Tuesday, June 20, 2006

1938 at Warner Bros. - a pivotal year - WB finally becomes Looney

In 1938, Clampett's 2nd year of directing, he really came into his stride.

This is the first year where Warner Bros. cartoons really got "looney". They got sarcastic in 1935 when Tex Avery started directing, but the animation didn't really get crazy until Clampett started directing. Before him, the animation in Warner Bros. cartoons was very conservative and basically was there just to get you from one gag to the next in avisually expositional way.Clampett was the first animator's director.

Take a look at the lineup of cartoons from all the directors. Clampett had the most amount of crazy cartoons and the only truly fast-paced ones.

http://www.davemackey.com/animation/wb/1938.html


I urge you to see all these cartoons and watch how much in advance of the other units Clampetts' was. The irony is, he had the most handicaps of all the directors.

He had the youngest, least experienced animators. He was only allowed to make Porky Pig cartoons and only in black and white.

The other directors could work in color, had bigger budgets and could use any characters and subjects they wanted, yet none of them even came close to the amount of fresh ideas and imaginative animation that was in the Clampett cartoons.

No one used animators better than Clampett-in his cartoons the animation does a lot more than merely connect one gag to the next as it does in Avery's cartoons at the time.

The way the characters move in Clampett's cartoons is pure entertainment in itself-even with the ton of gags that already exist in the stories.

Take a look at "Porky and Daffy", a most generically titled cartoon with a most ungeneric style of animation and crazy gags.

The story is simple and has been done a million times-a weak character has to fight a professional boxer for cash. This time it's Daffy versus a big cock, with Porky as Daffy's manager.

The true focus of the cartoon though is-get this-a ballsack! In 1938!

Clampett designed a pelican to be the referee and gave him a one-nut sack for a chin.



Look at the amazing attention to the animation of this fluid package. The pelican's chin steals the scene all through the cartoon. It flops around, gets dragged across the canvas and each gag gets bigger and crazier until everything just goes insane at the end of the cartoon.



The great tasteful Chuck Jones did a lot of the animation of the nutsack!



I can just see Bob acting out the scenes by plopping his own package on Chuck's desk and dragging and bouncing it around while Chuck studied it and then animated it in a frenzy of creativity.



You have to compare the animation in this cartoon to the animation in Jones' own cartoons the same year and the next few after that. What a contrast!



By the standards of the animation industry in the 1930s, Warner Bros. was one of the most conservative of all the studios.

Clampett changed all that and soon the rest of the studios followed Warner Bros rather than Disney.



Side note: Some of you may wonder why I focus so much on Clampett in my posts on classic animation. Someone has to! He has been almost completely neglected by animation historians - even though he was the most influential and popular of the wacky cartoon style directors of the 1940s.

Had I never discovered Clampett I would be writing lots about Jones and Avery. They were my favorites until I found out about Clampett's 40s Warner Bros. cartoons. Plus there already is a ton of literature devoted to Jones and Avery.

The historians tend to pass over Clampett because the cartoons are just too rich and inventive and filmic for them to understand them. They like to write about things that are more obvious - like the concept behind a cartoon rather than the execution or performance and skill and entertainment value-let alone the animation itself!

Eddie and I have a theory that every person has a certain range of entertainment that he or she can sense or absorb. Kind of like how different animals have different ranges of the spectrum of light that they can sense.

Some people like just a little bit of entertainment and have a very small range of entertainment and sensory spectrum. They are easily satisfied with Friz or modern cartoons. Some like a few belly laughs and some cartooniness and go for Tex Avery. Some people are a little more sensitive to style and pomposity and love Chuck Jones. I love Jones and Avery too, but Friz is just too bland for me and you can tell that he doesn't care much about his cartoons anyway-it's just a job to him.

Then there are folks like me and Eddie and others who are greedy and can sense many different things happening at the same time, or in rapid succession. I want as much entertainment and sensory pleasure as someone great can throw at me. That's why I love Frank Sinatra, Elvis, Ella Fitzgerald, Al Jolsen, The Three Stooges, Monty Python and Bob Clampett. These people give their all. They don't hold back. They know they are entertainers and their responsibilty is to put on as orgasmic a show as possible and tittilate as many of our senses as they can in as large a dose as they can deliver.

Clampett's cartoons can be watched over and over again and you continue to find gags and visual treats that went over your head the first 20 times you watched the cartoon.

Most historians tend to be dry pseudo-intellectual types and their senses are limited to what creativity they can justify in words. One historian who wrote a very famous classic animation primer confided in me at a party at Clampett's that Clampett was by far his favorite director, but that he couldn't just say that in his book. He never explained why he couldn't say it.

I'll say it. Clampett has more skills and life than any other cartoon director in history and that's why I love his cartoons so much.

Eddie, you better comment! Milt too!

134 comments:

Art F. said...

Godamn! I loved this freakin' cartoon! takes me back to when i was a youngin. now that i'm older, it still hits home in the same places but i can now appreciate the timing and acting on a different level. thanks for posting this John! talk to you soon.

Art F.

Art F. said...

god! i just watched it again and i love when Daffy is inside the pelican's pouch and he's running around the ring! classic!!!

Aggie said...

Porky in Wackyland is one of my favourite cartoons from that time. I really wish they made the Do-Do Bird a permanent character.

Elisson said...

Like you, I think Clampett is the Underappreciated Genius of Warner Brothers. I'll take any Clampett cartoon over anything the massively overrated Chuck Jones has done.

Two words: Falling Hare.

CORKY said...

AHHH these were awesome John! You already heard about me pointing out all the parts of the cartoon I wished were still around (like the perspective and finding weird things in their pants) hahaha!

What the hell happened to cartoons like this? I think people forget how entranced they are when they see amazing stuff like these toons!

Kevin Langley said...

The last clip is wild, I love it. I love Clampett's cartoons because there's so much to take in you can watch them over and over and find something new each time. Great post.

Ben Chamberlin said...

It's nice to see someone referring to the Three Stooges as more than just a guilty pleasure. People will too often treat good slapstick like it's shallow comedy that only engages the most basic of mental functions and perceptions, when it's really so jam-packed with hilarity that most of the brilliance is missed if you only bother to watch it once.

Kristin said...

Aw my computer won't play them!!!:(

Shawn said...

You are so right! There isn't enough literature about Clampett. He's my most favorite Looney Tunes director of all time (Beany and Cecil too), and I have a hell of a time finding his stuff. There's books about the other directors; Chuck Jones has two freaking autobiographies (and they're both exactly the same damn book), but I can't find anything that gives enough respect to Clampett. I wish there was a collector's set of his cartoons for sale. I search for his cartoons 'til my eyes bleed and hardly ever have luck finding his cartoons. With a filmography as large as his, it's a shame that they don't release that stuff. His cartoons are some of the only one's that can satisfy my senses!

And I don't think you talk too much about Bob Clampett, John. I think he was an extremely interesting person, and I love learning about him. I don't know why other's should be afraid to give him the credit he deserves, but one of the reasons I look up to you John, is because you actually have the balls to say things that need to be said.

P.S. Did you know that Bob Clampett designed the very first Mickey Mouse doll? And he was just a kid.

stiff said...

I think you're dead-on with your "entertainment perception" theory, John. Unfortunately, I think it can be extended FAR beyond the realm of entertainment. Do you think it's possible to take advantage of that understanding on your part without dumbing down your toons?

Anonymous said...

My Personal Clampett Theory: His cartoons are the first ones a real cartoon lover sits up and takes notice of as a toddler, and then after you go thru fascination with all the other directors you come back to him later in life (like me) and are amazed. I recently watched a batch of favorites at 8x slow speed on DVD and they really both transcend and defy all others' formality. Many years ago I saw a bunch in the theater for the first time since very early childhood and was stunned by them. The sheer energy and innovation of his (relatively) small output have yet to be matched. Thanks for keeping him in the foreground of everyone's awareness.

max ward said...

I think Clampett is the only golden age cartoon director that realized that you can control every frame and every second of a cartoon, and he took advantage of that. I think John K. realizes the same thing.

max ward said...

And fuck Chuck Jones. What a cynical bastard. Everytime I read an interview with Chuck Jones, I get this feeling that he is trying to say he is weighed down by the label as a cartoonist. Fuck his high art Mark Twain quoting ass.

It's depressing how cartoony cartoonists like Clampett are shunned and Friz and Chuck Jones were and still are praised as the father's of Looney Tunes.

Another good example of a shunned cartoony cartoonist against radio illustraitors is John K. versus every modern cartoonist (Matt Groening, Seth McFarlene, and Butch Hartman).

Thad K said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Thad K said...

Personally, I feel sorry for Frank Tashlin, who had a clean-streak of absolute hits as a director, but it's swept under the rug with all this Clampett versus Jones crap.

- Thad

The Mighty Robolizard said...

Hmmm... I don't think Clampett is ignored due to his style, rather possibly becuase he left the Warner Bros. studio very early to pursue a show which was essentially walnuts compared to the golden bushel of opportunity which were the Looney Tunes.

Also, when describing him its hard for people to make him not overlap with Avery as the guy behind 'abstraction' [and Avery's career was much richer.] My reasoning behind this is also that 'Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarves' gets oodles of writing [even made Beck's top 50. Not bad for a cartoon whose heroes are ugly ugly stereotypes] simply because (a) Nobody at Warner's has ever done something so absurdly controversial quite so well [not to mention parody Disney] and (b) the cartoon is also Clampett in one of his finest moments, where animation goes into a form of jazz, which his other famous toon which gets attention 'Porky in Wackyland' also does.

