Friday, May 19, 2006

More Frank Tashlin

Here are some more examples of the animation and live-action work of Frank Tashlin:

- One of my favourites among Tashlin's early black-and-white cartoons, "The Case of the Stuttering Pig," a Porky Pig cartoon (one of the few in which Petunia Pig makes an appearance; she would feature more prominently in comic books) that parodies horror/suspense movies while being pretty horrific and suspenseful in itself, with one of the first great Looney Tunes meta-gags. Billy Bletcher is the voice of Lawyer Goodwill.

- From Hollywood Or Bust, the opening sequence, involving two Tashlin trademarks: having characters talk directly to the audience about the movie they're about to see (Dean Martin welcoming movie fans everywhere while Jerry Lewis illustrates different types of movie fans around the world), and a title sequence consisting entirely of cheesecake poses, in this case featuring "guest star" Anita Ekberg. Tashlin hated credit sequences -- "who wants to read a bunch of names," he said -- so he always liked to put something under the credits that would "distract" the audience.

Incidentally, the writing credit for this film is misleading: Erna Lazarus had written a serious script about a road trip taken by two middle-aged people; Hal Wallis somehow decided to make it into a Martin-Lewis vehicle, and Tashlin wrote an entirely new script, but Lazarus still got the writing credit.

- And from Artists and Models, the "bat lady/fat lady" routine, one of the few Martin/Lewis comedy routines on film that can really stand up with the best of Abbott and Costello or other screen comedy teams. Though, Tashlin being Tashlin, he seems more interested in the young Shirley MacLaine's Bat Lady costume.


Christopher said...

I saw "The Fuller Brush Girl," which Tashlin wrote, not long ago, and based on your comments, I'm starting to think it's less than coincidental that one of that movie's key sequences takes place in a burlesque house, and that Tashlin contrived to get Ball out of her clothes and all dolled up as a sexy burlesque dancer.

Anonymous said...

Did you happen to notice the Onion AV Club this week did a whole thing about Archie Comics through the years that seems quite similar to your thesis on why they are good?

Buzz said...

WGA rules say the first writer on a script ALWAYS gets a credit, regardless of how many changes/revisions/new writers come aboard.