Tag Archives: Ben Washam

Baby Buggy Bunny (1954, Chuck Jones)

Baby Buggy Bunny opens with its weakest sequence–a bank robbery. The perpetrator is a baby-sized thug who gets away by throwing on a bonnet and hopping in a carriage. Clearly there are some Baby Herman connections, especially later on when the robber and Bugs Bunny start battling.

Bugs gets involved thanks to a runaway baby carriage carrying the loot–hence the title–but most of the cartoon has him caring for this thug, unaware of the true identity of the “baby.” There are some great bits; Jones has the comic pacing down here.

The arrival of Bugs also has a change (for the better) in the animation. The bank robbery sequence is erratic, maybe even intentionally, but the Bugs stuff is just good work. The writing is really strong too. The scene where Bugs finds out who he’s been caring for is fantastic.

Buggy is a great time.

3/3Highly Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Chuck Jones; written by Michael Maltese; animated by Ken Harris, Abe Levitow, Lloyd Vaughan and Ben Washam; edited by Treg Brown; produced by Edward Selzer; released by Warner Bros.

Starring Mel Blanc (Bugs Bunny / Baby-Faced Finster).


RELATED

Advertisements

Fresh Airedale (1945, Chuck Jones)

Fresh Airedale opens without titles and I’m a little surprised to see it’s Chuck Jones. The animation is rather weak for the most part and, while there’s inventiveness, it’s chaste.

The cartoon has either a mixed message or just a depressing one. It’s all about a sociopathic, Machiavellian airedale who does whatever he can to get all the attention in the world. Meanwhile, a nice cat suffers.

So it’s either about how people stupidly like dogs over cats or about how this particular dog is the Mussolini of terriers.

Sadly, there’s no point in deciding which one. Michael Maltese is all over the place with the plotting and it sort of kills any expectation for the cartoon.

Mel Blanc doesn’t have much to do with most the voices, but Frank Graham is excellent in his role as the dog’s stupid owner.

Knowing it’s Jones, I expected a whole lot more.

1/3Not Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Chuck Jones; written by Michael Maltese; animated by Ken Harris, Lloyd Vaughan and Ben Washam; edited by Treg Brown; music by Carl W. Stalling; produced by Edward Selzer; released by Warner Bros.

Starring Mel Blanc (Cat / Prowler / Nightmare Voices / Shep) and Frank Graham (Narrator / Shep’s Master).


RELATED

Duck Amuck (1953, Chuck Jones)

Duck Amuck is either very memorable or very predictable. If I have ever seen it, it was fifteen plus years ago. Yet I could guess a bunch of the plot twists, including the final one.

That final reveal, which might make Amuck memorable, also undoes a lot of the neat stuff the cartoon does otherwise.

The premise is simple–Daffy Duck battles a mischievous animator, losing his voice, his body, the backgrounds, the foregrounds and so on. The cartoon’s best when Jones is playing with how sound works in animation and it puts Amuck ahead.

There’s also the secondary thread–how cartoons abuse their characters. Here, Daffy gets to voice (to the animator and the audience) some of that outrage and indignity.

But then the final reveal comes along and undoes all that work. It’s just a gag, think about.

Blanc does great voice work here.

It should’ve been better.

1/3Not Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Chuck Jones; written by Michael Maltese; animated by Ken Harris, Lloyd Vaughan and Ben Washam; edited by Treg Brown; music by Carl W. Stalling; produced by Edward Selzer; released by Warner Bros.

Starring Mel Blanc (Daffy Duck / The Animator).


RELATED

Now Hear This (1962, Chuck Jones and Maurice Noble)

Now Hear This is a fairly amazing cartoon. It’s even more amazing when one considers it’s a Warner Bros. cartoon under the “Looney Tunes” banner. Jones and co-director Noble play with the idea of sound as it relates to movies. I suppose cartoons specifically, but it’s really just moving images.

They strip away the background, the superfluous details and just leave their protagonist, a British guy with bad hearing, practically two dimensional in the void.

There’s a narrative–the British guy confuses the Devil’s ear for a hearing trumpet–but it’s really just about the crazy things Noble and Jones come up with. The images constantly change, transitioning via the sound. It’s a great exercise, but they also create an excellent cartoon.

The pacing’s also important–since nothing happens–the gentle gags move it along and they work beautifully.

I wish Now Hear This ran three times as long.

3/3Highly Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Chuck Jones and Maurice Noble; written by John W. Dunn and Jones; animated by Bob Bransford and Ben Washam; edited by Treg Brown; music by William Lava; produced by David H. DePatie; released by Warner Bros.


RELATED