Tuesday, August 12, 2008

300th Post : Father of the Bird (1997)

Welcome to the 300th post on the Misce-Looney-ous Blog! In honor of the milestone, we dug up a fairly recent cartoon that has gone largely unseen. 1997's "Father of the Bird" turned out to be the final cartoon to come out of Chuck Jones Film Productions in the 1990s. While the rest of the CJFP cartoons either got attached theatrically to some horrible family movie, released onto home video, or surfaced on television... "Father of the Bird" somehow got lost in the shuffle. Outside of a limited run in Los Angles for Academy Award consideration, this short has never been available since. While nowhere near a disaster of Larry Doyle proportions, sadly, the cartoon isn't that good. The cartoon itself is a bizarre hybrid of the plot of Friz Freleng's "A Mouse Divided" and the overused cliched "baby in peril" plot that was done to death during the 1990s (think Roger Rabbit & Baby Herman or the Mindy & Buttons cartoons on Animaniacs). Like all the CJFP shorts, the animation is nice enough... for the rest, well, as you watch pay attention to how many of our Rules of New Looney Tunes this cartoon violates. You'll also notice that Chuck Jones didn't direct this one, rather it was directed by Stephen Fossatti.




Well, you probably noticed this cartoon's biggest flaw. Sylvester talks... and talks... and talks... and talks. It feels like a bulk of the screen time is just Sylvester talking to himself.

We hope you enjoyed our first 300 posts here on Misce-Looney-ous, and here's hoping everyone sticks around for another 300. As always, thanks for all the comments and support.

11 comments:

Matt said...

definitely some bad timing in that cartoon. and since when did we need character motivation? that's the thing about the old looney tunes, they were just zany, without any explanation. and people liked that about them. ...so why here does Sylvester have to figure out slowly that he wants to protect the bird. am I an idiot? is it that hard to know what would and would not work in a new looney tunes cartoon?

Speedy Boris said...

Only rules I saw broken were #5 (new ideas) and #20 (talking nonstop). #9 too, if you count Sylvester chasing a bird to protect it, not eat it. At least this short didn't suffer from cameo or anvil-itis.

Though I agree, it's very well-worn territory, and while I appreciate its more careful timing (i.e. no breathless pacing), there just weren't very many gags and the few that -were- there weren't particularly funny or original.

Interestingly enough, I actually saw more of Chuck Jones in THIS outing and not "From Hare to Eternity", which was actually directed by Jones.

Jon Cooke said...

It also throws in an anvil joke (Rule #2), but, yeah this one didn't really break as many rules as some other modern LT revivals did.

Brandon said...

What an easy voice session that was for June Foray. All she had to say was "Momma" and "Papa", and then she got her check.

This cartoon's not bad. "From Fare to Eternity" is far worse. But I think the ending is kind of stupid. All the time I kept expecting the bird's real mother to turn up, but that doesn't happen. Unless the bird's real mother had died. That's never really made clear in the opening. It also would have been great to see some other cats see and taunt Sylvester caring for the baby bird. Totally missed oppurtunity.

Christopher said...

I'll admit, my first time watching this, it wasn't anything incredible or slip-your-sides hilarious but I reckon Sylvester works much better without Tweety. In the theatrical cartoons, you can usually expect the same senario to happen (cat tries to eat bird) and even in the dreaded Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries, the poor thing had to put up with a ton o' voilence and pressure. So given the chance, he could do better being a solo character; similar to "Back Alley Oproar", in a way.

Talking of the classics, I reckon Sylvester must be making up for all the shorts he's remained silent in ;)

Anyways, it's always a pleasure hearing Joe Alaskey fill in his lisping role; and you had to chuckle at the "breast feeding" comment.

Anonymous said...

I remember downloading this cartoon via eMule, and its great to see a minor bird character to appear in a cartoon such as this. However, my favorite Chuck Jones cartoon in the 90's will always be "Chariots of Fur".

J.E.Daniels said...

Congrats on post #300!
Father of the Bird was actually better than I thought it was going to be, but it does suffer from flaws mentioned before. Sylvester talks too much and it doesn't have many original gags. The string of gags leading up to the anvil on the head reminded me of a Roger Rabbit cartoon more than anything. An unusual thing for a Sylvester cartoon. Funny, but unusual.
I did as well chuckle at the "breast-feeding" comment, nice touch.

toonhead-npl said...

It's nice to see construction sites keep anvils around, and to prop up levers at that.

I forgot how good Joe Alaskey is at doing Sylvester. But there wasn't much Chuck Jones stuff going on (perhaps a blassing given this was so recent), and that ending just didn;t work at all.

Anonymous said...

I want "Father Of The Bird" in DVD!

Pleease WB!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Maybe with the DVD of DAFFY DUCK'S FANTASTIC ISLAND....

as bonus cartoons:

1.Father of the Bird (1997)
2.Chariots of Fur (1994)
3.Marvin The Martian In The Third Dimension (1996)

Charlie said...

Looks like we're going to get "Father of the Bird" and "Marvin the Martian in the Third Dimension" on the upcoming Looney Tunes Platinum Collection set. :D

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