Thursday, March 19, 2009

Cartoon a Day: Cat-Tails for Two

Cat-Tails for Two
Directed by Robert McKimson
Available on: Looney Tunes Golden Collection Vol. 4

Many cartoon characters go through changes in their history. Everyone from Bugs Bunny to Bart Simpson have had their look altered as the characters developed over time. "Cat-Tails for Two" marks the first appearance of a beloved Looney Tunes character, Speedy Gonzales, but it also shows what is perhaps one of the most drastic changes in character design of any major character.

This short actually focuses on two cats, George and Benny, who are parodies of the George and Lennie characters from Of Mice and Men. They wander onto a Mexican ship in search of a Mexican dinner...a Mexican mouse, of course. They happen upon "the fastest mouse in all Mexico" and the hilarity ensues. And this is a very funny short. There are many great reaction shots from the two cats. Stan Freberg's voice work as Benny is also a highlight.

It is very interesting to see the change that would happen in Speedy's design. The studio must've realized after this short that they'd created a great character, but that they'd given him a really annoying look. With his flat head and over sized front teeth, he just doesn't look like able in this short. Lucky for us he would go through a dramatic makeover and become the Speedy we all love.

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