Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Knockout Mouse Cartoon

Cartoons within cartoons are always fun. Porky’s Preview is a silly parody of animation. And one of the best bits ever on The Simpsons was Krusty’s substitute short ‘Worker and Parasite.’

The concept wasn’t used much on Hanna-Barbera cartoons, though the one that may come immediately to mind is the episode of The Jetsons where Elroy’s classmate is watching the one-billionth rerun of The Flintstones. But a better example may be in the Pixie and Dixie short Cousin Tex, which opens with the mice watching ‘Knockout Mouse.’

This little sequence shows that you can animate anything. These are nothing but stick figures, like in Porky’s Preview, and Carlo Vinci still employs the old principle of squash and stretch that you’d find in old Warners shorts. See how the shape of the cat’s head changes. The body even reacts. Think you’d see that in Hanna-Barbera cartoons in the ‘70s?





As an added bonus, we get a little run cycle animated on ones.




Here it is, slower than in the actual cartoon. I like the way the cat’s outline tie moves as he’s running.


Since you’re curious, the music played during the whole ‘Knockout Mouse’ sequence is TC-42 Rural (registered with BMI as “Rural Stage”) credited to Bill Loose and John Seely. It was one of the rare times being used in an H-B cartoon (see comment below).

11 comments:

  1. "Rural Range"'s also found during the final "hat" gag in "Hokum Smokum", also an H-B cartoon, with Chief Crazy Coyote and Huckleberry Hound. But yeah, you're right, it wasn't used at all that I know of otherwise.

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  2. Another Pixie and Dixie that used the "cartoon within a cartoon" idea was "Mark of the Mouse" (the title of this short escapes me at the moment). In 1975, another cartoon within a cartoon was "Cosmic Cat and Meteor Mouse" on "The Tom and Jerry Show".

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  3. Now you know what happens when your notes are in a virus-laden computer being repaired. You try to rely on your memory. Thanks for catching that, Famous Clay Horse.

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  4. I remember our conversation away from this blog of " Rural Range " being played in a Red Skelton, Clem Kadiddlehopper sketch, and the Ghost Writer of that cue being none other than David Rose.

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  5. I'm recognizing the design which Ed Benedict made for this Pixie & Dixie episode.

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  6. Hi, Debbie. I didn't include 'Mark of the Mouse' because in the context of what's happening on screen, the 'Mark of the Mouse' show isn't treated like a cartoon.

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  7. Whoa there, Erroll...so DAVID ROSE-the famous composer [who did a number of stuff that does sound like production music and wrote many TV and movie and radio themes to boot] wrote that "Rural Range"..?

    That's pretty interesting.
    SC

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  8. TC-42 eh? Could you hum a few bars for me? How does that one go. Now you got me curious with the David Rose reference.

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  9. Doug, it's the last cue on reel L-2 (which I think you have).
    I'm going to post on all this when I do my Hi-Q piece later this month.

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  10. A similar situation was used in "THE FLINTSONES" episode "Hollyrock, Here We Come", when Betty and Wilma watch an "animated TV commercial" for "Mother McGuire's Meatballs" [more "stick-figure" animation, featuring two "tap-dancing" meatballs with "chipmunk" voices singing the sponsor's jingle]. "Love those animated commercials!", Wilma says admiringly.

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  11. This cartoon has one of the greatest ending lines, with a great read by Daws Butler, "Ehh, why don't I just keep quiet?"

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