Sunday, September 25, 2011

Auteur Watch - Robert, Thomas and Charles McKimson

Let's face it, folks. This damn internet's just bottlenecking the way we think about things. Example: ... When I say the word "Example" by itself, chances are you're probably going to think about the opening sequence in Pulp Fiction with Jules and Vincent where they're discussing world fast food cuisine. Another example: when one thinks of the great Looney Tunes directors, Bob Clampett and Chuck Jones are currently neck and neck for first place. Everyone else is a distant second... Damn! Forgot Tex Avery! See what I mean? Okay... personally, I put Clampett and Avery in first place, with Jones a close second. I prefer my cartoons wacky and elastic, what can I say? Jones is far too intellectual for my taste, but he of course has his moments, and his share of the golden eternal Looney Tunes greats. As for all the rest, well, they're a distant third. Take the McKimsons, for example. They've done their share of great works... haven't they?? Of the three, Thomas is clearly the omega brother in terms of industry work. He started out early in the biz, but gave up after Mexican Joyride... and after working for Art Davis, who can blame him? The attitude I've copped about Arthur Davis is still with me, I'm afraid, at least in terms of Warner Bros. cartoons. Catch as Cats Can, for example, gives cartoon violence a bad name. Charles started in the biz a little later than Thomas, but stuck around a bit longer to make a name for himself. Robert was apparently the lone director of the triad and, judging from the dates each threw off this mortal coil, animation directing takes a harder toll than the actual animation itself. And this was the early days of the craft! All those lead-based paints used in unventilated rooms... I can only assume, anyway. Daffy Doodles, a McKimson joint, is still one of my favorite Daffy cartoons. Great ending. But I will confess that Easter Yeggs also gives a black eye to cartoon violence. When Elmer Fudd, with his bald head painted to look like a giant easter egg, gets his head repeatedly hit with a hammer... well, at my age I can't help but cringe. The McKimsons, if they didn't create Foghorn Leghorn, seemed to prefer doing Leghorn shorts. And they also did Rabbit's Kin, a rare cartoon that was actually recommended to ME. I'm usually the one who does the recommending and the re-enacting of these damn cartoons. Another classic, but it took the Tiny Toons to give Pete Puma another job.
Sadly, Bob hung on as long as he could through the '60s, when the Looney Tunes began their slow decline and eventual disappearance from theaters, and he finally buckled and switched over to do some Pink Panther cartoons. I guess he got on pretty well with ol' Friz, another name not held in as high of an esteem as Clampett and Jones. Hmm! I wonder if my blog's been hacked yet. I seem to be getting an unusually high number of 'blank.gif' messages into my text. Damn hyperlinks. And with that, I guess I'm done! Hang in there, McKimsons, and you'll eventually get the credit you deserve. A toast to the greatest trio of brothers to work in the Looney Tunes, damn it!

1 comment:

Keith Braithwaite said...

There are not that many movie blogs around so it was a delight to find one as useful as this. Please keep up the good work.

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