Friday, June 29, 2007

Histeria

One of the last WB series that Startoons worked on, Histeria was an odd cast of characters that seemed to change personalities all the time. I believe they would even change their race if the script called for it. This image was one of the golden moments from the show - where we got to animate a classic WB character. This scene is from "The Wild West" if I'm not mistaken (judging by Miss Information's getup). Bugs Bunny was skillfully handled by Director John Griffin, delivering his classic line I'm assuming - I can hardly remember since I probably last saw this show only when it aired. I'm sure John could help fill in the details. "The Wild West" was the first Histeria show Startoons worked on, and the show that was in production when Startoons moved from 900 Ridge Road to the VFW building on Harwood.

Update: Posing by Jon McClenahan, Animation by John Griffin

7 comments:

Goldskeleton said...

Thanks for the nice comment Dave. That was a fun scene to animate for sure, but I can't take too much credit... those poses were 100% pure McClenahan and they basically animated themselves. All I did was not f*** it up.
Nevertheless, I am grateful to Jon that he let me finish them up. I sometimes geek out when I think about those shots (there were three Bugs shots in that scene) ...that in some not-so-far off future I can sit around the virtual fireplace with my genetic clone-children and amaze them with my stories about how I animated "the" Bugs Bunny in Histeria!.
That's when they pause, their eyes go blank as their minds telepathicaly access the internet, and then say: "I can't find any references to this... Histeria! Was it a TV show?"

Goldskeleton said...

Oh yeah, the scene in question featured "Doc" Holliday being interviewed by that one eyed cyclops known as Miss Information.
She keeps asking him stupid questions, then interrupting him before he finishes his answer, thus making him angry. Finally Bugs Bunny comes out and asks "What's up Doc?", which is the last straw, and Doc Holliday storms off the show, furious at not being taken seriously.

Dave Pryor said...

That's cool that you cleared it up John. I remembered you working on Bugs so I make a lot of assumptions. Jon did work on this Miss Info part of the show. We did animate choice scenes between all the posing we did - but we usually chose to animate scenes in the acts we worked on, so it was unusual to have directors cross over working on acts. How did you come to animate this Jon posed sequence? Do you remember the story behind it? Was it your request or did Jon want to ensure the care behind how Bugs was handled?

Goldskeleton said...

I remember that on Histeria! the directors all took large chunks of the show and posed them out. If we had time, we would eventually get to animate some of our own poses.
I don't recall WHY I got to animate those scenes, but I do recall that *I* drew the storyboards and layout for that section, then Jon posed it.
I was GLAD that he chose to do that, because he obviously lived and breathed that Warner's style while it would have been a bit of learning curve for me to draw Bugs as effortlessly as he did. Once he posed it, however, I felt pretty confident in being able to animate it well. Perhaps that was Jon's plan, I dont recall. It was all a bit of a blur at that point, since that was my first actual stint in series work. Previously I had only directed commecials, so the sharing of directing duties among the three of us was a new experience for me. I didn't ask a lot of questions, I was just happy to be asked to animate Bugs Bunny. Like I said before, it's still kinda a big deal for me to have had that opportunity.

Jon said...

I'll say this: I had more faith in John's ability to handle Bugs than I had in my own. I did Bugs a couple of times on Tiny Toons. The first one was embarrassingly off-model. Somehow I got lucky the second time; it didn't look half bad.

But Bugs is actually a pretty restrained, controlled character, and the animator has to be disciplined. John is a lot more disciplined of an artist than I am. So I took pains to pose it properly, then relied on John's talent to take it to the next level. To me, botching up Bugs Bunny is tantamount to sacrilege - I didn't want him botched for this cartoon.

Good job, John Griffin!

An interesting side note to this: the model for Doc Holliday is the same model they used for Ulysses S. Grant - it is actually the Grant model sheet. The WB Animation Division has apparently been chastised for blowing budgets out of the roof on Tiny Toons and Animaniacs, so one of the ways they tried to cut back was by having recurring models for various historical characters. This was a good move on paper, I think ...

... but (fortunately or unfortunately) the model does look so much like Grant! An officer under Grant once described him as follows: "Grant habitually wears an expression as if he had determined to drive his head through a brick wall, and was about to do it." He indeed seems to be wearing that expression here, in this scene. In the end it may not have been much different from Doc Holliday's expression who probably spent a lot of time drugged up ... anyway, thanks for posting this, Dave.

Phil G said...

Those chairs in that scene are egg cup chairs (generic name), beloved furniture of John Griffin and myself. They're from the 60's danish modern movement, and are reputed to be supremely comfortable. I hope to find out first hand some day. You can still get them as reproductions. The current manufacturer is InMod, I believe. As represented in this scene, they're a little smaller in relation to the persons than they are in real life. You can lean back and fit your head in them, which is great if you get the optional speakers built in. The price... about 2 thousand dollars. Ow. Anyway, John was happy to draw them in the layout and I was delighted to paint them in the BG key. This background here, as reproduced by the foreign studio, is rather bad. I'd be ashamed if I had pained those curtains. I'll try and find my copy of the original painting.

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