BB Cartoon Circus: Bob Clampett and Jazz

Tin Pan Alley Cats (Warner Bros/1943)

The mark of a great cartoon director is how he handles all the elements of filmmaking available to him- design, color, movement, backgrounds, timing, music, sound effects, voices, etc. The cartoon director who most fully exploited the medium during the golden age of animation was Bob Clampett. Read more about this cartoon after the jump…

Bob loved visiting the jazz clubs in Los Angeles and wanted to make cartoon soundtracks using black jazz musicians and performers. Warner Bros resisted, but finally allowed him to use black voice actors, but still required him to use the Warner Bros orchestra for the music. Even so, the spirit of classic jazz and swing still came through loud and clear.

This cartoon reuses a premise from "Porky in Wackyland" (1938), but takes it a step further. I have to admit I love this cartoon a lot. I bet you will too. If you don't know much about Fats Waller (the little guy in this cartoon is a parody of him), check out his music on the net. He is a drop dead genius.

Here are a couple of links to info on Bob Clampett at the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive…


Bob Clampett in Schlesinger's Exposure Sheet


Bob Clampett's Swimming Pool

You can find a lot of great Bob Clampett cartoons on DVD. Look for the Golden Age of Looney Tunes sets and in particular, the two fantastic DVDs put out by his family- Beany And Cecil: The Special Edition.