Chuck Jones is known for the most auteuristic, interesting and experimental cartoons [wouldn't call him pompous. McKimson, whose cartoons would milk a gag until it weeped blood and the audience cringed at the sight had more than thier share of pompous moments... slow talking Bugs Bunny... but Jones was working in the fashion of Mark Twain: quiet people talking about quiet things. He was always leaning towards modernism and post modernism, as essentially every Wile E. Coyote cartoon or
If one wants to envelop the history of the Looney Tunes, Jones and Freleng dominate it because they were there in the 50's, when the work was at its smartest [in the Woody Allen sense] and at its most quintessential, while Avery is usually credited with creating 'wackiness' in cartoons [I wouldn't give the wackiness credit solely to Clampett, Avery, even at his earliest, clearly had a sense of abstraction that other studios were painfully hiding from, but if cartoons were ever truly rubber or truly archetypes, Clampett truly pushed that along more than any other director. Also, he was arguably the first subtly post modern of the Looney Tunes animators. So yay verily.]

So I wouldn't say its because they can't handle it. Its simply that the books tend to fly to the finale and the characters which stick out in the audience's mind the most [and except for Beaky Buzzard, Clampett's impression on them never stayed], and Clampett is thematically sandwhiched in between Tex Avery and Bosko the Talkink Kid. And that's all it pretty much is [I think].

How DO you feel about 'Coal Black' out of curiousity?

[Which is here... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EL6dsOpPoM&mode=suggested_some&search=looney%20tunes]

[Also, in Freleng's defense, I think he was funny. Like Jim Lee of comic book fame, he is quintessential, but viewed as generic sometimes because his cartoons had less of an auteur's stamp, but I say if Clampett was jazz, and Chuck Jones was post modernism, Freleng was Dixieland: amazing for what he's worth, and to those who like his music, he is worth a lot. I wouldn't say he doesn't care..[what is there to hate about 'A Hare Grows in Manhataan?'] Also have to agree with Thad. Tashlin was amazing, but like Clampett, he went off to do less famous things.]

A lengthy post? Yes. Yes it is. The Mighty Robolizard stomps away into the distance.

smallerdemon said...

Reading John K's blog has taught me more about cartoons and cartooning than anything else I have read. Just great stuff.

It also has educated me about why I have ended up liking certain modern cartoons more than others.

Highest on my list of contemporary cartoons has been Futurama, Invader Zim, and The Venture Brothers. And all of these seem to follow a lot of the rules of establishing distinct identities for characters via specific animation for specific characters and real attention to fluidity in animation.

Compare these contemporary shows to others like South Park and Family Guy, and I end up easily understanding why Futurama, Zim and Venture Brothers work so much better for me than SP and Family Guy for repeat viewing. Zim in particular I can watch over and over and continue to discover incredible new things. Even more so after reading John K's blog.

Danne8a said...

AMEN!!!

Ohjeepers said...

"Not bad for a cartoon whose heroes are ugly ugly stereotypes"

I’ve watched Coal Black tons of times, and I don't remember seeing any ugly stereotypes.

Comic exaggeration yes, Ugly Stereotypes no.

James

Anonymous said...

So' White is so fucking sexy.

Ugly? I think nay, good sir.

David Germain said...

The historians tend to pass over Clampett because the cartoons are just too rich and inventive and filmic for them to understand them.

Hmmmm........ I'd say it was moreso due to Clampett's controversial antics behind the scenes. I mean, how many history writers want to go in depth about Clampett continually putting his penis through a hole in the wall? On Vol. 2 of the LT dvd in the Bob Clampett documentary, ink & paint girl Martha Segall said, "at the time we considered Clampett... (hesitates)...kinda off the wall." It's like almost immediately she had to think of a 'nice' way of describing his antics at the studio. I guess that's what many books about Clampett would have been like if they had been written.

But yeah, it is a crying shame that not enough books have been written about Clampett. He is an important figure in Warner Bros. animation and really animation in general. Someone like Jerry Beck or whomever has the time, resources and money should get right making something like that.

Shawn said...

The animation of that nutsack is phenomenal!

Kali Fontecchio said...

I think I read in some animation book ," Clampett puts the looney in looney tunes" it's so true! You and him are both looney- I love it!

My youthful innocence has been tainted by that bird's gull! Damn you John and your nutsacks!

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j9 said...

i love the last part where he climbed out of his own sack, that f'n rules.

j9 said...

btw, whats up with the real estate loans bs post? are you getting spammed on your own blog??

queefbizzle said...

Invader Vim was terrible.

The Butcher said...

Show the whole cartoon damn it! Look, I love classic cartoons, and I just can't bring myself to buy DVD's of Warner Brothers classics when I hear so much bad stuff about them and such good things about the laser disc copies. I'm saving for a laser disc player and then I'll work on building a collection of classic stuff, but until then, PLEASE, PLEASE! Show me some goddamn Looney Tunes! To hell with Cartoon Network! Acme hour was once my only reason to live.

Now I hear CN doesn't show any classics anymore. That entire network is obsessed with Scooby Doo. I really hate Scooby and all the hippy bullshit that goes with it! Real great danes are appealing, loveable, and just plain cool. Scooby is a poorly drawn pussy that gets stoned and eats way too much. Not a good show for children or anyone for that matter.

Looney Tunes or Popeye... or something!!!....PLEASE!! My eyes are burning! I'm dying for them. I couldn't care less about anything else ever since John posted the Bugs scene about gremlins. That brought me back. I want to watch it. I want to watch brilliant things.

I'm sorry. Drunken post. But still, it holds truth, right? This shit is well worth begging for.

ToonBard said...

Wow, i remember this cartoon from when i was little.

Comparing it to cartoons of today and even ones of yesteryear you can still see which one would come out on top.

J. J. Hunsecker said...

I love hearing about Clampett! MORE!

I always thought that Clampett really cared about animation and pushed the boundaries of what it could accomplish, too.

Martha Sigall describes Clampett in glowing terms in her autobiography.

Frank Tashlin, Carl Stalling, and in one book I read, Friz Freleng all complimented Clampett, too.

Chuck Jones and Mel Blanc didn't seem to like him, though.

Stan Freberg related a story about how Clampett didn't have an office while making the "Time For Beany" television show, so he and his writers would find an empty unlocked car parked on the street and enter it. Once inside Clampett would turn on the car light, thus wasting the car battery, and Stan and Daws Butler(?) would type the scripts with portable typewriters on their laps. Eventually the car's owner would approach and find the 3 men inside. Clampett would explain that he thought this particular car belonged to one of his friends and apologize. The men would leave, walk down the street and search for another empty, unlocked car.

David Germain said...

Martha Sigall describes Clampett in glowing terms in her autobiography.

I'll have to find that and read it. btw, I never said that she hated Clampett, I said she had a hard time finding a way to describe him on that dvd documentary. If I was at Trmite Terrace back in the day, I imagine I would too.

And, in defence of Avery, (in Clampett's own words) he didn't want to unleash a cartoony furor right away. He wanted to ease the zaniness in little by little so that theatre audiences wouldn't be too shocked by it. I guess Clampett rushed this process faster than Tex was going to, and thank God he did. B)

Also, John, about the real estate posting guy, he violates your agreement with the Adsense deal you have. I'd suggest deleting that immediately.

Anonymous said...

Tex Avery > Bob Clampett.

Warner Bros was always great but the stuff Tex did at MGM has to go down as the funniest stuff in history.

I don't remember the names, but the ones about the cat who ca throw his voice, the miracle grow w/ cat, dog, mouse and bird, and screwy squirrel were all classic.

Anonymous said...

Tex Avery > Bob Clampett.

Warner Bros was always great but the stuff Tex did at MGM has to go down as the funniest stuff in history.

I don't remember the names, but the ones about the cat who ca throw his voice, the miracle grow w/ cat, dog, mouse and bird, and screwy squirrel were all classic.

The GagaMan(n) said...

Oh yes. The more Clampett coverage the better. Great post!

Anonymous said...

Bill Plympton has some interesting things to say about Clampett in this interview

Hans Grotz said...

"[Also, in Freleng's defense, I think he was funny. Like Jim Lee of comic book fame, he is quintessential, but viewed as generic sometimes because his cartoons had less of an auteur's stamp, but I say if Clampett was jazz, and Chuck Jones was post modernism, Freleng was Dixieland: amazing for what he's worth, and to those who like his music, he is worth a lot. I wouldn't say he doesn't care..[what is there to hate about 'A Hare Grows in Manhataan?'] Also have to agree with Thad. Tashlin was amazing, but like Clampett, he went off to do less famous things.]
"

I was "giving" you all credits to the text you wrote till you metion Jim Lee,what the hell a uninteresting super-hero cartoonist had to do with all that.Super-heroe comics )now a days)are far from art,merchandise yes,art no.

P.C. Unfunny said...

"Personally, I feel sorry for Frank Tashlin, who had a clean-streak of absolute hits as a director, but it's swept under the rug with all this Clampett versus Jones crap."

Frank Tashlin did great work along with is often ignored, also the few cartoons Art Davis directed.

Anonymous said...

>>Super-heroe comics )now a days)are far from art,merchandise yes,art no.

ugh, I hate when people say stuff like that. Art is such a ridiculously poorly defined term, you could argue that super-hero comics are just as much art as anything else just as you could argue that they're categorically not art and neither are Bob Clampett cartoons. Who gives a fuck what is art and what isn't, what matters is how interesting or entertaining it is. If something entertaining is made for entirely comercial reasons it doesn't make it any less entertaining.

