Monday, July 24, 2006

ROCK-A-BYE BEAR: FUNNIEST CARTOON EVER?



Peet started it, That Little Round-Headed Boy ran with it, and now it’s my turn. Thanks to the good folks at You Tube.com, we’ve got a little round of “What’s Your Favorite Tex Avery Cartoon?” developing here, and I’m proud to offer up the next salvo. Here’s my nominee for Favorite Cartoon Ever, a 7:14 blast of cranky fury and comically suppressed pain entitled Rock-a-Bye Bear. In the face of this bear, all teeth and hot breath and jumping-up-and-down anger over a prolonged barrage of hibernatus interruptus, keep your eye on the dropped jowls and detached stare (it’s all about self-preservation) of our put-upon bulldog. This is what it is to have the abyss reflected on one’s face and stare back at it, aghast. I can’t watch this cartoon without convulsing with laughter. I’m at the office now, so I really can’t watch this cartoon. I can’t. Oh, maybe just one time…

30 comments:

Ian W. Hill said...

Okay, all three of you guys posting the Avery cartoons, I was gonna let this lie after seeing the first two posts, but now I have to add in with my favorite over at my blog.

If you haven't yet sampled the wonder of Avery's Magical Maestro, though I assume you have, check it out at You Tube or over at my place.

Thanks for bringing this up.

That Little Round-Headed Boy said...

That's a good one, Dennis. But the first one I posted wasn't actually my favorite. The two I really like are up now. It's an unscheduled blog-a-thon!

Cerb Chaos said...

i'm sorry if I'm intruding, but I needed to show my personal favorite on
my blog too.

I hope it wasn't too obvious a choice, but this is the definitive Avery to me.

p.saga said...

That talented bulldog has somehow raised the bar. I'm going to have to learn to walk on my butt cheeks now.

Jim Emerson said...

Dennis -- you must have that Tex Avery laserdisc box set, yes? You've just reminded me that I have to get those LDs out of the garage and hook up the ol' Pioneer player! I'm a big fan of any Droopy Dog cartoons. And "Red Hot Riding Hood" is another favorite!

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Jim-- That Tex Avery laserdisc box is one of the most prized items in my collecion. And who knows if those will ever see their day on DVD. And yes, Droopy, especially in his sheriff incranation, kills me.

TLRHB-- I'm on my way!

Cerb-- There's no such thing as intruding here. I've gotta see what your favorite is now!

Psaga-- Let me know when you've mastered that feat. If flying up to Oregon to see that isn't worth a plane ticket, I don't know what would be!

jim emerson said...

I just realized something, watching this for the second time today (yes, I know, but I'm on a writing deadline -- or three -- so of course I'm watching cartoons): It's basically Kiarostami's "The Wind Will Carry Us" (the funniest of his movies that I've seen) with a cartoon dog and snow instead of a live-action man and sand. The dog keeps running out into the snow to make noise, just as the guy in K's movie has to run out to a high spot in the desert to get cell phone reception. Avery is just ever-so-slightly funnier than Kiarostami. I wonder if Abbas has ever owned up to this aesthetic debt.

Brian said...

I hadn't seen this in years! And I don't think there's such a thing as a bad Spike cartoon. The one that always has me in the most delightfully painful stitches is the Counterfeit Cat.

On a somewhat related note I just officially announced a Friz Freleng Blog-A-Thon for August 21.

Flickhead said...

Any truth to the rumor you're instigating a Robert Aldrich blogathon for September??

Tim Lucas said...

"Rock-A-Bye Bear" was also the blueprint, as far as I can tell, for two cartoons Avery made for Walter Lantz: "Shhhh!" and "The Legend of Rockabye Point" (my own favorite of the three, but it's close). Perhaps someday they'll be known as "The Rock-A-Bye Trilogy."

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Jim: I got a huge kick out of your Abbas Kiarostami/Tex Avery comparison, even though I haven't seen the Kiarostami film. I'm sadly deficient in experience with his work as of this writing, yet I'd read enough about him and The Wind Will Carry Us to vividly imagine how the two movies might mash up. I'd love to see what some madly inspired film fan/computer genius might come up by digitally intermixing those two seemingly incongruous works! I showed Bear to my girls yesterday, and now I can't walk into a room without being asked to "do the bear," which means (mock) yelling "Quiet! Quiet! When I say quiet, I mean quiet!" and then instantly falling asleep and snoring like a machine gun! Big laughs around dinnertime with that one!

Brian: I'd forgotten his name (how could I?), but Spike has always been a favorite of mine too. I don't recall The Counterfeit Cat off the top of my head, but I plan to get acquainted with it very soon. And just to reiterate, I am most definitely in on the Friz Freleng Blog-a-Thon!

Tim: Thanks for mentioning those titles. I saw an Avery festival at the Nuart here in L.A. years ago, and they played Rock-a-Bye Bear back-to-back with another short that was a virtual repeat of Bear's themes and even some of its gags. I've been trying to remember if those were included in that Avery laserdisc box, but like Jim, mine is tucked away in an inconvenient place, so I couldn't easily check. But now that the girls have been indoctrinated, I'm going to have to get it out of storage, so I'll be able to find out for myself.

