Wednesday, 9 May 2012

"High Diving Hare" Mosaic

I've been getting around to do this and I DID mention this before in my introductory post that I may make mosaics as additional posts since back then I didn't know too much on Warner Bros. cartoons but as time went on; I got to know many of their cartoons and even have the knack of identifying animators and I feel it's suitable that I should post this very first mosaic I created on High Diving Hare.

High Diving Hare is one of my all-time favourite cartoons and probably my favourite Warner Bros. cartoon. Friz Freleng is one of my favourite cartoon directors who had very funny comic timing and used it in a very suitable and funny form. Why I like this cartoon so much is because of Yosemite Sam. He's probably the best antagonist to Bugs Bunny. I find him hilarious; and I love his arrogance and the foolishness side of him. I made a mosaic based on Elijah Hall's (Zartok-35) animator identifications and helped me out with most of it; although I managed to identify a few scenes but Elijah did the most while I made the mosaic. I'll be going through animator analysis throughout this cartoon and talking about the animators on this cartoon.

The opening of this cartoon with Bugs as a presenter attracting the audience's attention which was animation by Virgil Ross. Virgil was a master draftsman at the Warner Bros. studio and Friz Freleng's best animator even up to the 1960s when the other animators deteriorated. He uses solid character animation in his scenes; and he makes his animation more fluid than the other Freleng animators. Friz Freleng liked that routine where animators like Gerry Chiniquy would jerk the characters into poses but Ross smoothed everything down making his animation very subtle and realistic. Shot 4 in the mosaic of where Yosemite Sam pulls the tickets shows some nice touches of Virgil's animation here. Virgil Ross also was the "smear" guy in animation but he stopped using them around the late-1940s. Virgil Ross continues up to scene 5 of where Yosemite Sam walks down the center part of the room where it moves very well. He drew his characters very on-model and Greg Duffell told me that he followed Hawley Pratt's character layouts very, very carefully while sources say Virgil Ross only followed Hawley Pratt's character layouts.

Ken Champin then takes over as he animates a section of Bugs introducing the high-diving act to the audience. Notice how that the animation of the audience members clapping are much stiffer here; and it doesn't move as freely as Virgil. I notice how that Champin liked to draw jagged hairs on Sam. His trademark on Bugs was that he'd draw small inner ears inside Bugs. He appeared to like drawing teeth other than Bugs' front teeth. He tends to draw his characters rather appealing as he draws an appealing Bugs Bunny. His Bugs scenes are easy to identify in cartoons - especially in the 1940s.

Manuel Perez who was known as "Friz's whipping boy" then steps in doing the short sequence of Sam arguing and shouting that the high-diving act must be performed and forces Bugs to be the person diving. I can't really get around his style much at all as I can't seem to find much traits of his but as far as I know; he likes to draw very dark, large pupils in the character's eyes. He also draws more fluid; and he's sort of like Gerry Chiniquy but more mild. Watching these scenes, it appears that Manny Perez likes to draw Bugs with a long body and gives Sam a very long beard.

The climbing scenes are done by animator Pete Burness who appears to have been floating around the units between Freleng and Bob McKimson in 1949 before settling with McKimson. His style isn't so hard to tell as he likes to make his characters bounce in weird poses - especially in his animation on 'Tom and Jerry'. He likes to draw wide inner-ears on Bugs and draws him like Bugs from the McKimson cartoons - sort of. He drew angry eyebrows quite often. The camera angles of Bugs and Sam climbing the ladder is very good staging.

Gerry Chiniquy then does a small bit with Bugs and Sam on top of the high-diving board and Bugs freaks out. The shot of Bugs jerking with vertigo is Chiniquy all-over and the part where Bugs is almost pushed off the board but grabs hold with his feet is very cleverly animated. It's probably the only time we ever see Bugs' claws. He seems to like drawing hairy cheeks on Bugs, and thus - his most definite trait is the characters jumping around a lot and the way they jerk. He draws very cartoonie poses on the characters but he wasn't very loose with his actions and rather stiff an animator. He was a fine animator with a neat style but wasn't very fluid. His work was very controlled. Virgil Ross then does a small sequence of Bugs putting on his bathing suit and turning the diving board around. This shows subtle acting for Virgil. Then it's back to Gerry again with Bugs jumping off the board hitting the floor - look at the way how he makes him hit the ground. You can tell the way like he doesn't make his body move but with arm movements; he does - like when Bugs uses his arm to pretend as though he's falling.