Gabriel said...

Not bad for a cartoon whose heroes are ugly ugly stereotypes

I guess I don't get those stereotypes bcause I'm not american. All I see is lots of black people! And they sing, but I'm pretty sure there are black people who sing. Just like there are italians in the mafia, but if you portray them today somehow people think you're saying all italian people belong to the mafia. This world is just too anally pc...

Gabriel said...

Oh, and that Daffy is the best version EVER!

fabiopower said...

waw John, this post was a true Declaration of principles with respect to Bob Camplett…! Tell me, John, you have thought writing about all this for the future animators?
I think that you are an excellent professor.
Someday I will invite a coffee to you!

Anonymous said...

Hey John, do you think Jones' book, "Chuck Amuck", is worth looking at?

The Masked Gourmand said...

Frank Tashlin tends to the fuzzy end of the lollipop, too, and I would think that some of his innovations timing-wise would have influenced Clampett's gag-a-second style.

Someone else made a good point that some of the relative obscurity of Tashlin and Clampett might be that they both left WB after a relatively short period of time. Freleng and Jones were there for a long time and Avery is mostly known for his MGM cartoons.

Dr.Awkward said...

Sorry to digress, but about Seth MacFarlane;
what more do you need to know about the man other than the fact that a shit-licking magazine like Rolling Stone would put him in their magazine as a "badass" pop-cult figure?

JohnK said...

Sorry, but I just deleted a comment that was too long and had nothing to do with my post about Clampett...

JohnK said...

>>Frank Tashlin tends to the fuzzy end of the lollipop, too, and I would think that some of his innovations timing-wise would have influenced Clampett's gag-a-second style.<<

If you wanna figure out who did what first, I suggest watching the cartoons by the different directors from the early years.

Mike Fontanelli, Eddie Fitzfgerald and a few other of us do that and when you see what everyone was doing in 1937 and 38, it's pretty obvious to us who was the most energetic, creative, innovative and pushed the boundaries the most. In fact, there doesn't seem to even be a contest. The other cartoons seem to be asleep by comparison.

Do it yourself and see what conclusions you come up with.

Anonymous said...

The Beany & Cecil DVD is a treasure trove of Bob Clampett information, interviews, film clips, etc. But a book could go into so much more depth about his career; youth at Warners, the various puppet shows, the animated series . . . there were even Beany & Cecil restaurants for a while! Suposedly Bob kept all sorts of models, artwork, etc wherever he worked, and his son Bob is a great spokesperson (read a sad but fascinating response to Michael Barrier's Clampett interview). Any part of his career could make a great read.

Vermaquale said...

In my animation history class when we were lerning about the WB cartoons they talked alot more about Chuck Jones, Tex Avery and Friz Freeling alot more than Bob Clampett. They showed us Tale of Two Kitties and that was it for Bob Clampett.They didn't even say anything about Frank Tashlin or Robert McKimson.So I guess your right about how Bob Clampett being way underrated even though I went to a crappy college.

I think that Freeling ruined Tweety. The Clampett Tweety animations are awesom.

Why did he leave WB anyways was it to do Beany and Cecil?

David Germain said...

Why did he leave WB anyways was it to do Beany and Cecil?

Don't go there. <:(

Franfou said...

Hey John,

I always felt that there is something similar between Sponge Bob series and Ren&Stimpy in the style.... not the humor obviously....Maybe the coloration,the weird background, style, the close up scenes on stop, etc..is there are mutual animators or colorists in those 2 series ? both from Nickelodeon...

Im not a animator, more an illustrator so my knowledge of animation is not as good as you....

antikewl said...

Hey John -- I've just watched your commentary on The Great Piggy Bank Robbery on the Looney Tunes Golden Collection Vol 2 DVD. Superb stuff!

I have an even bigger admiration for Clampett's work now. I urge anyone who doesn't have these DVDs to go get them. Lovely stuff.

Annoyingly, Vol 3 still haven't come out in the UK. I think I'm going to have to get an import to hear more of John and Eddie!

kp said...

I wish I knew more about Clampett a long time ago. Thanks for these posts, I love learning about him and his work. Truly a shame how overlooked he is in the books.

stinkfish said...

> Hey John, do you think Jones' book, "Chuck Amuck", is worth looking at? <

I dunno what John thinks, but my answer is "no".

Franfou said...

Here in Quebec ( french part of Canada ) tought that we had many american cartoons, we were more limited in quantity than you , but one of our classic from Bob Clampett series was Boutchou et Casse-cou ( Beany and Cecil , I think ) ... I have been watching this series often when I was kid...the end of the entrance song said : ....et Bob Clampett et vouuuuuus! ha ha !
a classic !! Great style in this serie !

Anonymous said...

This is a great post. Lots of good stuff. These are the best kinds of glimpses into your thinking and influences.

I love Bob Clampett, I dote, I fawn, I swoon and I pound the floor at the brilliance and innovation & sheer high spirits of his cartoons--everything he ever worked on in fact but especially his WB cartoons. I also dig Jones.

I also love many of the cartoons of Friz Freleng.

So what does that say about your theory of a limited spectrum of entertainment, only enjoyable by those with the requisite spectrum-spanning glasses?
Cartoons made over a period of decades that we sit and enjoy now all at once if we choose aren't some kind of a contest, a "who's better than who" or "who's retarded(literally, mentally or artistically stunted as you put it)in their ability to appreciate REAL good stuff"? Why not take each on its own and if you don't like one or another, leave them out. It doesn't make the good cartoons better by comparison with what you(but not millions of other Clampett fans)think are lousy, dull cartoons.
imho Jones in addition to being wonderfully talented, was a bitter, self-obsessed bore, so wildly mean-spirted towards Clampett(I really don't care WHAT Bob did to him, there's no excuse-I don't care if it was deeply personal-you get over stuff, you move on and if you're really a great man you give even your enemy his rightful due, which Jones NEVER did for Bob). I sy this because you love both Clampett & Jones, and Hate Freleng's work; but while Jones made a big deal out of ignoring and marginalizing Clampett,
what did poor Friz ever do for him to come in for such brickbats from you?
It's not as if Clampett suffers from dull writers' comparisons to Friz. Clampett's a genius--he doesn't need to be built up by always bringing up other directors, even Tex-does he?

As for why that writer told you he loved Clampett best, but didn't put it in his book? I'll guess that's because the book was supposed to be a somewhat impartial history of american cartoons, not a personal memoir where his own opinions and preferences were what the Warner Bros chapters were about. It'd be positively bizarre to be reading that book and suddenly have the author jump in and declare "And BOB CLAMPETT is the best director, in MY opinion!" He made himself perfectly clear to anyone in his individual discussions of Clampett's work. Did you really think he should have inserted himself as a character in his history?
btw, you'll be happy to know that HUNDREDS of people, if not thousands, have done just what you and your pals have and sat down and watched LTs and MM cartoons and figured out how fantastic and unique Clampett's were....it's not a trade secret! I've been to many, many screenings of the early WB cartoons with a packed audience and everyone is howling at Clampett, which I'm sure will make you happy!

P.C. Unfunny said...

"but Friz is just too bland for me and you can tell that he doesn't care much about his cartoons anyway-it's just a job to him."


I guess that he must have hated the 60+ years he put in his animation career along with all those academy awards he won, I am not saying the awards are a measure of greatness but I think that shows he took his work to heart.I like your blog and you seem to be a smart man John but when you say something like this. *sigh*

Anonymous said...

Which books have you been readin' that overlook Clampett? It sure as hell ain't Leonard Maltin's "Of Mice and Magic", Steve Schneider's "That's All Folks!", or anything by Jerry Beck. That's a pretty big list of books that give Clampett attention.

Or maybe you just use your impression of Mike Barrier as a 'dry, psuedo-intellectual' to judge all historians?

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

I agree with John 100%! When I watch a cartoon or read a book or listen to piece of music I never do it casually, just to pass the time. I do it because I want to have my mind blown! Because I want to go somewhere I've never been before! Because I want to be exposed to something that'll change my life! Clampett's the only director that delivers on that level.

It seems to me that Friz appeals to people who like films that are amusing and professional and unthreatening, sort of the film equivalent of a quiet, afternoon tea. That's OK, we all need quiet moments. But the way I look at it, I only have a few decades to live. Life is too short to spend too much of it under canopies, sipping tea. I want experiences! I want insight! I want to feel what life is like before I'm snuffed out! I don't have time for Friz!

-Eddie Fitzgerald

cableclair said...

I remember this one too. It's one of those that give me this magical happy feeling inside. The same joy that I had back then when I was small and the kind of joy and wonder I still feel over silly small stuff and just feel pure bliss and hapiness. It's stuff like this that makes life ever so much more enjoyable! WOOT! Life is good!

Sam said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sam said...

I love the late 30's Clampett cartoons! My favorite is Porky's Party.

Did Chuck Jones work on that one?

Sam

Dan said...

