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Monday, May 04, 2015

Warners Word Play Gets Fishy


Porky's Poor Fish (1940) Puns Around a Pet Store

Sometimes cartoon humor amounted to something you could get as easily from a printed joke book, as here with puns Bob Clampett uses to name fish as we pan by tanks in Porky's "Shoppe Around The Corner." Overuse of "corny" gags was something Tex Avery quickly got around to singling out; he knew it was coasting, said as much in self-aware gags, and tried to stay above such, as Clampett would have had he been let off the Porky conveyor before 1940 and dispiriting surfeit of Pig assignments. By Porky's Poor Fish, the star was pretty much out of action, most of this cartoon centered around a cat loose among presumed "poor fish." How then to arrange for these, confined in tanks, to overcome feline attack? Clampett and crew are adroit for milking action despite that handicap, and if Porky's Poor Fish is a lesser WB (most agree so), then at least there's ingenuity and nice tune backgrounds conveniently listed by title and composers at the IMDB page for Porky's Poor Fish, the cartoon itself to be had on Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume Four.

1 Comments:

Blogger Reg Hartt said...

The budgets on these were the lowest in the industry. Producer Leon Schlesinger said, "I don't want quality and I don't want it in the worst way." He added, "Let Walt Disney make chicken salad and win prizes. I will make chicken shit and make money." The directors used gags like the ones featured here to get footage as cheaply as possible. Then they used the money saved for special things they wanted to do. For example, Chuck Jones sandwiched WHAT'S OPERA, DOC (a lavish cartoon if ever there was one) between two Coyote and Roadrunner Cartoons. Looking for a follow-up to COAL BLACK AND DE SEBBEN DWARFS (which had cost a lot) Clampett brilliantly recycled the trip sequence from his PORKY IN WACKYLAND for his equally brilliant TIN PAN ALLEY CATS. The Warner Cartoons are a great example of an employer getting way more than they are paying for while all the while completely unaware of it. Contemporary fans sometimes complain about the use of recycled animation. I have found the ones who complain deliberately deaf to the why. Another cost saver that allowed more time and money to be used elsewhere was to redo a black and white LOONEY TUNE in color as a MERRIE MELODIES picture. Schlesinger got chicken salad but did not know it. As for making money, Friz Freleng told me everyone thought Disney would go broke and he fooled them by going broke in reverse. These people were fighters, a breed of whom there seem to be fewer year by year.

8:41 AM  

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