Monday, May 01, 2006

One More Avery Cartoon

"Little Rural Riding Hood" (1949) is sort of the end of an era for Avery: it was his last cartoon with "Red," the sexy red-haired dancing girl he'd introduced in 1943's "Red Hot Riding Hood." In fact, the animation of Red in this cartoon is all recycled from an earlier cartoon, "Swing Shift Cinderella" (not available online), as Red's animator, Preston Blair, had left the studio the year before and no one else could animate the character the way Blair did. You can see, in the cartoon, a bit of a clash between Blair's Disney-trained style and the more streamlined, minimalist animation style of some of Avery's younger animators -- we're seeing a transition here from the rich, fluid animation of the '40s to the less elaborate '50s style.

"Little Rural Riding Hood" contains the single funniest line in any Avery cartoon, which occurs after the country wolf accidentally kisses a cow. (I don't know why it's funny; no analysis will help; but I do know that it brings down the house every time the cartoon is shown.) It also has a gag, involving the country wolf and a blanket, where he demonstrates that he is not "master of his domain"; this was also sort of the end of an era for Avery, who would tone down the sexual humour a bit in the '50s.



6 comments:

John said...

This cartoon also reunited Avery with his old Warners' animator Bob Cannon, who by the late 1940s had grown more and more disenchanted with working on "Warner Bros. rowdyism" (to borrow Fred Quimby's line), which of course was created by Tex to begin with.

Cannon's stop at MGM apparently was a waystation between stints at UPA prior to their acqusition of the Columbia release deal, and it would have been interesting to hear how he felt about animating on "Little Rural Riding Hood", given both how great it is and how far away it is from the cartoons like "Gerald McBoing Boing" he would later direct at UPA.

jorge garrido said...

I thought it was kind of a gyp how Red didn't interact with the wolves at all. But at least Avery quit when he was ahead and didn't try to make a whole bunch of post-Preston Blair Red cartoons.

Jenny said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jenny said...

Oh, D'OH! You just...um. said that. All that stuff about Blair && Red. jorge threw me off. Yeesh! *face reddening*

This is what happens when finger-happy clickin' girls go right to comments! My bad.

npetrikov said...

Not only recycled animation, but recycled music. Besides "The Arkansas Traveler," which dates from before the Civil War, I think, Red's number, "Oh, Johnny, Oh," was a hit in 1917, revived during WWII. So much so, that my father was a bit nonplussed to learn that it wasn't really a song from his generation, but from *his* father's.

What pleases me about this cartoon is the care in plotting: the City Wolf has to go to the country, of course. Here, he as a reason for doing so--giving his cousin a lift home. And the need to do so was set up when the Country Wolf's car dissolved, some scenes earlier. Now, how often do gags that good actually drive the story?

jorge said...

>>What pleases me about this cartoon is the care in plotting: the City Wolf has to go to the country, of course. Here, he as a reason for doing so--giving his cousin a lift home. And the need to do so was set up when the Country Wolf's car dissolved, some scenes earlier. Now, how often do gags that good actually drive the story?

Hey, you're right! I never noticed that!