August 28, 2009
August 27, 2009
Interview excerpts from "An Interview With Bob Clampett" conducted by Michael Barrier and Milton Gray in 1969.
Gray: You are an animator, a puppeteer, a writer, a song writer, do voices, direct, and what not. How would you describe your function in the making of your films?
Clampett: Primarily as a storyteller and an actor. Not an actor in the sense that I appear on the screen myself, but in the sense that I act through my characters. In finalizing my scripts, I always create my characters' complete performance—each movement, facial expression, voice inflection, and nuance; you know, each gesture of the hand, a lift of the eyebrow, everything. If I'm doing Porky Pig I don't stand off removed from Porky directing him, I get inside of Porky and I think like Porky, I talk like Porky, I have a s-s-sp-speech p-p-p-problem. I walk like Porky, and I feel like Porky. I, too, was short and chubby as a child, and I know exactly how Porky feels. I am helpful, trusting, concerned, kindly, and sometimes a trifle p-p-p-ut out. S-s-s-shucks, I am Porky.
Clampett: Bugs' personality is quite the opposite of Porky's. And much more fun to do. When I do Bugs Bunny I get inside of him, and I not only think like, feel like, walk and talk like Bugs but, confidentially, Doc, I AM THE WABBIT! Some people call me cocky and brash, but actually I'm just self-assured. I'm nonchalant, imperturbable, contemplative. I play it cool, but I can get hot under the collar. And above all I'm a very "aware" character. I'm well aware that I am appearing in an animated cartoon. If you think I'm kidding, obsoive all my asides to the audience. . . "Funny situation, ain't it?" or "I do dis kinda stuff to him all through the picture" or, in the middle of my fake dying scenes, "Hey! Dis oughta win me the Academy Award."
And when Elmer Fudd comes sneaking up to my wabbit hole for the umpteenth time dressed as a hunter, carrying a hunting rifle, and I ask him, "Ehhh, what's up, Doc?" does anyone in the audience for one teensy weensy moment think that I don't know the answer to that question??? I'm usually just toying with him. And I sometimes chomp on my carrot for the same reason that a stand-up comic chomps on his cigar—it saves me from rushing from the last joke to the next one too fast. And I sometimes don't act—I react. And, I always treat the contest with my pursuers purely as "fun and games." When momentarily I appear to be cornered or in dire danger and I scream, don't be consoined—it's actually a big put-on. Let's face it, Doc, I've read the script and I already know how it all comes out. Of course, Mike, Bugs Bunny is much too complex a personality for us to fully explore his "psyche" in these few minutes.
Available in retail locations on September 8, Beany And Cecil: The Special Edition Volume 2 is a must-have! Some copies of Volume 1 are still available too, and, believe me, this is a bona fide collector's item which I've personally seen commanding prices of up to $150 on eBay! Why? Because Clampett is a genius! Order it now!
The sound and picture quality of the cartoons on the dvds is far superior to this faded print of "Grime Doesn't Pay," which is not included on either volume.