What are some cartoons that Clampett was an animator for?

trevor said...

i've been drawing two mice characters in various print form since i was eight. their names are manx and itchy and not much about their personalities has changed in twenty years.

but, about ten years ago i started studying clampett more and chuck and friz less. i never looked too seriously at comic drawing styles, and chuck and friz didn't have styles that made me wet my pants. i wanted something that would be cartoony but hard to draw.

clampett got me there, especially in what i now identify as rod scribner, manny gould and bill melendez' art styles, with an occasional nod to 'structure' in the form of something from mckimson's pen in the 40's.

the cool thing was is that i once got asked in orlando if i drew for ren and stimpy ( they assumed because nickelodeon was at universal and i a local i would have had the opportunity or the desire.... fuck Games ). they go "you have a john k. drawing style".

since mike peters ( who draws 'mother goose and grimm' )told me about john's interest in bob, that's when i started looking at clampett with fresh post-traumatic-chuck-disorder ( mike and he were also really good buddies ) eyes.

john, if i send you an animatic storyboard of manx and itchy's picnic to a local park where manx meets a fairy who doesn't wear pants, would you critique it?

i love this blogspot, especially since i can't find my preston blair book anywhere ( my dad also lost a chuck jones handwritten letter and bugs drawing on legal paper ).

good to see you're still kicking, kricfalusi!

your manly five bucks fan,

- trevor thompson.

Roberto González said...

Yeah, it's true that Jerry Beck usually talks about Clampett in his books. It's also true (and sad) that at least here in Spain whenever I bought Looney Tunes videotapes they were always Jones, Freleng and Mckimson stuff. It wasn't sad then, cause I didn't know Clampett. When I discover his cartoons in Cartoon Network I wanted some of those in videotapes. It wasn't until the dvds they include some (actually they included Bugs Bunny Gets The Boid in one videotape and some other stuff in poor quality pirate videos).

I actually think old Friz cartoons like A Hare Grows in Manhattan and Slick Hare are superb, though, I know I already mentioned it before. For me it seems all the directors were better at the beginning (except perhaps Jones) so I don't understand why they kept including so much of the later McKimson or Friz stuff there. Luckily the dvds are more devoted to the early years. I haven't watched these Porky Pig early stuff and it looks like fun. I think they are including those in the Golden Collection. I'm counting the days for the next set in Spain.

Anyway I also like Jones and Tex a lot. I don't know if I prefer Clampett to Avery's MGM stuff. I mean, the MGM shorts were beautiful in therms of color and design. Clampett's were too, but it seemed to be less budget in it. I love the way the characters deliver their lines in Jones' cartoons, the dialogues between two characters when they have a discussion, that's something very interesting for humor.

Roberto González said...

Incidentally, what's that stuff about Clampett continually putting his penis through a hole in the wall? Never heard of that before.

max ward said...

Hey John

Off topic but important.

The Lost Episodes DVD is now $19.87, but when I pre-ordered it the price was around 23 or 24 dollars. Do I still pay $23-$24 or am I paying $19.87?

Roberto González said...

And yet another petition, I have been asking for this a lot...but I won't stop until I get some answer. I'm really interested on John K's opinion about animated MOVIES. Which long feature is the best one ever for him (if there's any)and which ones go after that one...I would really like to read a post about that.

(My own theory is that there are some good animated movies-I specially like The Three Caballeros, for example, and some modern ones- but there's probably nothing as perfect as a lot of classic shorts. I suspect this is mr John k's opinion too, but he has to have some fave ones even if they are not perfect)

Jerry Beck said...

Clampett is my favorite cartoon director. I'm proud to have had the opportunity to say it to his face. Like John, Milt, and others, I got to know Bob personally in the last decade of his life. He was a great man in addition to being the best cartoon director of all time.

It's interesting to compare the pelican in this film, PORKY & DAFFY, to the pelican in Tashlin's later Columbia cartoon, THE TANGLED ANGLER. Clampett's uses the pelican referee's "nut sack" (as John calls it) in hilarious ways.

I've said this before, and I'm sure others have too: Clampett put the "Looney" in LOONEY TUNES.

P.C. Unfunny said...

One thing I must add, has anyone beeen looking at recent Looney Tunes greeting cards recently ? The character designs actually resemble those of Robert Mckimson's designs for the Clampett toons during the 1940s, not the ugly designs of today.

Jesse Oliver said...

Hey John

It would be so cool if WB would make a DVD collection of all of Bob Clampett's classic cartoons, including the ones that were banned. If this collection was possibal they should ask you and Eddie to introduce or commentate on the cartoons. Again it would be cool to have all of Bob Clampett's WB classics from 1938 to 1946 on DVD. Is that right John? (1938 to 1946) I'm not sure if he left WB in 1946 or 1947, I know you would know that more then me.

your pal,

Jesse

Chris Wyatt said...

I think you're right about Bob Clampett cartoons. Even though Tex Avery's cartoons were a lot edgier and laugh-out-loud hilarious than the crap that came out before, Bob Clampetts had that quality and they were (probably) the most wild and frenetic 'toons at the time, he was a true animation pioneer.

Jesse Oliver said...

Tex Avery & Bob Clampett were ANIMATION KINGS!!!!!!

Marc Deckter said...

Dan said...
What are some cartoons that Clampett was an animator for?


Hi Dan -

If you go to the Robert Clampett page on imdb, scroll down to "Miscellaneous Crew - Filmography" and you'll find about 26 cartoon Clampett animated on --- including PORKY'S DUCK HUNT.

Hope this helps!

David Germain said...

Incidentally, what's that stuff about Clampett continually putting his penis through a hole in the wall? Never heard of that before.

Sometime in Termite Terrace's early history, someone gauged a huge hole in the wall. This gave young Clampett an idea. Right away he drew eyes above the hole and a mouth underneath. Then he would shove his penis through the hole to make the nose. But, he only did this whenever a tour group came in to learn about how the studio worked. This got the biggest and most horrified reactions from people I guess.

JohnK said...

Uh..David you are getting your stories all mixed up.

JohnK said...

>>It would be so cool if WB would make a DVD collection of all of Bob Clampett's classic cartoons, including the ones that were banned. If this collection was possibal they should ask you and Eddie to introduce or commentate on the cartoons. <<

Well I already pitched that idea to the folks who put out the Loney Tunes DVDs.

I called it: "Bob Clampett and The Looniest Looney Tunes"
It was going to feature every Clampett cartoon and then cartoons that other directors did that were influenced by him or were really wacky in their own right.

Nothing but all the craziest Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies all on one set.

Instead they put out whole sides of Speedy Gonzales cartoons or Tweety and Sylvestor.

Warner Bros. does everything they can to kill their "franchise".

Eric C. said...

John,

You should join forces with Danny Antonucci and Matt Groening.

That would RULE!!!

_Eric

Brian Romero said...

As a kid back in the late 70's and early 80's I always changed the channel when Speedy Gonzales, Sylvester/Tweety or Roadrunner cartoons came on. Now I have the Looney DVDs with a few gems sprinkled throughout these cartoon turds. Idiots!

JohnK said...

>>Which books have you been readin' that overlook Clampett? It sure as hell ain't Leonard Maltin's "Of Mice and Magic", Steve Schneider's "That's All Folks!", or anything by Jerry Beck. <<

They all give him grudging consideration. It's all backhanded compliments if any and they all say he didn't understand Bugs Bunny even though he made the best Bugs cartoons by far.

None of them come out and say (even the ones that believe it) that he was the guy behind not only the loony humor, but the strong personalities of the characters.

They all say stuff like, Jones later "refined" the characters when really what he did was tone them down and give them less personality and a lot less animation.

Clampett was the driving force behind Looney Tunes and he made the studio famous and the other guys all benefited from his popularity. He was the first one to make fast cartoons-I mean super fast and he crammed his cartoons with more ideas and gags by far than anyone else.

Jones wanted to make cute cartoons. Freleng wanted to make dancing teapot cartoons. The success of Clampett's humor forced them to reluctantly follow in his wake.

Jones was definitely a huge talent but he would never have been heard of had he not been forced by Leo Schlesinger to copy Clapett against his will.

Avery didn't start making fast cartoons till the mid forties-years after Clampett did. He never made personality cartoons and he mainly repeated a few formulas over and over again-good funny ones but very simple formulas.

I'll talk about all that in detail later, so try not to explode just yet.

If you do, back up your theories like I do with examples so everyone can look at them and see if they agree.

It's nice to see Jerry here come out and finally say it.I wish Warner's would let him say it in the books.

Hey Jerry, let's make that Clampett/Looney DVD I'm talking about-and let's get them not to ruin the prints!

P.C. Unfunny said...

" Warner Bros. does everything they can to kill their "franchise" "

Quoting someone on the net, "The WB treats the Looney Tunes like un-wanted step children". I remember listening to a behind the scenes extra about restoring the cartoons on the third volume of the LT golden collection, some WB guy said the Looney Tunes deserve the best treatment.I damn near busted a artery when I heard that shit. This is coming from the people who made "Baby Looney Tunes" and "Duck Dodgers".

P.C. Unfunny said...

"Freleng wanted to make dancing teapot cartoons."

As I much I find most of your opinions about Friz completley foolish, that was funny.

william wray said...

John:" Eddie and I have a theory that every person has a certain range of entertainment that he or she can sense or absorb. Kind of like how different animals have different ranges of the spectrum of light that they can sense."

This theory makes total sense. It's the same thing with food. The reason bland food is so popular is the majority of people can't take a lot of flavor. I also think those it people like bland food because they can eat a lot of it and get fat. You can only eat so much highly flavored or spiced food, (Except Doritos) which are filled with some kind of addictive Monsanto drug.

Julián höek said...

hi john. thank for the post about clampett. i'm learning a lot about the golden age of animation from your blog . i hope that the clampett dvd come out some day soon. i got some of his short from emule but are in very low quality and if i copy them to a dvd will look like crap.
btw, thanks to anonymous for the audio interview of plympton!!! that guy rules!!!
do you like plympton's animated shorts john?

