Monday, November 14, 2011
The Ant and The Aardvark Part One
The cartoons felt hipper than the older Looney Tunes stuff, even though the Depatie Freleng staff basically reused a whole lot of old Warner Bros gags. The thing about these cartoons though was the unique voice characterizations of John Byner doing impressions of Dean Martin (The Ant) and Jackie Mason (The Aardvark) in the guise of two odd ball cartoon stars. What really made these cartoons special was the great line reads by Byner. They're simply not your standard cartoony cartoon voices. It's really hard to believe that Byner did all these characters because you don't hear his vocal voice print (Even with some of the classic voice artists like Paul Frees, Mel Blanc and Daws Butler, you could tell who was doing those voices). To top off the uniqueness of these cartoons, the jazzy music by Doug Goodwin creates what I call a drunken type of music that really works. Everything adds to the fun! In Technology Phooey (The cel above is from that very cartoon) the Aardvark has to deal with the Ant and a computer (also voiced by Byner doing a pseudo Paul Lynde impression) who gives him very bad advice. It's one of my favorite Ant & The Aaardvark cartoons! Even though it seemed like they produced a lot of these shorts, in reality only 17 were made between 1969 and 1971. Art Leonardi, who was a Warners guy back in the late years of that studio, moved to DFE and was a key guy there doing lots of different things. I later worked with him on Tiny Toon Adventures in the late 80's. He's credited as animator on this particular short and did all 17 of the cut out titles. Take a look at the short below...
Somewhere over the last twenty years, I started collecting animation art from Depatie Freleng's early years and stumbled across a bunch of original cels from The Original Ant & Aardvark series (many from this short). Because I had never seen too many originals ever offered through the years, I decided to buy whatever I could. Fast forward to now and a lot of these cels are just sitting in a closet where they will probably never be displayed the way they should. So I decided to let a few go on ebay so that other people might enjoy them. I will post some of my other original Ant & The Aardvark art over the next couple of weeks.