I’m as intrigued as you all are — an animation breakdown for a 1937 B&W Porky Pig cartoon?
Bob Clampett’s second cartoon, Get Rich Quick Porky – tentatively titled The Oily Bird Gets Porky — was his first at the Schlesinger studio without Ub Iwerks’ input (Iwerks laid out Clampett’s first directorial credit, Porky’s Badtime Story, before he left.) Looking at the draft, May 10th is the earliest date animation was known to begin, with a finish date as late as June 2nd, whereas the cartoon was released August 28th. Clampett’s promotion to director was announced in The Hollywood Reporter on May 20th. A month later, his unit moved back on the Warner lot, making this the last cartoon Clampett produced at the Iwerks Studio.
This entry is not subject to sheer bedlam, as would be Clampett’s trademark, but it is still part of the “home run” period that seemed to dwindle after Porky in Egypt. Avid cartoon fans might have watched this in countless PD home video compilations, albeit the Korean re-colored version. Besides Mel Blanc as Porky and storyman Cal Howard as the short-lived Gabby Goat, actor Earle Hodgins provides the voice (resembling radio actor Eddie Marr) for the oil huckster, Honest John. He had previously voiced the pill salesman in Porky the Rainmaker and the opening narrator in The Village Smithy, both Tex Avery Porky Pigs released a year earlier.
Besides established animators Chuck Jones, Norm McCabe, John Carey (credited as “Jack”) and Bobe Cannon, a large amount of footage belong to both Jerry Hathcock and Bill Hammer, two uncredited animators brought over from the Iwerks studio. It’s fascinating to see some of Cannon’s early animation, not bearing the earmarks of the “silly putty” quality that would later emerge in Jones’ own cartoons. John Carey’s scenes have a nice solidity in their drawing, with animation that uses smooth and even inbetweens (notice the movement of Porky and Gabby’s decision to sign the deed).
Besides being in charge of the character layouts in Clampett’s early cartoons, Jones’ draftsmanship in his work is clearly evident in his scenes, which includes the longest sequence (at around 99 feet). The posing and animation of the nonchalant magician gopher are just as graceful as the disappearing act he performs with a Pluto-esque hound’s bone. It’s also held together with a slight inkling of the gopher’s blasé demeanor that would later be inherited to Bugs Bunny.
There is an intriguing animator switch in the film where in scene 25B (animated by Hathcock, above left), Honest John exchanges a lone dollar bill to Porky for the deed. It switches to Norm McCabe’s animation (above right) when the camera pans down below where Gabby drills deep into the ground with the jackhammer. McCabe handles the continuation of the shot — panning back up — with Honest John, wringing his greedy hands. Note how different the drawing styles are. The clean-up in Hathcock’s work is fairly iffy while McCabe’s shows more consistency.
Once again, I’ve embedded an “animator breakdown” video, with the actual draft shown below. (I’m afraid the identity of “Gordon” is unknown at the time of this posting. “Tom” could be Iwerks’ staff animator Tom Massey.) Enjoy this video so saturated with oil that you could literally wring it out with your fingers!
Special Thanks for help on this post: Mark Kausler, Jerry Beck, Mike Kazaleh, Mike Barrier and Joe Campana.