Jesse Oliver said...

"RIGHT ON JOHN!"

If the Clampett/Looney Tunes DVD happends they should have you draw the DVD cover. I would love to see "Hare Ribbin", "Tin Pan Alley Cats" and other Clampett classics on DVD! I also love the cool Clampett art work you and Lynn Naylor did years ago.

your pal,

Jesse

P.S. Hey Jerry, "WE WANT A WB CLAMPETT COLLECTION ON DVD!!!!!!"

Anonymous said...

"It seems to me that Friz appeals to people who like films that are amusing and professional and unthreatening, sort of the film equivalent of a quiet, afternoon tea."

Oh, please.
Why is it so important for some guys to make these silly blanket statements about why other people like this or that?
I like Friz, and love some of his cartoons. I LOVE and revere Clampett, and all of his cartoons.
People are, you know, complex. Even mere cartoon lovers.

Anonymous said...

Who'd watch all those dull Porkys in one setting? I mean, they're important, but about half of them aren't entertaining.

I guess it'd show that not every Clampett short was a hit and he was not above turning out a dull or rotten cartoon. Ever see "Porky's Five and Ten", "Chicken Jitters", "Pied Piper Porky", "Porky's Snooze Reel", "Farm Frolics" or "Goofy Groceries"?

NO director or series is watchable in that kind of setting.

Anonymous said...

This pity party is horeshit. All anyone hears about is how great Clampett is. Besides Hollywood Cartoons I'd love to know of a history with backhanded compliments. It sure as hell isn't one of Lenny's or Jerry's.

rodney said...

"but Friz is just too bland for me and you can tell that he doesn't care much about his cartoons anyway-it's just a job to him."

Are you SERIOUS?! Anytime you read about Friz, you read about how much of a perfectionist he was, and how he was so hard to work for because everything had to be perfect. Yeah, sounds like a guy who doesn't care about his cartoons.

And really, all we hear about is how amazing and brilliant Bob Clampett is. It really does get tiresome after awhile. Yeah, 1938 was a great year for his shorts. He completely defined the character of Porky during that year. Then he got sick of him in 1939 and pretty much undid all of the good that he did in the previous year.

Also, this mentality that you have to be an "artist" to appreciate Clampett simply isn't true. He did some great stuff, but just like everyone else, not every short was a hit. The trouble is that a lot of people think that everything he did was a hit, and if you don't agree, suddenly they think you don't know anything about animation.

rodney said...

And really I'd gouge my eyes out if I had to watch a 4 disc set from ANY director. The selection of the shorts on the DVD sets is fine. That's why so many people buy them. They have to appeal to more people than you and your friends.

Kevin W. Martinez said...

"I guess it'd show that not every Clampett short was a hit and he was not above turning out a dull or rotten cartoon. Ever see "Porky's Five and Ten", "Chicken Jitters", "Pied Piper Porky", "Porky's Snooze Reel", "Farm Frolics" or "Goofy Groceries"?"

I never thought i'd see something like this posted on John K's blog without it being torn apart.

I agree with that 99% (99% because I would've included Rover's Rival in that list as well).

I'm also going to have to agree with Rodney that the slection on the Golden Collections is fine as is, and that a 4-disc set dedicated to single WB director would be too much (1-disc deals would be better IMO)

Adwardo said...

I thought Clampett was always regarded pretty much by everyone as the best director. ??? Anyway his cartoons are definatley the best.

David Germain said...

Uh..David you are getting your stories all mixed up.

Whose penis was it then? :(

They all give him grudging consideration. It's all backhanded compliments

Actually, I do sense a bit of that in the dvd sets. I can think of three elements that seem to smack of "anti-Clampett-ism".

1. In the commentary for Tweetie Pie, Greg Ford notes that Tweety is quite active against Sylvester stating "Oh this is more of a Clampett Tweety here" and seemed to state begrudgingly that Tweety was much more sadistic and violent under Clampett's direction.

2. Greg Ford again in the commentary for Thugs With Dirty Mugs. Again with a scowl in his voice he mentions that the pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey gag was reused in Clampett's The Great Piggybank Robbery.

3. Clampett's cartoon The Film Fan is right after Friz' She Was An Acrobat's Daughter. The unfortunate part about this is that Clampett reused animation from Friz' film. It's almost like this was done deliberately to make average Joe Blow say "Oh, Clampett stole from Freleng." Geez, you'd have to be extra careful arranging the line up of Friz' toons the way he reused animation from his own films or someone else's. Why put these particular examples together?

These are just some observations I've made. Please someone tell me I'm wrong about the "anti-Clampett-ism". :(

Anonymous said...

"These are just some observations I've made. Please someone tell me I'm wrong about the "anti-Clampett-ism". :("

You're wrong.

P.C. Unfunny said...

"Clampett's cartoon The Film Fan is right after Friz' She Was An Acrobat's Daughter. The unfortunate part about this is that Clampett reused animation from Friz' film. It's almost like this was done deliberately to make average Joe Blow say "Oh, Clampett stole from Freleng." Geez, you'd have to be extra careful arranging the line up of Friz' toons the way he reused animation from his own films or someone else's. Why put these particular examples together?"

Eh, I don't think that means any "Anti-Clampett".

Jorge_Garrido said...

>It's nice to see Jerry here come out and finally say it.I wish Warner's would let him say it in the books.

Jerry said that before oon toonzone.net. Someone asked him who his favourite director was, and Jerry said "Not to sound like John K, but Clampett"

jorge garrido said...

Also, John your theory of trhe entertainment spectrum doesn't make any sense. Let's say it goes in order from bland to entertaining in this order: Friz, Jones, Tex, Bob. You'd like only the last three, but I'd like all four, so my spectrum would be wider. Likewise, someone who only liked Friz would hvae a small spectrum. But the MORE things that entertian you, the biggger spectrum you have. The fact that John needs to have tons of entertainment, but not so muhc Friz style entertainment, means he's got a narrower spectrum that someone who likes everything.

Also, John, you're my favourite modern day cartoonist, and I think you're a genius, so I mean this with the utmost respect: You're not fit to wash Friz' cells. But then again, few are.

>Hey Jerry, let's make that Clampett/Looney DVD I'm talking about-and let's get them not to ruin the prints!

Sounds good. As far as I know the digital restoration used in the golden collection didn't affect the prints themselves so you could probably use those or the original negatives. John could draw Bob on the cover in a condom suit.

>>Whose penis was it then? :(

Clmapett told the story in the Barrier interview but he dind't say he did it himself.

>>Actually, I do sense a bit of that in the dvd sets. I can think of three elements that seem to smack of "anti-Clampett-ism".

I think that's being paranoid.

The reason historians dind't want to say Clmapett was the best was so they'd stay on Chuck's good side. Read Milt's essay on michaelbarrier.com for more info on Jones' enemies list. (I bet John has an enemies list)

>Greg Ford again in the commentary for Thugs With Dirty Mugs. Again with a scowl in his voice he mentions that the pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey gag was reused in Clampett's The Great Piggybank Robbery.

Greg ALWAYS sounds like that, you're trying too hard ot find things that aren't there.

>
[even made Beck's top 50. Not bad for a cartoon whose heroes are ugly ugly stereotypes]

You think So white is ugly?

Anonymous said...

You'd like only the last three, but I'd like all four, so my spectrum would be wider. Likewise, someone who only liked Friz would hvae a small spectrum. But the MORE things that entertain you, the biggger spectrum you have.

But John's assumption is [apparently] that people who like Freleng don't like Clampett, Avery, and any of the "wilder" stuff.

Of course, the fact that there are many who love and appreciate the very best of all the named director's work for their different pleasures, without having to hate or dismiss one or the other knocks the smug "limited spectrum theory" out of the water.

Anonymous said...

Is there any way we could see this one in full? The clips are nice, but the whole deal would be nice to get a sense of pacing and the build-up of action...

Toren Q Atkinson said...

"their responsibilty is to put on as orgasmic a show as possible and tittilate as many of our senses as they can in as large a dose as they can deliver"

I feel the same way about the Coen Brothers.

Toren Q Atkinson said...

Better than doing an all Clampett DVD or leaving the Looney Tunes Golden the way they are would have been to just release the Golden Collection with a lot less mediocre stuff. Really only about half to 3/4 of the stuff on those sets (yes of course I own them all) are worth watching more than once. And it seems to get worse with each volume.

Thad K said...

Growing up and being able to watch all of the different directors from all the different studios, I was safely able to deduce that the term "WB director not caring" was an oxymoron.

- Thad

Dr.Awkward said...

> This theory makes total sense. It's the same thing with food. The reason bland food is so popular is the majority of people can't take a lot of flavor. I also think those it people like bland food because they can eat a lot of it and get fat. You can only eat so much highly flavored or spiced food, (Except Doritos) which are filled with some kind of addictive Monsanto drug. <

That would explain why so many old farts enjoy drinking Alka-Seltzer!

Anonymous said...

"only about half to 3/4 of the stuff on those sets (yes of course I own them all) are worth watching more than once. And it seems to get worse with each volume."

If the goal is to release everything (I'm not saying that it'll happen, but that's Jerry's claim) wouldn't it make sense to pace the lackluster shorts throughout the sets? Otherwise, who's going to buy those last few?

Mike Fontanelli said...