After Sam falls off the diving board; the falling scenes and Bugs returning to his seat are animation by Ken Champin. Ken's work was very mild and cuter than Manny or Gerry. Shot 41 of Sam spinning around the water is very funny animation, and the water effects are pretty solid but I imagine maybe Ace Gamer might have done that. Ken continues as Bugs is about to move on to the next act - but the high-diving isn't quite finished in the words of Yosemite Sam.

Gerry Chiniquy returns again as he animates a sequence himself with Sam falling again by one of Bugs' tricks but learning there isn't any water in the bucket. Bugs jumping on the diving board has some of Gerry's techniques with Bugs bouncing at different poses. It looks like that Chiniquy sometimes liked to draw wider cheeks on Bugs' muzzle - similar to what Ben Washam does. Look at the weight of the animation in shot 47; I like how that Yosemite Sam has a bit of time to step on the water for a safe landing but in the next scene; Sam just crashes to the ground which is very funny comic timing.

Pete Burness animates the brief scene of Bugs having to go back up again on the diving board; and then it's Manny Perez who animates the next sequence. I do like the musical timing in shot 50 of when Bugs climbs the ladder and how it's a tuba playing for Sam climbing the ladder. It must've been a task to animate the upside down scenes; but all Perez had to do was animate it and turn it upside down - at least on Bugs; but in the shots like 51, 53 and 55 - must've been difficult in terms of animating it to get the shapes of the characters right and also timing of Sam falling. I wonder how he managed to draw it. Another trait that I was told of Manny is that he likes to draw detailed teeth on his characters; and you can see it on Bugs as well. Watching Sam fall off the diving board is funny to watch.

Pete Burness animates Bugs walking off commenting; "Bright boy"; but the next shot which is a long-shot of Sam climbing I'm quite sure is Virgil Ross. Most of the climbing scenes I'm sure of are Virgil as it seems to move very well of Sam climbing and solid timing. Besides; the shots of Sam climbing (exc. of the scenes with Sam with the pistols) are reused animation from one scene and it makes sense to re-use it, in my opinion. I think the "Bright boy" scene was one continuous shot of where Sam and Bugs argue over insults and Bugs dares him to step over the line in the ladder. Burness uses some very solid facial expressions on the characters; and even in Sam's mouth when shouting "Yeah, them's fighting words". The animation of Bugs and Sam eye-to-eye is very similar to Pete's animation of Bugs and the green dog in Haredevil Hare fighting over the dynamite. Pete also appears to draw Bugs with a stubby body that has a bump in the middle part. It's a very hilarious scene; especially when Sam falls off but zips back up again. It kills me every time.

Virgil Ross animates the long-shots of Sam falling and climbing. The comic timing of Sam is just perfected by Freleng and I don't think it could've been any better. Virgil animates the whole sequence of Sam trying to open the door and falling. I love the actions Virgil has given with Sam trying to jump back onto the diving board and Bugs picks up an anvil while he's at it and makes him drop. Really good timing. The next sequence with Sam climbing the ladder with gunshots look to me more like Gerry Chiniquy since it has his teeth showing - but I'm not too sure. He did the whole sequence of Bugs dressed as an Indian. Look at these random poses of Bugs trying to point at the shortcut - there is no inbetweens; just animator's poses which is probably why Friz liked his style.

Virgil Ross then animates the climbing and falling scenes and he goes clean through to the end of the cartoon. Watching the timing of Sam climbing the board and falling down is just what I call comic timing. It moves realistically as what Virgil likes to do. After three attempts of defeat; Sam just falls; and there is a good use of silence and then the sounds of a saw cutting. The shot of Sam falling down after sawing the ladder is pretty funny animation and Virgil animates the close-up of Bugs to explain the animated excuse.

That's my animation commentary for High-Diving Hare completed; and I tried my best NOT to review the cartoon but to focus on the animation parts of it. This is certainly one of my all-time cartoons as I've already said so and I hope the animator identifications have been useful and good to study.


  1. Good job on the mosaic, but I believe some of the identifications are wrong. Manny Perez was the one who gives bugs bunny the appealing look. like the scene with bugs introducing the high diving act to the audience. And Ken champin did the scene when bugs bunny is upside down on the diving board (or Yosemite sam if you want to be specific). If you want more info, I highly recommend watching "his bitter half","the lion's busy" and "mutiny on the bunny". The animation on those shorts are done by Arthur Davis, Ken Champin, Virgil Ross and Gerry Chiniquy.

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