Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Lah-ttle Bird Mouse

There’s no constant talk, talk, talk in “Little Bird Mouse,” one of the earliest Pixie and Dixie cartoons. There are plenty of places where the soundtrack consists of Geordie Hormel’s ‘ZR-48 Fast Movement’ and effects.

Being an early cartoon, it contains one of those Mike Lah animation inserts that Mike Kazaleh mentioned in the comment section of the blog a while ago. Lah’s characters are always expressive, far more than they became in other hands as the seasons wore on.

Here’s one of Lah’s scenes from “Little Bird Mouse” where Jinks gets his throat caught on a line while chasing Dixie. The set-up drawings...



Ring around the rope. A cycle of four drawings on twos.



Then a crash on the ground.



The bulk of the cartoon was drawn by Lew Marshall. Want to see the difference in the way he draws compared to Lah? The first drawing is Marshall, the second is Lah. See how Lah has no front whiskers on Jinks? That way he can move the mouth around on the cat’s face for dialogue without any obstructions.



If I may speculate, this cartoon could have had its genesis in “Bird Mouse,” a Tom and Jerry short that was abandoned when MGM closed its cartoon studio in 1957, as “Little Bird Mouse” is really unlike any other Pixie and Dixie cartoon.

2 comments:

  1. Lah's bulging eyes for Jinx in the second and third frames are very similar to the style he used for Butch or the Huck-ish wolf in his CinemaScope Droopy shorts, after some explosion or other type of accident (and the look may even go all the way back to the wolf's expression in the exploding tea pot gag from Avery's "Three Little Pups" which Lah animated on).

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  2. The opening shot of this cartoon could fit in one of those Lah Cinemascopes, too, J.L. Not surprising as Monty built it from Ed Benedict's layouts. It's a little less stylised than those, but I gather Barbera didn't want a lot of stylisation in these cartoons.

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