Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Cartoon a Day: The Shooting of Dan McGoo

The Shooting of Dan McGoo
Directed by Tex Avery
Available on: Tex Avery's Droopy - The Complete Theatrical Collection.

If, God forbid, there were ever a great calamity and only one of Tex Avery's cartoons from his time at MGM were to survive, "The Shooting of Dan McGoo" may as well be it. Just about everything that defines Avery's style during this period is in this cartoon.

This is the second outing for the character Droopy, and it isn't a cartoon that was a part of the kid show rotation in my hometown. Make no mistake, this is not a kids cartoon. Why the very first gag of the film involves a pun on some mature language. What follows are scenes of drinking, gambling, gun play, and a scantily clad dancing girl...and it's all very funny too. Avery's three great MGM era characters all appear in this cartoon, Droopy, the Wolf, and the dancing girl often known as "Red Hot Ridding Hood," here referred to as "Lou."

The sight gags are hilarious in this short. I love the little signs that speak directly to the audience, like the one that declares "Noisy, isn't it" as the camera pans across the violent saloon.

Another great sight gag involves a strategically placed bartender standing in front of a painting of women reclining. That gag seems pretty risque at first but actually has a pretty innocent payoff later in the film.

Of course, the highlight of the short is the performance by Lou, and the extreme reactions of the wolf as he watches. The animation of the wolf is so over the top, it's impossible not to laugh. What's even more amazing is that Avery's crew managed to pretty much remake this scene with even more extreme reactions in shorts like "Little Rural Ridding Hood." The animation of Lou the dancing girl is incredible. Yes, it is very adult in nature, but you will be hard pressed to find more believable looking dancing in the annals of animation history.

"The Shooting of Dan McGoo" may not be for younger viewers, but it's one of Tex Avery's quintessential works.

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