Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Oh, Heck!

Bill Crider has a post about Henry Wilson Allen, who wrote Western novels under the name Will Henry, and wrote dozens of cartoons for Tex Avery under the name Heck Allen. Allen gave an interview about his cartoon work to Film Comment magazine in 1975. It's not really true, as Bill speculates, that he thought his work for cartoons "wasn't worthy"; he seemed quite proud of having worked on those cartoons. But he insisted that all the credit was Avery's; he said that unlike Chuck Jones, who had tremendous help from writer Michael Maltese, Avery was his own best gagman, his own best writer, and his writers (Allen and Rich Hogan) were around to help him realize his vision.

A number of the cartoons Allen wrote for Avery are Westerns, like "Wild and Woolfy" and "The Shooting of Dan McGoo." But I also notice that Allen wrote the cartoon "The Three Little Pups," which contains my single favorite gag in an Avery cartoon: in one scene, Droopy and two other dogs defeat the Wolf with a violent gag involving the destruction of their TV set. In the next scene, as the Wolf returns for another attempt, the dogs are watching TV; Droopy turns to the audience and says: "Now, don't ask us how we got the television set back."

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