Some of my fellow bloggers refer to me as the "animation expert," a nice label, but I don't personally consider myself an expert on animation. I'm really just a big fan with a knack for remembering trivial things. Besides, there are a ton of great Web sites and blogs out there by people who actually work in the industry and can talk about things with an authority I just don't have. Case in point: John Kricfalusi recently posted a lengthy missive from Milton Gray on his blog in which Gray, who currently works as an animation timer on The Simpsons, talked about the importance of timing in animation and sung the praises of early animation directors, especially Bob Clampett. Gray writes about how important the hands-on approach was in those early cartoons, and about working within the confines and restrictions of modern animation. Check it out.
While each of the Looney Tunes characters had their own personality, even those personalities would differ depending on which era the cartoon was made, and who was directing. Porky Pig, for example, was often portrayed as the neurotic foil, but in later cartoons with Daffy Duck he was often the calm voice of reason. Daffy also differed greatly in personality from his early days under the supervision of Bob Clampett when he truly lived up to the name "daffy" to his eventual evolution into the selfish but lovable duck most people know him as today. Trying to keep these two sides of Daffy's psyche in mind, I've come up with five of what I think are his best shorts:
Duck Amuck (1953): "And on this farm he had an igloo...." This was one of my favorite cartoons growing up, and still is today. Daffy finds himself at the mercy of an unseen director who erases and paints in new scenery, erases Daffy himself, and even messes with the music soundtrack and Daffy's own voice. Al the while Daffy tries to reason with him, but to no avail. In the end it's revealed that the man with the magic pencil and paintbrush is actually Bugs Bunny.
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