Robert Clampett (1913 - 1984) was one of Leon Schlesinger's most important directors. He joined the studio shortly before he was 18 in 1931. He animated with Sid Sutherland, Virgil Ross and Charles M. (Chuck) Jones in Tex Avery's Termite Terrace unit and was promoted to director in 1937. After a great many black and white Porky Pig and Daffy Duck cartoons he inherited Avery's expert animators and was finally able to realize his vision of a more flexible character animation style that allowed his energetic characters to express their innermost feelings in extreme deformations without sacrificing their dimensionality and anatomy.

In honor of Bob Clampett's 100th birthday, I have written about aspects of his Warner Brothers cartoons that have not yet been analyzed in detail. Here, I will provide direct access links to anything I have written on Clampett's films.

Clampett Cartoons on DVD and Blu ray
A list of where to find official releases of more than half his Looney Tunes und Merrie Melodies.

A short analysis of Chuck Jones' emerging style of pose-to-pose with de-emphasizing the inbetween drawings in comparison to Clampett's focus on the action between the poses.

Cartoon Poses, Specific Expressions and Motion Blur
One of my very first articles focused on cartoon poses in BlueSky's HORTON HEARS A WHO (2008) which I compared to Clampett's emphasized cartoon distortions.

Horton Hatches the Egg
There are plenty of Clampett characteristics visible in his first color cartoon HORTON HATCHES THE EGG (1942).
Among them are specific expressions with teeth, a suicide gag, a typically silly walk and a one-wing flight cycle.

Cartoon Characters Dressed Up As Animals
Morphing is an obvious part of Clampett's animation style. Entire cartoons are based on the gag that a realistically drawn animal suddenly becomes cartoony.
Most of his animal characters (especially Daffy) feel like humans stuck in animal dresses.

Breathing Life Into Inanimate Objects
Many early cartoons featured objects that behaved like animals. In POLAR PALS (1939) it is also the other way round.
Materiality is not sacred in these cartoons, even guns can appear rubbery at times. There is a trademark gag starting very early based on a gun that spits bullets from a mouth with a tongue.

Black Cats in Technicolor: THE HEP CAT (1942)
Clampett's early color cartoons demonstrate how a good color designer can deliver within a set of narrow limitations. This is a good example how to apply contrast of hue, value and saturation in favor of a nicely structured color scheme.

Black Cats in Technicolor: A TALE OF TWO KITTIES (1942)
A day in the life of two cats trying to catch a naked bird. Four scenes distinguished by four different color schemes based on the time of day.

Black Cats in Technicolor: KITTY KORNERED (1946)
Probably THE most garish WB cartoon. But upon closer inspection the perceived arbitrariness is actually based on rather tight concepts. Color continuity and perspective are more expressionist than consistent.

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