On top of everything John says about his magnificent, innovative cartoons - all of which is clearly evident to anyone with eyes - Clampett was also the only one of the WB directors who comes across in vintage film footage as a genuinely funny guy. Punctuating his sentences with cartoony sound effects during interviews - or breaking into snatches of scat singing (which he does during a lecture preserved on film and available on the Beany & Cecil DVD).

Even in the classic WB party reels, (Will someone PLEASE release them on DVD, for Christ's sake?!!) Clampett comes across as the guy with the goods, the class clown. (And in drag, like John Cleese, he makes the most hilariously hideous "girl", for whatever that's worth.)

In contrast, Friz was a pretty dry interview, and so (surprisingly) was Avery. In every interview I've ever seen with Jones, he comes across as preening and pretentious. (Anyone who knows me can tell you that my love of Jones' work is second-to-none. Pest In The House, Dover Boys, Long-Haired Hare - love 'em all. But I made the mistake of meeting the guy in person, on 3 separate occasions, and he got all pissy and irritated over nothing each time. What a jerk.)

When I first got into the business, Bruce Timm, another brilliant cartoonist, was the first guy to tell me that my then-hero, the real-life Jones, was "a real jerk". I remember feeling gut-punched, like the first time you realize [SPOILER ALERT, kiddies,] there's no God.

But Clampett, like my pals John K. and Eddie Fitzgerald - just seems to have been born naturally funny, (It's hard to get through a whole conversation with John without laughing at something and losing your train of thought) - the way I think most folks imagine all animators to be.

One of the most profound disappointments of my life was missing out on meeting Bob Clampett. I didn't get to California until 1988, to work on the Beany & Cecil revival. By that time he was long gone, cuss the luck. S'alright, he lives through his films. I can still slap The Great Piggy Bank Robbery on DVD whenever I feel like it - and feel as though I knew the guy.

Jim said...

Your "entertainment perception" idea is related to Claude Shannon's Information Theory. I wrote an article on this subject some months ago.

http://www.mungbeing.com/issue_3.html?page=9#235

JohnK said...

Hey Mike, you finally violated the Blog space!

Thanks for the great comment.

Come back and spread more of your love...

JohnK said...

>>You'd like only the last three, but I'd like all four, so my spectrum would be wider.<<

Sorry. Friz is a very small slice of the spectrum. Clampett and Jones covered a much wider chunk of it and did everything that Friz did with way more flourish and love-and then covered much more territory.

Friz is bland and boring.

If you compare him with today's stuff, sure-his cartoons look better and have more skill, but then EVERYTHING back then did. He benefited by being at a studio with high standards at a time when America had higher standards so his animators did the best they could to try to keep up with the stars.

J. J. Hunsecker said...

rodney said...
And really I'd gouge my eyes out if I had to watch a 4 disc set from ANY director.


Uh-oh. I hope you don't own the Tom & Jerry DVDs or The Compleat Tex Avery laserdisc, Rodney.

rodney said...

I do, but I've never watched them for hours at a time.

John, I'm curious to hear your views on the above mentioned Clampett shorts, especially Farm Frolics and Circus Today. Surely, you can't have anything good to say about those.

Nate Birch said...

I remember when I first discovered Clampett it was definitely somewhat of a revelation...wow, what were these cartoons with this wild animation, edgier gags and genuinely "Looney" characters (Jones is great, but his characters aren't really Looney bin material usually)?

For a while he may have been my favourite director.

But something opposite happened to me as what happened to John and others here. While some seem to appreciate them more with each watching, I started to appreciate them *less*.

Yes, the animation is great and they're full of eneregy and some great edgy gags...but timing is often off, animation while great in parts is so-so in other parts
there's no much in the way of story usually and things are just thrown one thing after another at the screen at a frantic pace. As an excercise in unbridled freedom and energy they're great, but it's hard to say that Clampett was really the best director out there.

I can definitely see how he's a favourite of professional cartoonists and animators. I'm somewhat of an amature cartoonist and Clampett cartoons definitely inspire me to draw more than any others.

For my money though, the best cartoons ever are Avery's MGM cartoons. They have the energy and craziness of Clampett toons and fabulous vibrant animation, but at the same time they're in the service of better written better structured stories and the timing is miles better. Plus Droopy is about my favourite cartoon character ever (although Clampett's version of Daffy is close).

And no...I don't think my preference for Avery is because my feeble brain can't process the pure entertainment of Clampett.

Jorge Garrido said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jorge Garrido said...

John once told me his favourite directors go in this order:

1. Clampett
2. Chuck
3. Tex

Mine is:

1. Tex
2. Clampett
3. Tashlin

John, I think your beef with Freleng is that there's nothing really really extraordinary about them, and I agree with you, except for his timing. Freleng had the best timing and pacing of any WB director. His cartoons flowed so well. Besides that, to me, they're not REALLY amazing, but thery're also not noticably bad either. The thing about his cartoons is, they're just SOLID. Their averageness comes from the fact that they're NOT amazingly average or middle of the road, nor really good or really bad. Later on I'll post a lnegthy psot about it in specific detail to prove my point.

>And really I'd gouge my eyes out if I had to watch a 4 disc set from ANY director.

Really? I love that! A complete Tex set, a complete Jones set, complete Clampett, complete Freleng, complete McKimson, and one of tashlin, davis and McCabe! (3-in-one)

>>For my money though, the best cartoons ever are Avery's MGM cartoons. They have the energy and craziness of Clampett toons and fabulous vibrant animation, but at the same time they're in the service of better written better structured stories and the timing is miles better. Plus Droopy is about my favourite cartoon character ever (although Clampett's version of Daffy is close).

I like MGM Avery over WB Clampett (who I like more tha WB Avery) Avery's cartoons don't have much story OR characters. They're 7 minutes of brilliant inventive gags,a dn teh structure is always good,lb ut who cares about story? Character trumps story everytime, but Avery's characters often didn't have names ,were one shot cahracters with little character (Joe Adamson called them nameless cats & dogs). I'm fine with that, but Clampett's cartoons had way better characters.

I gotta go now, will finish this later.

Rachel said...

In Mel Blanc's autobiography, "That's Not All, Folks!" he had the gall to describe Clampett as an "egotist who took credit for everything." Perhaps some of Clampett's claims, particularly regarding the creation of Bugs Bunny, are questionable, but he was hardly the only one to exaggerate his own importance at Warner's. Mel was no exception--if you believe his book, *he* practically created Bugs Bunny.

Rachel said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
:: smo :: said...

it always drove me nuts that jones got the credit for rehashes fo clampett gags!

didn't the duck season rabbit season schtick start out as a clampett gag with daffy and porky where daffy convinces porky he's an eagle? definitely a very clever wacky daffy moment, but then jones turned it around to make daffy a spazz and bugs a total ass.

jones is a great director too, but clampett totally blows everyone out of the water in originality and characterization...and everything else!

JohnK said...

>>schtick start out as a clampett gag with daffy and porky where daffy convinces porky he's an eagle? <<

That sounds like a Jones cartoon. Isn't it Sniffles?

One series that Jones did that he never gives Clampett credit for is the Charlie the Dog cartoons. Clampett directed the first in the series and it's called "Porky's Pooch".

Jorge Garrido said...

>>didn't the duck season rabbit season schtick start out as a clampett gag with daffy and porky where daffy convinces porky he's an eagle? definitely a very clever wacky daffy moment,

That's an old vaudeville joke from the 20's. Laurel & Hardy used it. And you're thinking of a McKimson cartoon.

Thad K said...

The "eagle-pig, fish/duck" bit is from Freleng's "Duck Soup to Nuts".

There was also a hunting season sign gag in Art Davis' great "What Makes Daffy Duck", that Davis claimed was a gag Jones threw at him.

- Thad

mike fontanelli said...

"...Mel was no exception--if you believe his book, *he* practically created Bugs Bunny."

Yeah, he practically created Foghorn Leghorn, too. (I'm sure that came as a surprise to Kenny Delmar - the radio voice of Senator Claghorn on the Fred Allen Show.)

Whatever it is, eventually some uberbastard will try to take credit for it. I lost count of how many "Fifth Beatles" there were.

Mel was an genius. He didn't need to make any false claims - because his credited work already speaks volumes.

P.C. Unfunny said...

"Yeah, he practically created Foghorn Leghorn, too. (I'm sure that came as a surprise to Kenny Delmar - the radio voice of Senator Claghorn on the Fred Allen Show.)"

Mel did mention him in his book along with two other possible orgins of Foghorn Leghorn.

I don't really care said...

I always felt that there is something similar between Sponge Bob series and Ren&Stimpy in the style.... not the humor obviously....Maybe the coloration,the weird background, style, the close up scenes on stop, etc..is there are mutual animators or colorists in those 2 series ? both from Nickelodeon...

In my opinion, Spongebob was created to give Nick what John K. would not-- Ren & Stimpy doing the same, more or less predictable things, over and over again, ad-nauseum, until the end of time. John gave Nick the formula, but sinned by being unwilling to simply adhere to it.

This would seem to be off-topic, but ties in with the theory of some people having limits to how much entertainment they can handle, or find desirable.

I've had arguments with people over the contents of cartoons like, "Firedogs 2", and "Onwards and Upwards"... MANY people who LOVED Ren and stimpy were appalled by these cartoons on several levels, despite the abundance of incredible content they contain. Too much, too different, wasn't expecting it, voices aren't the same, therefore it SUCKS.

A lot of people only want the same thing all the time, and not too spicy, please, and no surprises. These are the kind of people who get upset because somebody says Freleng was bland. It's nobody else's fault that you like bland. It's not even a criticism of you. It is, however a revelation about you that you would get upset at such a thing.

