Tuesday, November 29, 2011

24 1/2th Things I Love About Duck Dodgers

Daffy-blogging, essay 14 of 15 blog entries on
Duck Dodgers in the 24 ½th Century

Maurice Noble's sleek rocket design in Duck Dodgers in the
24 1/2th Century

Part One, 24 1/2th Things I Love About Duck Dodgers

1.  24 1/2th—I love that 1/2th
Following the taxi, the camera
pulls up and up in the opening
crane shot in Duck Dodgers.
2.  The opening crane shot that introduces the space city
3.  The office is on the 17,000th floor
4.  The giant eye
5.  The “Unknown” cloud where Planet X is located on the map
6.  The way Daffy says, “Indubitably”
7.  The Evaporator that leads “To Studio”
8.  The floppy antennae on Daffy’s and Porky’s head coverings
9.  Porky calls Dodgers “Your heroship, sir.”
10.  Daffy’s sheepish expression after he puts rocket in reverse
11.   “South by downeast” in Daffy’s directions to Planet X.  Downeast???
A tree on Planet X.
12.  The X trees on Planet X
13.  The cloud X on the mountain behind Marvin’s spaceship
14.   “Little does he realize that I have on my disintegration-proof vest.”
15.  Daffy’s vest turns from green to red during the disintegrator blast
16.  Porky’s Acme Integrating Pistol
17.  Daffy gets so angry at Porky that he sticks his hand through his head
18.  Porky doesn’t mind that Daffy’s hand went through his head
19.  Daffy’s disintegrating pistol that disintegrates
20.  Porky calls Marvin, “You thing from another world”
Marvin stands on
a pile of books.
21.  Marvin standing on a pile of books to reach his weapon of mass destruction
22.  The bedraggled uniforms of our heroes after the explosion
23.  The roots that dangle off the bit of dirt left of the planet at the end
24.  Final iris-out on Porky
24½.  All this in 6 minutes and 55 seconds

Part Two, Return to Space

Chuck Jones returned for more science fiction comedy on at least
five occasions after Duck Dodgers, but these later efforts never
reached the heights of Duck Dodgers, The Hasty Hare (1952),
or Haredevil Hare (1948).  In 1955, Jones teamed Porky and
Sylvester for a UFO trip into space in Jumpin' Jupiter. This short
introduced the bird-like alien shown here.  He turns up in several
later Jones' cartoons.

Rocket Squad from 1956 had an excellent script by Tedd Pierce that
parodied 1950s  TV detective shows like Dragnet.  Background
artist Ernie Nordli provided a number of imaginative designs
but the short also borrows backgrounds straight from Duck Dodgers,
as in this shot.

Rocket-Bye Baby, also from 1956, was an unusual effort for Chuck
Jones who was working without most of his usual collaborators.
Ernie Nordli provided the very UPA-like background art and Daws
Butler and June Foray did the voices (no Mel Blanc involvement!).
The story concerned an alien baby mix-up.

Bugs Bunny fought Marvin the Martian again in Hareway to the
(1958).  Background artist Maurice Noble provided a memorable
floating space city and the bird-like aliens from Jumpin' Jupiter
returned to torment Bugs.

Coming at the very end of Chuck Jones' long run at Warner Bros.,
Mad As a Mars Hare (1963) boasted an imaginative design,
courtesy of co-director Maurice Noble, but the story and the
animation were much weaker than the standard in the golden days.

Reference Sources
Chuck Amuck by Chuck Jones
Chuck Reducks by Chuck Jones
Hollywood Cartoons by Michael Barrier
Looney Tunes: The Ultimate Visual Guide by Jerry Beck
Warner Bros. Animation Art by Jerry Beck and Will Friedwald
7 Minutes by Norman M. Klein
That's All Folks by Steve Schneider
Stepping Into the Picture by Robert J. McKinnon
Looney Tunes Golden Collection, Volume One DVD set, Duck Dodgers commentary by Michael Barrier
Friends at the IMDb Classic Film message board including Rollo Treadway, Chloe Joe Fassbender, Illtdesq, and Fish Beauty
... and an occasional sneak glance at Wikipedia entries (but always double-checking everything!)

Watch Duck Dodgers...
Purchase Looney Tunes Golden Collection, Volume One DVD set at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
Rent Disc Two of Looney Tunes Golden Collection, Volume One DVD set at Netflix or other rental service.

© 2011 Lee Price

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