Thursday, October 25, 2007

An Epic By Virgil

Seattle Chef has scanned and posted a 1989 interview with Warner Brothers animator Virgil Ross, who was one of the longest-serving animators at the studio: Tex Avery brought him over when he went to work for Warners in 1935, and after Avery left the studio Ross worked for Clampett for one year (Clampett didn't like his style of animating) and then for Friz Freleng for another 20 years.

His animation style, as I've written in earlier posts, is one of the most easily-identifiable of any animator, because no matter how much things changed in terms of characters, trends and budgets, Ross kept using the same tricks -- certain hand gestures, characters leaning over to one side -- in the same way. (Examples of Ross animation include the final scene of "Show Biz Bugs," the opening scene of "High Diving Hare," and This could give his animation a feeling of sameness because you could see him using the same basic acting styles for different characters, but few animators were ever better with facial expressions or understanding what you can do with the parts of the body that aren't being fully animated. (He always paid a lot of attention to the position of Bugs Bunny's ears, which may not sound like much but actually adds to the likability and charm that Bugs projects when Ross is animating him.)

[Via Golden Age Cartoons.]

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