Classic movie site with rare images (no web grabs!), original ads, and behind-the-scenes photos, with informative and insightful commentary. We like to have fun with movies!
Archive and Links
grbrpix@aol.com
Search Index Here




Sunday, August 31, 2014

Misunderstanding Among Warner Skunks


Chuck Jones Lends Fragrance to Scent-imental Romeo (1951)

A surest route to Employee Of The Month at Warner animation was to develop a new character that might catch on with exhibs and a public. Pepe LePew was such an invention, and I can imagine him as quite the fad before repetition/ennui set in. Like the Road Runner, this was a one-joke affair, but unlike RR with Coyote in pursuit, there was less variation at hand. Essential to all Pepes was his misidentifying a female cat as another skunk and potential mate. With Chuck Jones at ongoing helm, the idea bore fruit despite retelling, but no way could LePew be so frequent and welcome as was Bugs and Daffy. Part of barrier to longevity was his character, Pepe a lover rather than fighter in animated arena where romance was for briefest asides. Jones used the skunk as benign foreground to verbal gags, many of them sign-posted along Paris boulevards Pepe inhabits. In no place did Jones' sophistication (appreciated perhaps best by himself) get better airing, the LePews set at same subtle key as Ralph Phillips shorts the director had made. To put it in '52 election context, I'll bet Adlai Stevenson supporters were quietly amused by intellectual flatterer Pepe (and his director), while Eisenhower voters howled at Bugs. Like Adlai, Pepe would eventually lose.

3 Comments:

Blogger John McElwee said...

Further adventures of Pepe LePew as recalled by Donald Benson:


For high-and-inside gags, see "Past Perfumance." That's the one where Pepe invades a 1920s French movie studio, seeking the autograph of "Norma Thalmáge". A limo bears the name Clara Beaux (Le "It" Femme); a big shot producer has an entourage of beréted "oui" men; etc. Even in '55, how many of those references were purely for buffs?

There were a few attempts to shake things up. In one very late entry, a lovesick female cat -- cursed by a natural white stripe that scares away suitors -- actually tries to respond to his overtures despite his air of distinction.

Better was one where a wildcat got the paint treatment. Every time Pepe caught up, she'd rip him to shreds before fleeing -- which he clearly regarded as foreplay. Creepy by enlightened standards, but funny to see Pepe take Coyote-level abuse with his usual elán.

6:54 PM  
Blogger John McElwee said...

Michael Hayde tells about a favorite among Pepe cartoons:


Hi, John:


My favorite among the Pepes is the oddball of the lot: REALLY SCENT (1959), directed by Jones' animator Abe Levitow. In this one, a lonely feline desperately WANTS to be loved by Pepe, but the odor is just too much for her. Eventually she decides to create her own noxious fragrance; unfortunately, it's right when LePew finally(!) understands how offensive he is and has himself de-skunked ("For her, I will make myself daint-ee!"). The payoff, of course, is that now he's the one pursued by an unpleasant-smelling amour.

Michael

6:59 PM  
Blogger Neely OHara said...

I remember after school and Saturday morning disappointment when the credits would reveal a Pepe about to unspool -- the same way I felt when a Speedy Gonzales cropped up, another one joke character.

I'd always feel I'd been cheated out of 7 minutes of Bugs, Daffy, Porky or Sylvester!

5:19 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

grbrpix@aol.com
  • December 2005
  • January 2006
  • February 2006
  • March 2006
  • April 2006
  • May 2006
  • June 2006
  • July 2006
  • August 2006
  • September 2006
  • October 2006
  • November 2006
  • December 2006
  • January 2007
  • February 2007
  • March 2007
  • April 2007
  • May 2007
  • June 2007
  • July 2007
  • August 2007
  • September 2007
  • October 2007
  • November 2007
  • December 2007
  • January 2008
  • February 2008
  • March 2008
  • April 2008
  • May 2008
  • June 2008
  • July 2008
  • August 2008
  • September 2008
  • October 2008
  • November 2008
  • December 2008
  • January 2009
  • February 2009
  • March 2009
  • April 2009
  • May 2009
  • June 2009
  • July 2009
  • August 2009
  • September 2009
  • October 2009
  • November 2009
  • December 2009
  • January 2010
  • February 2010
  • March 2010
  • April 2010
  • May 2010
  • June 2010
  • July 2010
  • August 2010
  • September 2010
  • October 2010
  • November 2010
  • December 2010
  • January 2011
  • February 2011
  • March 2011
  • April 2011
  • May 2011
  • June 2011
  • July 2011
  • August 2011
  • September 2011
  • October 2011
  • November 2011
  • December 2011
  • January 2012
  • February 2012
  • March 2012
  • April 2012
  • May 2012
  • June 2012
  • July 2012
  • August 2012
  • September 2012
  • October 2012
  • November 2012
  • December 2012
  • January 2013
  • February 2013
  • March 2013
  • April 2013
  • May 2013
  • June 2013
  • July 2013
  • August 2013
  • September 2013
  • October 2013
  • November 2013
  • December 2013
  • January 2014
  • February 2014
  • March 2014
  • April 2014
  • May 2014
  • June 2014
  • July 2014
  • August 2014
  • September 2014
  • October 2014
  • November 2014
  • December 2014
  • January 2015
  • February 2015
  • March 2015
  • April 2015
  • May 2015
  • June 2015
  • July 2015
  • August 2015
  • September 2015
  • October 2015
  • November 2015
  • December 2015
  • January 2016
  • February 2016
  • March 2016
  • April 2016
  • May 2016
  • June 2016
  • July 2016
  • August 2016
  • September 2016