Freleng is still more watchable than almost anything made since his era. Yes, Freleng had pride and craft, but his craft was more as a master bricklayer than a master architect. He may be able to build a house a well or better than anyone, but they will all tned to look a lot alike.

In every interview I've ever seen with Jones, he comes across as preening and pretentious.

Seems to me that his latter-day Bugs drawings even degenerated into charicatures of himself-- they look smug and elitist... these are not really the qualities you would first associate with Bugs.

I don't really care said...

PS- While there is no need to be critical of people for having blander tastes, there is a very real need to be critical of the systems which limit the entertainment choices of the rest of us who would prefer a little more excitement and freshness be made readily available.

Kevin W. Martinez said...

"I've had arguments with people over the contents of cartoons like, "Firedogs 2", and "Onwards and Upwards"... MANY people who LOVED Ren and stimpy were appalled by these cartoons on several levels, despite the abundance of incredible content they contain. Too much, too different, wasn't expecting it, voices aren't the same, therefore it SUCKS."

Half Hours of consumption of assorted bodily wastes, painfully stretched-out torturing of amphibians, ugly characters drawn Ugly, and general assaults on the senses are an "abundance of incredible content"??

It's incredible all right: Incredibly wretched (Though in Fairness, Gary the Rat and Stripperella were even worse, But I digress).

Could it be that R&S fans didn't hate APC because it was {"too different, too much", but because the aired episodes were painfully unamusing montages of either bodily function jokes by the tons, or unprovoked, dragged-out sadistc acts? While i'm sure some of the UNaired episodes were decent (such as that "Naked Beach Frenzy" everyone on the 'net extolls the virtues of), how are they supposed to compensate for the garbage that made it on Spike TV, especially when Ren and Stimpy episodes were often likened to Three Stooges shorts because of their ability to stand on their own? By that logic, we could call "Manos the Hands of Fate" an excellent movie because of some good scenes that were cut out of the final Film

I don't really care said...

Kevin W. Martinez said...
"Could it be that R&S fans didn't hate APC because it was {"too different, too much", but because the aired episodes were painfully unamusing montages of either bodily function jokes by the tons, or unprovoked, dragged-out sadistc acts? "

I'm sure many of them would say something much like that, but all you are really saying is what I just said. Look at the work, and you will see a great deal to appreciate. Unfortunately it exists outside the range of what you consider entertaining and acceptible subject matter, so you will miss it. There is great animation, great drawing, great backgrounds, and lots of these things, compared to anything else done for TV. You can't see it, because the characters are doing things you don't think they should be allowed to do. The cartoons are not perfect, but as excercises in pushing the medium, they definitely excel. The only way you can disagree with this is if you are upset that someone would push it in that particular direction. I'm not. Hopefully sales of the upcoming set will demonstrate that many others agree with me.

the bull said...

>>I'm sure many of them would say something much like that, but all you are really saying is what I just said. Look at the work, and you will see a great deal to appreciate. Unfortunately it exists outside the range of what you consider entertaining and acceptible subject matter, so you will miss it. There is great animation, great drawing, great backgrounds, and lots of these things, compared to anything else done for TV. You can't see it, because the characters are doing things you don't think they should be allowed to do. The cartoons are not perfect, but as excercises in pushing the medium, they definitely excel. The only way you can disagree with this is if you are upset that someone would push it in that particular direction. I'm not. Hopefully sales of the upcoming set will demonstrate that many others agree with me.
<<

Hey, go easy on this guy, he has autism!

Kevin W. Martinez said...

"Look at the work, and you will see a great deal to appreciate.
Unfortunately it exists outside the range of what you consider entertaining and acceptible subject matter, so you will miss it."

Trust me, i've done that. When APC first debuted, i taped every aired episode and watched them thoroughly with an open mind. I honestly couldn't find a great deal to appreciate about a grotesquely drawn Ren and Stimpy eating bodily wastes, or Ren torturing an frog for no reason other than to make the "Ren seeks Help" episode seem longer than it actually was.

Content like this is not oustide the range of what i consider entertaining and acceptible subject matter, at least not when it's present in a reasonable fashion, and i didn't miss anything; I'm no more a fan of blandness or generic content than you guys are. I just feel that the Spumco artist went overboard with APC and came up with some genuinely abysmal episodes.


"There is great animation, great drawing, great backgrounds, and lots of these things, compared to anything else done for TV."

Be that as it may, the APC episodes (like The Simpsons, Family Guy and the Fairly Oddparents,"illustrated radio" cartoons singled out in this discussion) are perfect examples of why balance is needed for TV animation and why one approach to a TV cartoon is no better than the other; "radio illustrators" such as Matt Groening, Seth MacFarlane and Butch Hartman will produce reels and reels of entertaining talking-heads, while "artists" such as John K. will produce cartoons that have much better animation and "acting", but are almost completely devoid of almost every other aspect of a good animation effort (namely humor and timing)


"You can't see it, because the characters are doing things you don't think they should be allowed to do. The cartoons are not perfect, but as excercises in pushing the medium, they definitely excel."

I'll argue that no catoon is perfect (TV cartoons are mostly half-empty glasses, after all), but if the negative aspects of a TV cartoon outnumber the positive, it stops being imperfect and starts being God-Awful. I don't have a problem with cartoons pushing the medium (i only wished more would do that), but there IS such a thing as being excessive about it, which the APC cartoons are.

I don't really care said...

Kevin W. Martinez said...

but if the negative aspects of a TV cartoon outnumber the positive, it stops being imperfect and starts being God-Awful. I don't have a problem with cartoons pushing the medium (i only wished more would do that), but there IS such a thing as being excessive about it, which the APC cartoons are.

I know you are reluctant to acknowlege the point, but you are still saying what I just said. Your perception of what is "negative" and "excessive" is coloring if not overriding your ability to appreciate the gags, the art, and their excecution, which, no matter how badly they may have been timed or drawn, are more watchable by far than any of the alternatives you cited. By watchable, I mean they contain high levels of visual stimlation -whether or not you approve of the choices, and are designed around visual stimulation as the primary means of conveyance. What if I and others don't find them excessive? Are we wrong, because you do? Or, what if the point was to push our buttons and FIND our limits?

Please understand that you are not the ultimate arbiter of my taste, and that something that violates your taste is not therefore universally bad. Yes it is shocking and ugly when Ren tears Mr. Horse apart. I'm not put off by it. You can be, if you like, just understand that it does not mean that John did anything wrong.

I am reminded of the initial critical furur over Hitchcock's PSYCHO shower scene. They said AWFUL things about how EXCESSIVE it was...

Be that as it may, the APC episodes (like The Simpsons, Family Guy and the Fairly Oddparents,"illustrated radio" cartoons singled out in this discussion) are perfect examples of why balance is needed for TV animation and why one approach to a TV cartoon is no better than the other;

I would argue that these talking character shows are not even the same artform as Spumco, any more than Seinfeld is the same artform as Spumco. There is no need for "balance", as you put it. There is great need for differentiation. The Simpsons, etc., is simply not a "cartoon" in the same sense as Spumco product.

But I don't want to dominate the man's blog. You may hav the last word, if you like.

Kevin W. Martinez said...

I also don't wan't to take over the discussion, so this'll be my last post on the matter

Your perception of what is "negative" and "excessive" is coloring if not overriding your ability to appreciate the gags, the art and their excecution

Like I Said, i approached the aired Adult Party episodes with the most liberal open mind i could possibly have. I tried to absorb every aspect of the episodes, and the only thing I got out of it was Ren and Stimpy, drawn grotesquely but with excellent acting and animation, eating bodily wastes, and Ren partaking in drawn-out animal cruelty.


By watchable, I mean they contain high levels of visual stimlation -whether or not you approve of the choices, and are designed around visual stimulation as the primary means of conveyance.

But are high levels of visual stimulation always inherently a good thing? Especially the dangerously high levels APC approachs?

On one of his earlier posts, John K talked about how most (non-Spumco, of course) modern cartoons punish one's eyes and ears. If that's the case, what does APC do to them? Sentence them to death row by hanging?

What if I and others don't find them excessive? Are we wrong, because you do?

What if I and others in this discussion don't find Friz Freleng's cartoons bland, boring and comparable to afternoon tea? Are WE wrong, just because you do?

Subjectivity, people! Subjectivity!

Please understand that you are not the ultimate arbiter of my taste, and that something that violates your taste is not therefore universally bad.

When did I, or anybody else in this discussion, imply that I was somehow the arbiter of your personal taste? All i said was that i felt the APC episodes went overboard with their pushing of the medium? This goes back to that subjectivity thing.


I would argue that these talking character shows are not even the same artform as Spumco, any more than Seinfeld is the same artform as Spumco. There is no need for "balance", as you put it. There is great need for differentiation. The Simpsons, etc., is simply not a "cartoon" in the same sense as Spumco product.

The Simpsons, like Ren and Stimpy, are animated television programs, but are of different genres and use animation differently. How's that?

I'd argue that there is very muich a need for balance. If it existed in Modern Animation, we'd have more shows that utilize both Writing and Animation solidly instead of mounds of crap that needs to seperated from other crap and put into different "artform" classifications.

Also, that crack about autism was totally uncalled for.

I don't really care said...

There are questions, so, I'll respond again:

The Simpsons, like Ren and Stimpy, are animated television programs, but are of different genres and use animation differently. How's that?

a dramatic stage play, a dance recital and a puppet show are all theatre, however it's pretty common to differentiate them.

