Wednesday, July 01, 2009

What Causes Tit Eyes? - 1

I have a theory about it. And a few more about this period of Chuck Jones' career.
I think that once he teamed with storyboard/writer Mike Maltese, his cartoons started to become funnier. Maltese's gags themselves were not the only funny thing about the cartoons though.
The way Jones' drawings reacted to the gags really sold them to the audience.
In a way, I think Jones was competing with Maltese's gags by coming up with visual toppers -like the tit eyes that happen after each gag in "Mouse Wreckers". It was a way of punctuating the gags and competing for attention with them.
Mouse Wreckers is full of great gags, but the structure of the cartoon is built around Claude Cat's reactions to them.
You remember the gags of Hubie and Bertie nailing the furniture to the ceiling and tieing Claude up and pulling him through keyholes, but what really stands out in the cartoon are Claude's tit-eyes. The drawings and timing are perfect too.
Mouse Wreckers is from the period of what I think of as Chuck's funniest/best year - roughly 1948.
It's after the "Bobe Cannon period" and before the stylized angular pose to pose talky period.
More about all that in the next posts. This is a fantastic cartoon, don't ya think?
http://www.cartoonthrills.org/blog/Jones/48mousewreckers/ClaudeCatTitEyes1.mov


Oh, to introduce another subject, after watching the clip, go back and just listen to the music. I'll do a post about different approaches to music sometime. This is one approach, where the music is added afterwards and has no melody; it's just there to help to punctuate the action - acting like sound effects.

12 comments:

thomas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
drawingtherightway said...

On the eighth image down, the stripe on the front of the cat kinda looks like a line of action that John draws over the images in some of his posts! At first I thought that's what it was until I noticed it was in the other images as well.

Whitney Pollett said...

TIT EYE!!! AHAhah did you invent this title or has this been the term all along!?? Hilarious!!

David said...

John, I can't wait for that music post! I'm in the middle of getting my cartoon music composed by a composer, in the way you described, afterwards. But I guess there are no Carl Stallings or Scott Bradleys in this world anymore...

Zorrilla said...

I like it when everything works for the storytelling, even the music!

thomas said...

I guess there are two types of Jones' mice; big nose, small cranium, and funny; and small nose, big cranium, and cute, a la Snffles. In a way, you would think it would be the other way around- funny = big cranium.

Unusual sky color in that first frame. Kind of reads like twilight. works really well.

Really liked this toon as a youngster; still do. Thanks for the posts.

Zombie said...

This is one of my favorite cartoons EVER. Claude's expressions always made me laugh until I cried.

kris.w said...

it's shorts like this that made me want to be a board artist!

Larry Levine said...

Fantastic cartoons & Chuck Jones go together like hot dogs & mustard!!!

smbhax said...

Yep, I always preferred his more organic middle work over his later angular stuff--which is not to say that a lot of his later stuff isn't great too, but it's a little harder to get into.

Wait, I draw with a lot of angles too. Er... Hm... Well maybe that's why I like the curvy stuff I'm not as good at. ;D

Speedy Boris said...

Please do make a post about cartoon music. I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on it.

IgnorantBliss said...

Mr. Jones remade this film years later in the mid 60's as a Tom and Jerry cartoon, but i hadn't noticed until readin this. It seems like he really ccould care less for tom and jerry, becuase the cartoons reuse a lot of ideas from the past and from eachother even.