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Saturday, September 22, 2012

"Chow Hound"

Many animation sites have for the last two days celebrated Charles Martin Jones, especially by mentioning his 1957-present shorts ":What's Opera Doc" to the MGM.Suess/Kipling specials, to a ceerrtain special about a frog suinging and a rabbit and duck
in a cave of jewels. But there was a time when superioir shorts by the 100-year-old Chuck Jones actually were made, through the early 50s. One actually being quoted and having among the most use of characters outside ceelebrity character-stuff come to life shorts:
"Chow Hound"(officially released June 16,1951)
CHOW HOUND WB studios as a Tech.Merrie Melodie on June 16,1951, rereleased as a Merrie Melodies Blue Ribbon in 1958(? brown rings, came out ahead being a reissue of the new films in
production with the same season ring colours, continued through 1963).
Animation:BEN WASHAM, KEN HARRIS,PHILLIP MONROE and LLOYD VAUGHN (wants to do a "Vaughn Monroe" joke now)
Background:PHILIP De GUARD
The Dog/The Zoo Kepper/JOHN SMITH
The cat/Mouse/Medics/Male Domestic Pet Owners/MEL BLANC
Female Per Owner/BEA BENADARET
("Voice characterizations: MEL BALNC")
Music Director: CARL STALLING
Unknown, titles
original mysteriosis with cat snekaing out/STALLING
"Baby Face"/AKST-DAVIS, the "Harold scene"
Most is original music with the ending exception of
"Am I Blue"/DE SYLVA/HENDERSON"  the pet doc scene
"When the Swallows Come Back"/?? final scene with mousie and cat
Reprise of "Merrie Go Rond" at ened
Producer:ED SELZER
This is the last seriously dark WB short for anyone in a llng time, though another director Friz Freleng, did one of the occasional gems of the post-50s, "The Last Hungry Cat".

It's late at night, and a guy is feeding and bidding off to bed, his cat, "Butch". "Butch" has a steak for dinner. However in the darkest hour of night,
he is off with the steak and then runs into a put bulldog who grabs him rudely, saying, "Hand it over". It turns out that the cat is working for this dog (as it were)
and the dog eats it but.."What? No Gravy?" (the famous line of the cartoon). So the cat then escapes, with the pooch stepping on hsi tail. "Oh.,.Going someplace".
Looking at his little book (resourceful Rover) he then says 'Cmon stupid..then at another house, he 1) ties a blue bow, 2) says "Now make with the motor" (read:purrr) and then 3) passes him off as
"Harold", a lady's cat ("Harold! You naiughty creature!") Bringing his food to thje dog,m the cat gets it-"What? No Gravy?"

 For the next house, they take out a can of tune and a rock, revelaing that they have been here, and revealing a falsette (Mel Blanc?)
mouse, who is a bigger pussy than the pussycat. An old old man (based on animator Ken Harris, accoridng to Greg Duffell, of Lightbox Canada), now welcomes him in as Timothy! "You;ve earned your keep", as the dfog is nusing the mouse for a dead mouse for the cat
(hey, the mouse had to be for something). And of course, the food fopr the dog, but "No Gravy?" Mousie tries to challenge the dog who onl needs to rap him woith a doctor's knee capreflex testing small mallet,
and agrees to nap.
At the zoo, we see a familiar looking cat, our hero. He then  gets a stick of dynamit ein a steak of the starving dog. He gets blown up. Oh. And no gravy. Too slow, too slow, with pet s missing, but then this inspires the dog, so we see Jones, Maltese, and Washam, ad "M.Hinkle"
names displayed across want ads, so now we hear from, and then soon the dog goes to the woman and two gents, in a baby cradle with trap door,
 with cat, who seems somehow willing to go along(not that he has any CHOICE)..then the nouse makes a return to complete this journey, taking him to the zoo.
The mouse openly that high fluty flasetto of his as he did before ("how humniliating") dressed as a now un PC Ubangi, and seels the keeper the animal.
We don't see for a while any of the cat or mouse but the bulldog now has money from "returning" so much a smention as buy a butchery but eats too much, eating his wya to a vet-hostpital. As a result,
we see our anti-hero on the bed. Oh. He has two visitors. The cat & mouse. THIS time they DIDN't forget the gravy, not that our canine anti-hero now wants it!
This came aorund the time that J.L.Warner seems to want to end these "dark humor" shorts-in Jones's unit alone, Hubie and Bertie, the Three Bears, and Charlie the Dog, who Yowp on illustrates in next to last short "Dog Gone South",1950,  were nixed.
Furthermore, yesterday's burthday boy started getting soft, then synical, then critically loved then finally for the first time overrated. But thankfully that was still in the future in1 951 when Chow Hound came out. The title character was not voiced by Mel Blanc but a character actor named John T.Smith, who also played
in the same voice, the "Homeless Hare" construction worker", and using different voices, the "Hillbilly Hare" dumb hillbily, and one time narrated, "There Auto Be a Law". Blanc did do most of the vpoices, with Bea Benaderet as the standard lady (a laBlanche Morton "Harold",conjuring up the Marc Anothony the bulldog or Dodsworth the fat cat owners that she'd playe as well.)
The last of the "Want ad" name,s M.Hinkel (no relation to Rankin-Bass's mad magigician Prof.Hinkle) may have been named for Mary Hinkle, an inker and painter. The Zoo k eeper is also voiced by John Smith and sounds a bit like Sterling Holloway, only adding to the odd'flavour of this seven minute short.

Now where is MY gravy?

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