Apr 25, 2006
For no other reason, really, than that it's beautiful.
I mean, what a design and piece of animation, that the cels look like this.
I've always been gobsmacked by Preston Blair's Red, like everyone else; those drawings in the old Walter Foster book are enough to make you cry, they're so rich and expressive...and she's an elusive girl--very hard to draw well, to hit just right; like Snow White, if the littlest things about her head, face, eyes, legs, etc.etc. is off, she looks wrong. You can't just be close, it's got to be just right...which is hard. It's an idiosyncratic design. Nothing quite like it anywhere. Milt Kahl's Slue Foot Sue is more sophisticated, really, in drawing and animation, but she's also different, and wouldn't have worked as well in the Tex Avery cartoons anyway. I love the old story(from Leonard Maltin's book, "Of Mice and Magic")where supposedly the cels were stolen from off the camera platen during production.
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Preston Blair set the cartoon girl standard and we've all been trying to live up to it ever since. I'll never forget the first time I saw this character im motion. It was a life changing event, I tell you that affects me to this day. (Hell, just look at my avatar!) Thanks for posting this!
Oh yeah, this stuff is gold. Red has so much personality and vigor, and the drawings are so assured. Also, the poses are dead on... superb animation all around. I threw some odd sketches I found on the web up on my weblog a few months ago and still stagger when I scroll down over them. MGM continued to use the wolf gag through several other cartoons, and it shows up again in HB stuff of the 60's as well as in a couple of the so-so Herman cartoons done by post-Fleisher Famous Studios. I've been buying up these 1.00 DVDs of collections at the Wal-Mart and have really been getting a kick out of all the royalty-free animation history stacked up in the bargain bin. Lots of lessons, good and bad!
I fear we may never see UNCLE TOM'S CABANA again -- it may vanish into the same PC hell as COAL BLACK & SONG OF THE SOUTH -- so I'm going to cherish my old Tex Avery LD Box until doomsday. (UNCLE TOM may very well be the best of the Red films -- and one of the best Averys period...)
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