A Broken Leghorn never confronts its bleakness or meanness.
It opens with Foghorn Leghorn doing a good thing, tricking a presumably barren hen into thinking she laid an egg. But then it turns out to be a baby rooster, so Foghorn spends the rest of the cartoon trying to kill the adorable little rooster.
Mel Blanc’s voice characterization of the baby rooster sounds a little too much like Bugs Bunny, but it’s likable enough… and Foghorn’s a monster. Strangely, he does get his comeuppance. The cartoon ends with him caged and off, one would assume, to be slaughtered.
McKimson doesn’t seem to understand the bleakness or the meanness, which is no surprise. If he did, the cartoon might be better.
The animation’s pretty weak too. There’s no inventiveness. I suppose Broken‘s not bad, just boring.
I haven’t seen a Foghorn Leghorn cartoon since I was a kid. They haven’t improved.
Directed by Robert McKimson; written by Warren Foster; animated by Warren Batchelder, Ted Bonnicksen, George Grandpré and Tom Ray; edited by Treg Brown; music by Milt Franklyn; produced by John W. Burton; released by Warner Bros.
Starring Mel Blanc (Foghorn Leghorn / Junior Rooster) and June Foray (Miss Prissy / Hens).
Besides Mel Blanc’s voice work, there’s nothing to recommend Knighty Knight Bugs. Actually, even with his voice work, there’s nothing to recommend it. It’s just the only good thing about the cartoon.
Bugs, as a medieval jester, has to go get a sword. Yosemite Sam has the sword. Bugs gets it. The cartoon’s act structure is broken. I doubt it’s intentional, just Freleng and writer Warren Foster didn’t have any ideas. The story’s completely uninspired, but not as uninspired as Freleng’s gags. His animators don’t do a terrible job (the background artist is another matter) but there’s nothing interesting for them to animate.
The cartoon’s single saving grace is its length. At six minutes, by the time the viewer realizes nothing else is going to happen, it only has two minutes left.
So, while it’s not quite painless, its brevity reduces how painful it might get otherwise.
Knighty Knight indeed.
Directed by Friz Freleng; written by Warren Foster; animated by Gerry Chiniquy, Arthur Davis and Virgil Ross; edited by Treg Brown; music by Milt Franklyn; produced by John W. Burton; released by Warner Bros.
Starring Mel Blanc (Bugs Bunny / Yosemite Sam / King Arthur / Sir Osis of Liver / Sir Loin of Beef / The Dragon).
Birds Anonymous should be really good. Its failings so how tied animation technique and writing are when it comes to a cartoon. The narrative, down to the scenic plotting, is fine. But the animation is bad so Birds flops.
The most startling problem is the backgrounds. A more generous person might call them stylishly spare. I’ll call them cheap and lacking. Sylvester never looks like he’s interacting in a setting. It’s painfully obvious he’s not.
Worse is the supporting cast. Both Sylvester and Tweety look fine, but all the rest of the cats look terrible. The plot involves Sylvester joining a twelve-step program to overcome his craving for birds. Like I said… Birds should work.
Every time Sylvester’s sponsor shows up to save him, the bad animation undoes what should be a great scene.
Mel Blanc’s voice work is fabulous. It’s too bad Freleng didn’t take Birds as seriously.
Directed by Friz Freleng; written by Warren Foster; animated by Gerry Chiniquy, Arthur Davis and Virgil Ross; edited by Treg Brown; music by Milt Franklyn; produced by Edward Selzer; released by Warner Bros.
Starring Mel Blanc (Sylvester / Tweety / Clarence / B.A. Cats).
I feel like By Word of Mouse should be better. It turns out it’s a Sylvester cartoon–not without good gags–but the concept deserves more.
A German mouse heads to the U.S. to visit a relation; free market capitalism–well, American consumerism, wows him and the two cousins find a professor (also a mouse) to explain it all. The explanations for the viewer too, of course.
But this cartoon takes place in the fifties and it’s unclear if the German mouse is from the West or East (presumably West). German just doesn’t seem the right nationality for the concept to work.
Freleng’s direction is good, the style is charming, and the economics lesson is just right for a younger audience.
Still, Word doesn’t really have an ending… Sylvester ruins the mouse’s trip and he heads back. Or maybe has other adventures, it’s unclear.
It’s likable, but completely doldrum.
Directed by Friz Freleng; written by Warren Foster; animated by Ted Bonnicksen, Gerry Chiniquy, Arthur Davis and Ben Washam; edited by Treg Brown; music by Milt Franklyn; produced by Edward Selzer; released by Warner Bros.
Starring Mel Blanc (Sylvester / Hans / Uncle / Aunt / Elevator Operator / Mice Children).