Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Tex Avery, research for my essay

I watched the documentary 'Tex Avery, the King of Cartoons' and noted down the following quotes relevant to my essay.

"In the 1930s the world of animation was dominated by the famous Walt Disney studios, it specialised in films about a mosue and his friends, fairy tales and fury creatures of the forest, but towards the end of the decade, something happenened"

"The something that happened was the arrival on the scene of animation director, Fredrick Bean Avery, a linieal descendant of Daniel Boom and handing judge Roy Bean and known to his friends as Tex"

"a shy yet jovial man, his humour was based on a dog concerns, concerns that had seldom before been dealt with by the animated cartoon. Those of irratational fear, status, or lack of it, survival, paranoia, sex, or if not sex, than atleast a brave stab at it".

"Tex Avery was born on Feb 26th 1908 Tailor Texas, the son of a lumberman worker, he attended north Dallas high school, where his talent as a cartoonist soon came to the fore, he graduated high school in 1926 and his drawings were a cnoticeable feature of the school year boo"

"after trying unsuccessfully to sell comic strips to magazines, he got a job in inkkin and painting department at the walter lantz studio who were producing oswalt the rabbit cartoons"

"he progress to become an animator and finally directed two films for the studio, in 1936 he landed a job as the director of Warner Bros animation department, heading up a unit that included junior animator Bob Clampett and Chuck Jones"

Chuck Jones "We was in the presence of someone who was different" " at 20 years old, you don't analyse things like this, but if I had been capable of analysing, I would of analysed that I was in the presence of a genius"

"The studio turned out around 40 Loony Toons and Merrie Melodies every year, each of them just 6 minutes long"

"Leon Schlesinger, probably would of made them down to 2 minutes, but the exhibitor demanded them be of atleast 6 minutes, to Leon that meant they would be of exactly 6 minutes, he wouldn't let us make them and longer, and the exhibitor wouldn't let him make them any shorter, so 6 minutes it was." CHUCK JONES

"we learned a craft which I think is very fortunate, because it taught us the basic rule of all communication and certainly true of all art forms and that is that you must work within a discipline"
"The discipline of film making, is a must be, timing, there's no way that anything can work unless the timing is exact"
"I put Tex in the very top level of this peculiar craft, because his stuff, seemed to be over extended, I mean his gags were carried on over to infinity sometimes and yet they were done with such craftmenship and such awareness of the time, that a gag was carried on for 45 seconds were still perfectly atune to a single frame". CHUCK JONES

"During his stay at Warners, Tex was grooming characters that were to become the studio's stars through it's golden error of the 40s and 50s. The 1940 film, the wild hare, was a landmark in animation history, not only for the first appearanace of a recognisable bugs bunny, but also for the debut of the immortal catchphrase, what's up doc?"

Biographer of Tex 'Joe Adamson' "It was jus something in high school"

"Tex got his ideas everywhere, a chance conversation with Chuck Jones, resulted in a character based on Lenny, from Steinbeck's 'Of Mice and Men"

"in 1942, Leon Schlesinger lost the services of Tex Avery to MGM, but by that time Tex had established not only Bugs Bunny as a superstar, but Daffy Duck was making his prescence felt and so was Porky Pig"

"Avery cartoons didn't depend on star characters, he felt that what you did with the character was more important, but he did stay loyal throughout his stay at MGM to a small laconic beagle, and his name was Droopy".

"Tex was in many respects, a one man band, but he didn't consider himself a good draftsman, and gave this as the reason why he became a director. Nevertheless his drawing exhibit a vitality that the animators strive to transfer to the final film. One of those animators, Mike Lah, recalls the unique Avery style:"

"I think the main thing was, he let himself go, he never had any restrictions and it came finally in the exaggerated drawings, exagerated takes, nobody has ever tried them before, btu he went along with them without worrying if anyone found them funny,because they were funny to him. It was mainly, extreme takes, and double takes, I think that stood out more than anythin else, nobody else would ever try it, only Tex". MIKE LAH

But in fact, MGMs other unit, headed by Bill Hannah and Joe Barbera, turning out the Tom and Jerry cartoons, were not adverse to borrowing from Tex". "Tom's reaction to Jerry's sabotage, is pure Avery".

"Tex set out to baffle his audiences, and even his characters, with alienation techniques, a constant reminded, that you're watchin a film".

"one thing that Tex said was, we knew that Disney had the kids audience sown up, so we went after teenagesrs, and young adults, well that's one way to do it, and if u start thinking about ur cartoons that way, and he sed 'will a 10 year old laugh at this' and as soon as you think that, you become a lil bit compromised, and a lil bit slower, and a lil bit deliberate and you get intlo what they do wit TV, when tehy go ' wait what;s a 6 yyr odl gonna think when he sees this, and they jus did not think that way at all". CHUCK JONES

"His idea of making a picture was, give me an opening and a closing, and give me 30 gags and I'll make you a cartoon, that's not the kind of writer the films business if used to, but that's what it was."

"He realised you could kill a character, destroy him, mame him, and bring him back to life, and the audience will accept it, as funny"

"Tex personally, was very similar to Buster Keaton, in his sort of down home way, he was a nuts and bolts guy, he just thought in gags, and he thought in, lets get these gags on screen in a way that would work and the audiences are gonna laugh, he had a job to do, and he went and did it, he was very selfless about it, the ego wasn't there, when u talked to the people that worked with him, it was always Tex, Tex did it, it was a Tex Avery film all the way". "They give Tex all the credit"When Tex talked about it, it was always, 'we'. CHUCK JONES

Tex left MGM in 1954 havin completed more than 80 cartoons, a few months spent at Universal studios resulted in the debut of Chilly Willy the penguin, but he wasn't happy." MIKE LAH

' He was havin a difficult time believeing in himself, he bagan losin the belief that all his stuff is funny, his favourite remark is 'I've odone it all a 100 different ways, I've burned out' MIKE LAH

"I introduced him to Kas Kadewer, he went and did a series of crazy commercials on raids, he made a big splash, but even there, he was burned out"/ MIKE LAH

I think he was happier making theatricals but he was glad to be away from the pressure, jus trying to satistfty a studio is a tremendous weight that he had to carry, but creatively, I think the cartoons satisified him alot more, cus he docouldn't do jokes in commenrcials, evertym he tried to do something funnny, the client or the agency, would take it out" MARK KAUSLER

"he was more infleuntial than anyone else, although my animations started at Disneys" MIKE LAH

"you can't sum up Tex in a few lines, it's impossible to understand a person, when u hav no way of relatin to that person in that duration" CHUCK JONES

"Tex is well worth of being included inthe history of film not jus of animated cartoons, because the things that he did extended the premise of what motion pictures could do"CHUCK JONES

"Tex Avery died on 26th of August 1980, the mild mannered Texan had come to Hollywood and brought about a revollution in studio cartoon, many tried to follow him, few if any succeeded, but one thing is for certain, after him, things were never quite the same"

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