American Animation, Disney, Avery , Jones;

Can there be an ideology of the cartoon ?

This lecture looks at the great division between two possible approaches to the animated cartoon, the accepted values promoted and undermined, the repression and the release. The association of the cartoon with children and the less challenging visual experience allows the fundamental beliefs of a society to be challenged (see also the role of the horror film) We'll look at this in the context of the creation of the Disney empire and the challenge mounted to it by the Warner Brothers Cartoons first by Tex Avery, then by Chuck Jones.

Walt Disney b1901
1928 Steamboat Willie (1st synchronised sound cartoon) 1932 Flowers and Trees (1st cartoon in Technicolor,Ac.Aw)
1937 Snow White (1st feature length cartoon) 1941 strike at Disney's studio
1944 "Mickey Mouse" D Day password
1971 Disneyworld opens in Florida
1966 dies

"Gee this'll really make Beethoven !" WD after seeing one of the sequences in Fantasia.

"Even beyond the grave - Disney died in 1966 - continuing manifestations of his vision have become so integral to American society that that they are commonly regarded as natural parts of the landscape, like a salt shaker or a babysitter." Jonathan Rosenbaum, WD in R.Roud, Cinema A Critical Dictionary , Viking NY 1980


Tex Avery b1907

1930 joined Universal Walter Lantz
1936 joined Warner Brothers
1942 brief period with Paramount
1954 to MGM
1956 making TV commercials
1980 died

"We found out early that if you did something with a character, either animal or human , that couldn'ty possibly be rigged up in live action, why then you've got a guaranteed laugh. We used any kind of distortion that couldn't possibly happen, like a character getting himself stuck in a milk bottle. You couldn't get Chaplin in a milk bottle...." Tex Avery, Take One Jan/Feb 1970

Charles Jones b1912

1930's freelance illustrator with Charles Mintz, Ub Iwerks, Walter Lantz
1935 joined Warners as an animator under Iwerks, Clampett and Avery
1938-1962 director of animation at Warners (Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Roadrunner))
1955 4 months work at Disneys
1963-7 directs for MGM

"The cinema of Jones rests on two conceptual bases ; the realisation of his characters as fully developed caharcters rather than reflexive puppets (Woody Woodpecker) to the extent that Jones can parallel live-action films use of star dynamics by having Bugs or Daffy play a distinct role and being aware of it; and a completely linear,logical development of a single premise....."



Richard Thompson, "Meep Meep", in Bill Nichols, Movies and Methods , Univ of Calif Press1976.
See also Leonard Mosley, Disney's World (aka The Real Disney )Stein & Day 1980
J.Culhane, Fantasia ,Abrams Ny 1973
L.Maltin, Of Mice and Magic ,New Am. Lib. NY, 1980.