Flickhead: It's true! I haven't decided on a date yet, but I'm gravitating toward the end of September/first of October for the Aldrich Blog-a-Thon. Girish mentioned Hustle, which I moved to the top of my Netflix queue this morning, and I've got that new Emperor of the North disc just waiting. Plus, Attack!, Baby Jane and Sweet Charlotte, plus The Longest Yard, The Big Knife, Kiss Me Deadly-- This is gonna be a good one! Are you in?

Flickhead said...

Dennis, I'm currently experiencing burn-out. Not a block. Just burn-out. I'll wait before committing myself to the Aldrich Blog-a-Thon, but I did put a teaser ad for it on the sidebar of the Flickhead blog.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Thanks, Flickhead. I suspect that I might have to go temporarily dark myself for a few days, and sometime soon. Lots of things happening that will need some of the oxygen I usually reserve for the goings-on here. I anxiously await your participation, but fully understand if you can't. Here's to the recharging of batteries.

Peet said...

As Tim Lucas already pointed out, there's also the very similar Chilly Willy short "The Legend of Rockabye Point", featuring a sleeping bulldog and a polar bear, which Avery did for the Walter Lantz studio after he stopped working for MGM. YouTube currently only has a very muddy version up, but it's definitely worth the watch:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2E-fQ1_W3c

Craig P said...

I love the Rock-a-Bye bear cartoon, too, though it just reminded me of how brilliant I've always thought Chuck Jones Three Bears toons were. Not even the one with Bugs Bunny but the subsequent ones, including the incredibly uproarious father's day 'toon - some of the best character animation and comic timing ever.

My favorite Tex Avery is still Red Hot Riding Hood and even more so, Bad Luck Blackie.

aldiboronti said...

Late to the party, as usual, and it looks like I've now missed the chance to see one of Avery's funniest cartoons. (YouTube, in their infinite wisdom, have removed most of the cartoons from their site, under pressure from the studios.)

Any chance of putting the cartoon up on DailyMotion?

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Aldiboronti, I'll see what I can do! Thanks for letting me know that it's no longer available on YouTube.

Anonymous said...

I first saw Tex Avery's "Rock-A-Bye Bear" in a theater when I was about four. I vividly recall that audience of mostly adults utterly convulsing at the thing. Years later I realized that this cartoon, besides being hilarious and brilliantly timed, contains arguably the best prolonged animated explosion (actually several explosions) ever done anywhere. Nobody could work one single gag like Tex and "Rock-A-Bye Bear" contains the best example of this.

Tom Minton

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know where I can find a copy of rock-bye-bear, or perhaps someplace else given that youtube does not have it anymore??

Anonymous said...

Go to this link over at www.metacafe.com to find the video:

http://www.metacafe.com/watch/390008/rock_a_bye_bear/

Anonymous said...

Sorry, here's the link in full:

http://www.metacafe.com/watch/390008/rock_a_bye_bear/

Anonymous said...

Oh, Never Mind! Go to www.metacafe.com and type in
"Rock-a-Bye Bear" in the Search box and you'll be able to see it...

Be careful on the website - some very suggestive videos are over there...

Anonymous said...

It's been jerked from youtube and now metacafe. Anywhere else I can get it???

abstrait said...

Rock-A-Bye Bear gets my award for best cartoon EVER as well. Just a total classic and I'm not sure Avery ever topped it, although most of his samples from this era were gems. I cant believe this Laserdisc Avery compilation hasnt been done on DVD! Sure wish I could find the whole version of Rock-A-Bye Bear as well. Just priceless stuff that has not been duplicated.

Kelly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
abstrait said...

Actually, after a quick search, I did come up with the complete TEX AVERY collection on DVD at sell.com for @ $22usd. If your DVD player plays DVD-R, then these should work but I haven't seen them yet and no nothing on the absolute quality. Still, it seems worth a chance, even if one might overdose with a full sitting, but that strikes me as a challenge I might have to take.

http://www.sell.com/22CLV6

There is also a 9 DVD selection as well (first link is 6 DVDs).
http://www.sell.com/22M52B

I haven't made my mind up regarding which one to go for but it looks like a worthwhile gamble considering all the great titles. I don't think anyone compares to Avery and there's nothing exactly like it, even to this day. So many have emulated him but none have equaled.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

These sound like they might be digital dubs from the MGM laserdisc collection. Provided the source disc is in good shape, they ought to be at least worth $22, which is a HELL of a lot less than I paid for the laserdisc when it came out.

abstrait said...

I totally agree, Dennis. At the least, it's worth the $22. I just left a message for one of the sellers and he responded within 30 minutes (guy with 9 DVD version). Seemed pretty professional, too. If I do get them, I'll post a comment on quality.

For those that want a touch of this classic Rock-A-Bye Bear, there is a brief clip when Spike first meets the Bear. This short piece has a few classic moments and is worth a look to refresh your memory of the great Bear lines.

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1bei6_rockabye-bear

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Ron F. said...

Why hasn't anyone mentioned "Cock-a-Doodle Dog"? That was hilarious. I always lost it when the bubble popped. TIIIIIIIIM.......ber.

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