Droopy Dog inspiration

Animators should understand the power of a character’s voice. When I taught animation, it was always fun to work with students choosing audio clips for lip sync assignments. There is so much possibility for inspiration. The voice IS the personality.

Back in the golden age of cartoons, animators had exposure to many great voices on the radio, and that’s where many character actors got their start. Here is one I decided to follow up on. Droopy Dog was inspired by a voice on a popular radio show. In an interview, Droopys creator, Tex Avery, said this to Joe Adamson:

Adamson: How was Droopy created?

AVERY: We built it on a voice. FIBBER McGEE AND MOLLY, the old radio show, had a funny little mush-mouth fellow, so we said “Hell, let’s put a dog to it.” It was the voice we thought so much of. It was a steal; there ain’t no doubt about it.

ADAMSON: Was it the same kind of character?

AVERY: No, on radio he was a human. He was a little meek guy, and it was Bill Thompson who did the voice. He couldn’t give us exactly the same voice for the show, for legal reasons, but he came close.

Tex Avery: King of Cartoons 193

Thanks to the internet, I was easily able to find a sample of Bill Thompson’s voice for the character, named Wallace Wimpole. It’s fun to hear a recognizable cartoon voice in a different context.

Here is a publicity photo of Thompson as Wimpole.

10 Types of Comedic Entrances

I have a previous post about character entrances, but I have put a lot more thought into it.  The result is my first Comedy for Animators video.  10 types of comedic entrances looks at various funny ways characters can enter a scene.  I have found at least two examples from both animation and live action films to demonstrate each one.

The term “entrances” covers a few things.  It can be a character walking into a scene.  It can be the very first scene where a character is shown to already be.  It can be a scene about a character entering another place.  A character can be revealed when something in the scene changes.  Basically, it is the shot where you, or someone in the story, first sees the character and the effect it has in the telling of the story.

The ten different types of comedic entrances are:

1:  The big entrance.  This is an attention grabbing entrance.  It should emphasize the character’s style and have an effect on the other characters in the scene.

2. The downtempo entrance.  If the character has a low energy style, you may want to create a story that begins with a high energy. By clashing with the situation, the character will stand out as unusual. A low energy character in a low energy place would be inherently uninteresting from a physical comedy point of view.

3.  The surprise entrance.  The character is hidden in some unexpected place.

4.  The misleading entrance.  The character enters the scene in some way that leads the audience to make assumptions.  Then the reality proves to be very different.  Such characters usually go on to prove they are not what they seem to be.

5.  Bad timing.  The character enters at a really bad moment.  Prior to the character entering, the situation is set up for them to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

6.  Exit as entrance.  We first see a character as they are being kicked out of some other place.  Often, they are literally flying out the door

7.  The disguised entrance.  The character enters the scene in some disguise that is comical in itself.

8.  The subverted entrance.  This is a scene about a character entering, but the entrance does not go as planned.  It can be seen from the entering character’s point of view.

9.  The strange, surreal doorway.  A character simply walks into the scene, but it is through some very strange doorway.

10.  The forced entrance.  The character is forcibly brought into the scene or story.

And there you have it.  If anyone can identify a type of entrance that I have overlooked, I would be very happy to hear about it in the comments.

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