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Cashew Lou's Yukon Annex

I've got Pop-Pop in the attic.

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Avery important day
It's a shame that you probably won't hear about this anywhere else, but Fred "Tex" Avery would have been 100 years old today.

By all accounts, he was a genius, arguably one of the most influential figures in American animation, innovating pacing/timing and some of the most outrageous gags and situations ever seen in animated shorts. I've studied the film art of animation for over 30 years now, and he is hands-down my favorite animation director of all time--and those who would be next on the list all owe, directly or indirectly, at least part of their colorful careers to him. Among those would be Chuck Jones, Jay Ward, Bob Clampett, Friz Freleng, Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera...the list could go on forever.

I watched Who Framed Roger Rabbit again the other day, and it made me very happy to hear Tex's name mentioned so reverentially on the commentary tracks. For without Tex, there may have never been a Roger. Or Animaniacs. Or Freakazoid. Or many thousands of other animation titles that have borrowed some of his manic, wonderful wit.

So Happy 100 to you, Tex, wherever you are. Shine on, you crazy diamond. o(:o)

I will leave you with a link to my favorite Tex Avery cartoon, King-Size Canary, released in 1947 by MGM--quite possibly the biggest milestone in macrophilia-related animation to date.


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Fred was a completely bat-shit crazy bastard, probably the most random and unpredictable animator of his era and those after. And I've got nothing but respect for it.

I think in a way, everyone owes him something--the wild take, the fast shot, visual gags, puns galore, strong use of music, characters that defined the word "cartoony"...hell, didn't Tex do the first Bugs Bunny short way back when, before WB tossed him on his ear for being too "radical"?

The new kids owe him a lot, really. Not to say that they don't owe much to Jones, Ward, Clampett, McKimson, Hannah & Barbera, Freling...I could name drop until I turn blue.

Crazy Diamond is right. I can just half-way imagine him and Syd doing something together and it makes my brain spin about in lazy circles.

Heh. I was hoping no one would take issue with the Pink Floyd cross-reference there. o(:o)

And yeah, he did the first Bugs Bunny cartoon in 1940, A Wild Hare. It wasn't that he was too radical; it was that he and butthead WB animation head Leon Schlesinger didn't see eye-to-eye on the ending of a cartoon, among many, many other things. Schlesinger was kind of a clueless asswipe.

Eh, Leon was old-school for the time. He came from when WB was desperately aping Disney to try and get into the market. Even after The Mouse ducked out of shorts for the most part and got into the picture biz, I don't think Leon realized that he was pretty much the king of the cartoon (MGM and a couple others notwithstanding).

It's kind of the same schtick now--no one in Toontown wants to be too liberal, because that cuts into the money train. But that, that's another line of thought all the way 'round and today is no day to grouse, it's a day to break out Droopy Dog and Screwy Squirrel cartoons until my eyes fall out.

The problem with Schlesinger (and his successor, Eddie Selzer, who once tried to cheer up the WB animation staff after losing an Oscar bid to Disney by saying, "Cheer up, guys; at least we still have Mickey Mouse") was that he thought he knew what he was doing; eventually, his entire staff learned to work around--and exploit--his ignorance.

Fred Quimby at MGM, for better or for worse, focused his attention on the Hanna-Barbera team, since they were winning him Oscars. He was confused by Avery and essentially left him alone--a perfect recipe for his insane genius to flower.

And of course, Tex did some of the sexiest damned toons EVER. =};-3

Didn't he essentially invent the concept of the "sexual cartoon character" back in the 40s with Red Hot Riding Hood?

Man, what a resume this cat has. I can't think of a soul like him today.

I remember reading that the cels for Red Hot Riding Hood were stolen off the animation stand before they could be photographed! o(:o)

And according to animator Preston Blair, Red was not rotoscoped, although accusations to the opposite remain to this day.

Not to mention the most racist!

Meh, no more so than any other director or producer in the United States at the time, either in animation or live-action.

That isn't to condone what they did--some of the works from that period are appallingly racist and misogynist, while at the same time being almost Puritan when it came to sexual issues (thank you, Hays Code)--but what was socially accepted and what was taboo was considerably different.

I remember King-Size Canary. Loved to watch it when I was a kid. Tex Avery was an animation genius! ^^ Jusr for what he put into his cartoons. Whatever he did was pure spun gold and really funny too.


Defintely one of my heroes, too. :)

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