Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Bear That Wasn't: MGM (1967): Irv Spector, Additional Story


As mentioned in a previous post, The Bear That Wasn't is the first of two cartoons that my father had a hand in that I hope to get online (I'm halfway there!) by the time the Chuck Jones evening hits Turner Classic Movies on March 24.

I thought Bear turned out quite nice, although animation and live film director Frank Tashlin -- whose children's book from which this cartoon is adapted -- was less than thrilled. (this last link leads to an interview that Michael Barrier conducted with Tashlin.) Tashlin's complaint was that once the cigarette was put into Bear's mouth, the concept of separation between beast and man was straddled.

Now, my father could often make liberal use of putting a cigarette in the mouth of many of his own creations, but I strongly doubt he had the pull in this cartoon for how the main character would look; I'd have to put that decision upon the director. Tashlin must have felt mighty close to this book. Either way, I'll be looking forward to seeing it again, and I won't be picky. Don't forget the wonderful Maurice Noble's own personal co-directing stamp on this picture.
















All of the above are my father's boards, as well as the sketch that leads off the post. I'm not going to guess on the final six below, but obviously they come from two different hands. All sure look awesome!







8 comments:

Weirdo said...

Those are fabulous storyboards that your father drew. I'll need to rewatch the short again to see how I feel about it. I think the last two drawings are illustrations by Frank Tashlin himself. Great post.

Mark said...

Interesting post. Last 2 are spreads from the picture book.

p spector said...

Hey thanks you guys. I must claim ignorance in never having read the book myself. They were photocopied and then glued to standard MGM board stock.

Dave Mackey said...

I can't watch the TCM special tomorrow night since I don't have that channel on my cable. I do remember "The Bear That Wasn't" as one of the more offbeat shorts that was in the old TNT cartoon rotation. Irv's boards are great.

modspell said...

I was fortunate to have caught the TCM run of TBTW a few nights ago. The story was terrific, but more so were the hilarious cells. I'd love to have a few for framing, especially the office scene as shown in Wikipedia's entry. I wonder if these designs were from Spector's fertile mind.

All in all, it's a fabulous production, and made me weep for today's pathetic animation.

p spector said...

Modspell, that cel on Wikipedia makes it apparent of how things worked: the way the characters are drawn on my blog posts show my father was adapting the original story into visual form, but the Wiki cel -- not to mention the cartoon itself) show Chuck's (and others') influence on the design as it eventually turned out.

SoandSo said...

I have it in divx, so if anybody interested...

Anonymous said...

This is one of my fav cartoons ever! Thanks for this post. Your dad was awesome ^_^