Friday, June 13, 2008

Funkadellic FRIZ

These scans of BG's from Friz Freleng's THE INSPECTOR series are blowing me away lately. I was studying the DVD with the aforementioned Mr. Logan recently, who is also a fan and has one of the sharpest senses of design around.

UPDATE: As one commentor has already pointed out, TOM YAKUTIS was the key designer on the show and should be singled out for credit on these outstanding designs.

I am embarrassed to admit that as a kid, I didn't completely get how cool the style of this show was. I liked the cartoons tho. Seeing them today, I am really impressed with the blend of contemporary techniques in them. Adding to the fun, character actor Pat Harrington flawlessly channels Peter Sellers in the voice work. The irresistible Paul Frees voices most of the villians.

Storyboard artist JOHN DUNN was something of a one-man show at DePatie-Freleng studio. His super-sixties inventiveness in writing, boarding, designing and visual gags influenced every cartoon. If you haven't already, check out the ANIMATION BLAST cover story on him. Amid Amidi gives a comprehensive overview of his work, including many previously unpublished sketches, ideas and anecdotes.

Because it's Friday the 13th, (and also because I haven't posted my own drawings in a while), here's a tribute drawing I did freehand after numerous viewings of the DVD:
(Images and characters = copyright MGM/UA and FOX HOME VIDEO)

14 comments:

Blammo said...

I love these BG'S too!
They are the brilliant work of Tom Yakutis.

Jason;)

Larry Levine said...

1) The backgrounds are indeed beautiful.

2) Your drawing is great!!!

3) Re Voice: Pat Harrington from "One Day at a Time"???

Will Finn said...

Thanks Larry, i am getting a lot of inspiration about design from these...

3) A: YES. Before he became steadily employed and generally famous as the sleazy apartment superintendent "Snider", Pat Harrington was (and remains) a brilliant improv comic and character actor. He has a brief but stunningly funny role at toward the end of the uber-hip James Coburn comedy THE PRESIDENT'S ANALYST. I can't recommend that movie enough.

Floyd Norman said...

Tom Yakutis and I started at Disney on the same day back in 1956. Tom's a great writer, and an even better designer.

Some thirty years later we shared an office together at Disney. We were both writers in Disney's publishing department.

One time, an angry big shot boss asked Tom if he was trying to be funny? Naturally, Tom replied - - YES!

Ashley Barton said...

DUDE. I like your signature.

Wish I knew enough about this stuff to leave an intelligent-sounding comment, heh. Though, those backgrounds ARE really cool. Wish I could do stuff like that. Great drawing, by the way!

Whit said...

It's really hard to look at any of this old DePatie-Freleng stuff without smelling liqour. It was part of that landscape, and era. How things have changed since animation went corporate.

BillRiling said...

These were some of my favorite cartoons. Now I have Henri Mancini's theme "A Shot in the Dark" running through my head! Love it. Didn't these play in movie theaters as well? I have vague recollection and I'm not referring to the PP titles. Thanks for posting.

Mike Gillett said...

Remember "The Ant and the Aardvark"

Great post as well. Even if I had not know you, Will, happening upon (and reading) your blog has been most enjoyable and informative...

Still working on "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe"...

Pete Emslie said...

The Depatie-Freleng shorts are a great example of how to make funny, entertaining cartoons on a reduced budget, while still retaining artistic integrity. I love the simple, funny character designs and minimalist backgrounds in both the "Pink Panther" and "The Inspector" shorts. I also show the first Pink Panther cartoon, "The Pink Phink" in my Character Design class at Sheridan as an example of great pantomime humour.

Coincidentally, Will, I just watched "The President's Analyst" on TCM several months ago. It really is a trippy film. I now live in mortal fear of The Telephone Company!!!

Will Finn said...

I always liked these shorts but I took the style for granted. The team were really stepping up to the plate--doing contemporary graphics while keeping the classic basics going--and on a shoestring budget as you point out Pete.

Speaking of THE PRESIDENT'S ANALYST, i forgot to mention that the sequence featuring Pat Harrington's sinister character also features animation by...Depatie-Freleng studios.

It was a smaller world back then.

Thad said...

I agree with Pete Emslie. In retrospect, they don't look too good compared to what came before, but some of the entries were really inspired. See anything directed by Hawley Pratt to see a gifted artist working on a shoestring budget. "Psychedelic Pink" and "The Hand is Pinker Than the Eye" are some of the trippiest things ever!

I like the Ant and Aardvark too. Jackie Mason chasing Dean Martin! Whoa!

Dave said...

Friz Freleng didn't want to mine the same ore over again, so he had Corny Cole set the style for "Ant and Aardvark", just as Dick Ung had gotten "Pink Panther" off the ground and Tom Yakutis doing the same for "Inspector" - even after both those series reverted to the garden variety combinations of Ung on layouts and either Tom O'Loughlin or Dick Thomas painting the BG's, the design aspects still owed to the techniques of their originators.

John O'soy said...

Hello,Mr. Finn.Found your blog through Ruben Procopio's Masked Avenger.com Just wanted to say that i liked these art style too,but in my humble opinion,the pinnacle of this style was reached,and never surpassed, by Mr. Ken Anderson in 101 Dalmatians .

Nelson Luty said...

Woow Ilove the inspector and Ilove The Background.Beutiful