Jim wrote: (corrected)
> Or, according to the immediate cartoon character precursor
> of Bugs Bunny:
> Thirty days hath September,
> April, June, and Montana.
> All the rest have cold weather,
> Except in the summer,
> Which isn't very often.
>[ Oh, I love it! -- Especially since all this started with a sleepy
>[ MMDer in Missoula, Montana. But who, pray tell, is the precursor
>[ of Bugs Bunny? I'm sure it isn't Roger Rabbit ! :-) -- Robbie
Bob Loesch wrote:
> It was probably 'Oswald the Rabbit', a Walt Disney creation which was
> stolen from Disney in the 1920s. [Cartoonist/animator] Walter Lantz
> knew that the penniless Disney wouldn't be able to pursue copyright
> litigation, so he appropriated Disney's 'intellectual property' (as
> they would say today).
No, nothing like this. Cartoon characters evolved over time. You are
probably familiar with the evolution of Mickey Mouse. There have been
published series of drawings, showing how Mickey evolved over time,
gaining more fingers, pupils in his eyes, different face shapes, etc.
I have several laserdisc collections of Warner Brother cartoons titled
"The Golden Age of Looney Tunes", volumes 1, 2, 3, and 4 from the years
1933-1948. These collections incidentally show how the Warner Brothers
cartoon characters also evolved. Sometimes, there was only a single
episode of the character. For example, the singing frog that is now
the tied to the logo of the "WB Network" appeared in only the one car-
toon that introduced him. Screwy Squirrel, a creation of Tex Avery,
also only appeared in a limited number of cartoons, after which Tex
Bugs Bunny did not spring forth, fully defined in name, character,
and shape. There were four or five cartoons from different directors
featuring Elmer Fudd being tortured by a nameless rabbit. The rabbit
evolved in shape, voice(!), and demeanor (zaniness), before a cartoon
is reached where the character IS identifiably Bugs Bunny. I was
referring to the last pre-cursor cartoon in my previous note.
Yes, Warner did try to keep up with Disney, but stealing Bugs was not
one of the ways. Warner did have a character, Foxy, in the cartoon
"Smile, Darn Ya, Smile", who was "as close to Mickey Mouse as the
lawyers would allow", differing by triangular ears and a bushy tail.
However, the hiring of Tex Avery in 1936 was start of an artistic trend
that took them away in a different direction.
I suppose I should say something that might possibly tie all this to
MMD, so here are a few tidbits for your consideration:
It all started in 1930, when producer Leon Schlesinger hired ex-Disney
animators Hugh Harmon and Rudy Ising to produce a series of musical
cartoons for Warner Brothers release under the title "Looney Tunes."
Harmon and Ising were hired because they had acquired the trick of
synchronizing a voice sound track to character's lip movements.
Beginning in 1931, Schlesinger commissioned a second series of
musicals, "Merrie Melodies," which went off in other directions,
using different characters and different themes in each film. Warner
Brothers had acquired the rights to a large number of tunes, such as
"Shuffle Off to Buffalo," that were just moldering away in a closet.
It was said that Merrie Melodies were commissioned to feature these
songs, and so get some use out of the rights.
C. Jim Cook