On the Thunderbean Front:
Progress is moving forward on all sort of things. Spring break here has been all about catching up and more than touch all these projects- but crossing off things is pretty satisfying and it has been a whole week of that. Commentary tracks for Flip the Frog have been coming in and they’re a joy to listen to. As I was writing this, Milton Knight’s commentary for “Jailbirds” arrived and I’ve been smiling ever since!
I’m happy to report we are down to one film being finished for the first ‘Aesop’s Fables’ Blu-ray. I’m excited to get it out the door this month and off to replication.
Past Business Dept.
For one of my special sets, we’re trying to put together the top “Most Wanted” cartoons that we’re able to in good scans. Hold off on your suggestions for now – I’m having trouble with Google Docs in setting up a “Cartoons Most Wanted” Survey. I’ll try to have a way to get your ‘two cents’ set-up by next week. Thanks for your patience.
Usually I can find redeeming value in many not so great cartoons. In that spirit, I guess there are things about Dumb Like A Fox that are somewhat ok. Still, when you have seen a lot of Columbia cartoons, you get a pretty good idea of what the best of the studio looks like, and what really isn’t as good. That said, Dumb Like a Fox may very well be at the bottom of the list in terms of qualities.
The premise of the cartoon is simple: A nameless little hunting dog wants to catch a fox, urged on by his father (also nameless). The little guy bumps into a fox and doesn’t recognize it’s a fox. Then, the fox leads the little dog to a beaver, telling him it’s a fox. When that situation finishes (with no hilarity to be found anywhere) the fox leads the dog to a skunk. He takes the skunk home to his father, who then buries his child with dirt, leaving the fox to laugh and us to stare at what we’ve just seen in bewilderment.
What is really astonishing about Dumb Like a Fox is just how unfunny the whole film is. Not every film can be great, but what really puzzles me is how every aspect of this production is as mediocre as possible, from the overall layout of the picture to the timing of dialogue and gags. The whole effort just seems unwilling to try very much.
Mel Blanc at least livens things up a little bit with his voice performance of several characters, including a beaver that sounds a lot like the much later Marvin Martian at Warners. Perhaps the barely developed plot and limited amount of gags leads to the slowness of the whole production. Animation is hard. And hard to do well.
I haven’t been able to confirm the credits on this film (since all I have is an Official films print without credits) but I believe this cartoon has Allen Rose directing with Lou Lilly writing. The Copyright catalog lists no director.
I always think it’s pretty funny that Official Films made tons of 16mm prints of some of the least interesting of the Columbia cartoons and skipped a lot of really good ones. This scan is from a print I’ve has as long as I can remember.
Make sure to watch this less-than-classic in HD. Now, what is your worst one? Here’s mine:
Have a great week all!