Seinfeld actually has more in common with Spumco than Family Guy, in my opinion, because they both use real actors who can hold your attention.

What if I and others in this discussion don't find Friz Freleng's cartoons bland, boring and comparable to afternoon tea? Are WE wrong, just because you do?

Friz is demonstrably and quantifiably visually bland in comparison to Avery or Clampett, jsut as Family Guy is demonstrably and quantifiably visually bland in comparison to, well, almost everything.

Like I Said, i approached the aired Adult Party episodes with the most liberal open mind i could possibly have. I tried to absorb every aspect of the episodes, and the only thing I got out of it was Ren and Stimpy, drawn grotesquely but with excellent acting and animation, eating bodily wastes, and Ren partaking in drawn-out animal cruelty.

LOL -and you came away reviled by challenging material. It's okay. Some people don't like being challenged that way. For me it's not a problem. It's welcome and refreshing that someone is willing to ask my brain to use new synapses.

You are doing it again. You say "eating bodily wastes" and "animal cruelty" as if these things are the mathematical opposite of entertainment. They aren't. They are simply too challenging for YOU.

But are high levels of visual stimulation always inherently a good thing? Especially the dangerously high levels APC approachs?

Dangerously high? That's funny, and again you are simply saying that you prefer more tameness. Okay. For you there's Friz. For me, scatology and the darkness of the human (or asthmahound) psyche are valid and welcome areas of exploration for my cartoon characters.

High levels of visual stimulation go a lot farther toward making a good cartoon than do cartoons without this quality, IF this is what you value about cartoons. If all you need is bright colors and actors reading jokes, then maybe not.

Jorge Garrido said...

John, do you only eat spicy food and call any non-spicy food bland? I mean I LOVE spicy fod but sometimes I just want a well cooked meal that's delicious but not too spicy. Sometimes.

I don't really care said...

-and you came away reviled by challenging material.

I meant revulsed, if it's not obvious (if anyone's still paying attention).

Kevin W. Martinez said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kevin W. Martinez said...

a dramatic stage play, a dance recital and a puppet show are all theatre, however it's pretty common to differentiate them.

That's a bit of an uneven comparison, becuase in a puppet show, puppets are usually manipulatecd by unseen people (unlike a dramatic play or dance recital).

Anyway, if you read my original post, you'll see that i DID differentiate the much reviled "illustrated radio" cartoons from Ren and Stimpy, but i differentiated them by genres (Family Guy, for instance, is a dialogue-oriented sitcom, Ren and Stimpy is more tradional visual-oriented comedy), instead of implying that they aren't even of the same artform, which is false.

Seinfeld actually has more in common with Spumco than Family Guy, in my opinion, because they both use real actors who can hold your attention.

Seinfeld uses existing Live-actors to bring created roles to life, Family Guy (like a given Spumco Cartoon) creates cartoon chararacters and brings them to life via animation. And unless a cartoon is supposed to be slient, i'd say most cartoons (regardless of genre) have, to various degrees, real actors to hold your attention; voice actors.

Friz is demonstrably and quantifiably visually bland in comparison to Avery or Clampett, jsut as Family Guy is demonstrably and quantifiably visually bland in comparison to, well, almost everything.

I could make a strong case that you're bring the personal arbiter of MY taste right now, And that Friz' cartoons aren't universally bland just because they don't rock your emotions in just the right way.

And what's with all this "quantifiably visually" stuff? are you basicaly admitting that you are put off by Friz' cartoons just because he didn't make them with the same high-octane as Clampett?

LOL -and you came away reviled by challenging material. It's okay. Some people don't like being challenged that way. For me it's not a problem. It's welcome and refreshing that someone is willing to ask my brain to use new synapses.

Challenging or not, there's only so much bodily-waste consumption or frog-torturing i can take. My problem with such material is that they're poorly executed and are streched on for most of the cartoons in which they're featured. I also fail to see how John K is asking my brain to use new synapses by Having Ren and Stimpy live in a spitoon and and eat the wastes contained in it. There's nothing cerebral or challenging to get out of things like that. It's just Ren and Stimpy eating other peole's mucus and saliva, and not much else other than bad character deisgns and animation that taxes the medium more than Family Guy.


You are doing it again. You say "eating bodily wastes" and "animal cruelty" as if these things are the mathematical opposite of entertainment. They aren't. They are simply too challenging for YOU.

Actions (such as the aforemention waste-eating and frog-abusing) aren't entertaining unless they have an entertaining aspect to them. Done right, such material could be entertaining, My problem is that they're done without any sort of entertaining aspect to them: no finesse, no timing, no humor, just Ren and Stimpy being disgusting and Ren being cruel without reason.

Dangerously high? That's funny, and again you are simply saying that you prefer more tameness. Okay. For you there's Friz. For me, scatology and the darkness of the human (or asthmahound) psyche are valid and welcome areas of exploration for my cartoon characters.

I don't prefer more tameness, I prefer that there be some kind of redeeming qualities to a cartoon, wheter be it jokes, a good story or some kind of entertainment value (For Instance, i think most of us would be a lot less sympathetic to Coal Black if the cartoon consisted of simply racial stereotypes and nothing else).

I really have no qualms about Cartoon characters exploring exploring such areas as scatology and the darkness of the asthmahound psyche, But is finding Ren (with his personality at its most one-dimensional) torturing a frog in a dragged-outmanner for almost the entire length of a cartoon unentertaining really equal to preferring blandness?

High levels of visual stimulation go a lot farther toward making a good cartoon than do cartoons without this quality, IF this is what you value about cartoons. If all you need is bright colors and actors reading jokes, then maybe not.

But the thing is, APC isn't stimulating; it's tantamount to being hit by a freight train several times in sucession. And there are a lot of good cartoons i can name that have relatively low amounts of visual stimulation.

Also, "bright colors and actors reading jokes" aren't all i need: Believe me, i love viusual stimulation, otherwise i wouldn't have given APC the time of day like i did.

I don't really care said...

I really have no qualms about Cartoon characters exploring such areas ...But dragging out Ren (with his personality at its most one-dimensional) torturing a frog for almost the entire length of a cartoon.

So you have no qualms, but your qualm is that it lasted too long, FOR YOU. Well, not for me. I enjoyed REN SEEKS HELP thoroughly from beginning to end, and it was not lost on me.

...i'd say most cartoons... have, to various degrees, real actors to hold your attention; To voice actors.

The point is that you can enjoy family guy and the simpsons 80% as well with the picture off, whereas with Spumco 90% of the show can be enjoyed with the sound off. This is why I contend they are not the same artform. They are different from the ground up. They both use drawings, but so what?

Let's not get so semantic that the point is lost. My point is that the public and the industry might benefit from a more general recognition of this fact --that there are at least two different kinds of animated product --one where animation is KEY, and one where it is SECONDARY to VOICE ACTING, and pretty conventional sitcom storylines. They are different enough in most every aspect that one may love one kind and hate the other one, split pretty much along that or a similar principal.

MOST impoprtant is that the kind where animation is KEY, and where ARTISTS drive the process --the kind I value --is an endagered species due in part to this lack of differentiation.

As Chuck Jones said when asked what he thought of ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE, "it's not what I do." I think this interview was the source of the "radio show" analogy, as well.

Actions (such as the aforemention waste-eating and frog-abusing) aren't entertaining unless they have an entertaining aspect to them. Done right, such material could be entertaining, My problem is that they're done without any sort of entertaining aspect to them: no finesse, no timing, no humor, just Ren and Stimpy being disgusting and Ren being cruel without reason.

Accepting for the moment your description --Ren and Stimpy being disgusting and Ren being cruel without reason --why does that make it unfunny? The response I anticipate is something like, "It doesn't mean it CAN'T be funny, it just WASN'T."

The only thing clear from everything you've said so far is that YOU did not like them, but for some reason want to make it seem more universal than that.

Here's the thing: I think they WERE done right, or right enough to forgive any problems I might've had with them. I think they were VASTLY more entertaining than anything else I've seen since RIPPING FRIENDS, and I would not ask that JohnK change ANYTHING, even if I can pick out personally disappointing aspects. And I would certainly not presume to imply that he should reign in his aesthethic for my benefit.

Your impressions are entirely subjective, but you keep stating them as absolutes. How can you prove they were not entertaining? How can you prove they had no humor or finesse, if I and others think they had lots? If you can't establish that they were bad cartoons by some more objective criteria or more substantial support, aren't you just bitching-at-length in a public forum about what you personally don't like? If so, why should anybody care?

If you cannot establish that NOBODY was entertained, what is your point, except to let us know you wish the cartoons were different? Should JohnK cater to you by altering his creative choices in anticipation of what might bug you, or should he cater to me by just doing what he likes?

I don't want my entertainment choices limited by what you can tolerate, and that would seem to be the result of your argument taken to its conclusion. If I didn't like a cartoon, I'd go find one I DO like, and that's about all I'd do.

If I liked the creator, I might try to gain insight by asking him about his motives and choices, but I would ASK, I would not presume to CHASTISE. He owes me NOTHING.

APC isn't stimulating; it's tantamount to being hit by a freight train several times in sucession.

That sounds stimulating to me.

It can be established that Friz is tamer and more bland than Clampett. If you want to take that as a pejorative, or a personal indictment of you if you enjoy Friz, it's your choice, but to me it's a pointless one.

Sorry about the long tangent, Mr. K.