroughly disliked his cartoons as a child. Road Runner cartoons were frustrating and dull, I thought. "What's Opera, Doc?" was weird looking, and just plain unfunny (today, I think it's droll, if not funny; gorgeously art directed, but highly pretentious). Worst of all were my feelings for "One Froggy Evening", a cartoon I thoroughly hated as a child. I'd get the most exasperated feeling watching that short---why that fellow with the mustache never took a rock to that damned frog was always beyond me.
Of course, Jones is a genius, and there are some cartoons of his I truly love. "Wakiki Wabbit" is great. The mad scientist cartoon with the first appearance of the hairy, orange monster (later to be named Gossamer by Jones, pretentiously enough ) is one of the truly great Warners cartoons. The opera cartoon starring Bugs and Giovanni Jones is genius, I think. And, for me, "The Rabbit of Seville" is probably Jones' best work, beautifully timed and funny as hell.
It was refreshing to arrive at Spumco, many years ago, and find people who preferred Clampett's cartoons over Jones'.
Still, I was carefull never to mention how much I liked Friz's cartoons.
Folks at that studio, back then, or at least the folks I spoke to, were likely to take a rock to you, if you said you liked Friz.