WARNER BROTHERS
CARTOON COMPANION

by E.O. Costello



Introduction

Glossary

Alphabetical Listings

A / B / C / D / E / F / G / H / I / J / K / L / M / N / O / P / Q / R / S / T / U / V / W / X / Y / Z



































































Introduction

Glossary

Alphabetical Listings

A / B / C / D / E / F / G / H / I / J / K / L / M / N / O / P / Q / R / S / T / U / V / W / X / Y / Z






































































Introduction

Glossary

Alphabetical Listings

A / B / C / D / E / F / G / H / I / J / K / L / M / N / O / P / Q / R / S / T / U / V / W / X / Y / Z






































































Introduction

Glossary

Alphabetical Listings

A / B / C / D / E / F / G / H / I / J / K / L / M / N / O / P / Q / R / S / T / U / V / W / X / Y / Z


Q

QTTV

Fictional television station used in a handful of 1950s shorts, including Wideo Wabbit (McKimson, 1956). Possibly a play on KTTV, a contemporary Los Angeles television station.


QUENTIN QUAIL

Character used by Chuck Jones in the cartoon of the same name (1946). The character is loosely based on the character of Baby Snooks’ father on the Fanny Brice radio show. An undated drawing appears in Beck’s book on Sylvester and Tweety, apparently drawn by Bob Clampett, showing a very Tweety-like character with a quail topknot. The text indicates that the designs were not used, though it does not provide any further detail, including why the Tweety form was used.

It has been pointed out that “San Quentin Quail” is (or was) a slang term for underage girls, of the type that Errol Flynn was alleged to be chasing in the 1940s. San Quentin is, of course, a California penitentiary where violators, so to speak, would be sent to serve time.


 

R

RALPH PHILLIPS

Daydreaming young boy who dreams of heroic deeds, usually inspired by some everyday event. In some ways an interesting precursor to Calvin of the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes. He made two appearences, in From A to Z-z-z-z (1954) and Boyhood Daze (1957), both directed by Chuck Jones.


RALPH WOLF

Named for a longtime studio employee, Ralph Wolf was, where character design is concerned, practically a twin of Wile E. Coyote. The only difference is the nose, which was red on Ralph and black on the Coyote. His singular devotion to catching a square meal and his singular failure in acquiring the same is also quite similar to that of the Coyote. Sam Sheepdog tends to be much more proactive than the Roadrunner in preventing the ultimate success of the ventures of the Wolf.

Filmography (all Jones):

  • Don’t Give Up the Sheep (1953)
  • Sheep Ahoy (1954)
  • Double or Mutton (1955)
  • Steal Wool (1957)
  • Ready Woolen and Able (1960)
  • A Sheep in the Deep (1962)
  • Woolen Under Where (1963)


RAFT, GEORGE
(1895-1980)

The sleek tough guy of numerous gangster films, probably best remembered for his role as the brutal coin-flipping gangster Guido Rinaldo in Scarface in 1932. Raft was also said to be the fastest Charleston dancer in the world.

Warner Brother cartoons invariably caricatured Raft flipping a coin like Rinaldo. Caricatures can be seen in Malibu Beach Party (Freleng, 1940) in a gag showing yachts, boats, and Rafts, as well as in Hollywood Steps Out (Avery, 1941), in which he pitches pennies with James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart. Raft is seen crying on the shoulder of Edward G. Robinson in The Coo-coo Nut Grove (Freleng, 1936) -- actually, the two hated each other with a passion. Raft plays Tattletale Grey, a spy who flips a coin with his feet, in Ali Baba Bound (Clampett, 1940). Bugs Bunny’s coin-flipping character in Racketeer Rabbit (Freleng, 1946) is most likely based on Raft.


RAMBEAU, MARJORIE
(1889-1970)

Longtime character actress, nominated for Oscars as best supporting actress for The Primrose Path in 1940 and Torch Song in 1953, Rambeau was often cast as blowsy aging harlots and fallen women. In their biography of Ted Geisel, Judith & Neil Morgan identify Rambeau as the voice of Anopheles Ann, described in Beck and Friedwald as “a haggard old malarial mosquito,” hence the casting, most likely, in the Private Snafu cartoon It’s Murder She Says (Jones, 1945).


RATION BOOKS / POINTS

During the Second World War, a wide variety of goods were rationed at one point or another. Gasoline, meat and coffee were some of the most important items. Shortages of goods like sugar, coffee, tires, and other items are noted in the goods Bugs robs from the 5:15 in Buckaroo Bugs (Clampett, 1944), the items Bugs recites as “picture postcards” in Hare Conditioned (Jones, 1945), and the goods Queenie hoards in Coal Black and De Sebben Dwarfs (Clampett, 1943).

An overview of the gas rationing system can be seen under the spearate entry for Gasoline Rationing. Rationing of items like coffee, meat, sugar, and butter worked in roughly the same way. Households were given ration books, and items cost a certain number of points, represented by coupons. Each person was allowed 48 blue points for canned goods -- brown and green points were also used during the war -- and 64 red points for meat, fish and dairy products per month. Two extra red points per pound could be earned by turning in meat drippings and other fats, which were used for paints and munitions. Ration points could not be carried over to the next month. How many points were set for each product fluctuated from time to time. For example, grapefruit juice was 23 points in March, 1943, but only four in March, 1944.

The whole system was rather complex and could be difficult to understand, both from the point of view of the grocer and the shopper. The Warner Brothers cartoonists did a short entitled Point Rationing of Foods which was released in February, 1943 for the Office of Price Administration, the government agency responsible for the rationing program. The short explained, via limited animation, the reasons for certain product shortages, and hence rationing. The Jones-produced short was praised for its ability to get the message across.

Some cartoons refer directly to ration books or ration points. As the Hubie-like mouse in From Hand to Mouse (Jones, 1944) is about to be eaten by a lion, he displays a sign saying “12 Points” and asks the lion if he has his ration book. The lion, indicating he does not, agrees to let the mouse go so the mouse can go get a ration book. The mouse returns, but only to rubber-stamp the word “SUCKER” on the lion’s rear end.

The flea in An Itch in Time (Clampett, 1943) ends up carrying off Elmer and his dog as a blue-plate special, with a sign reading “No Points”. He also takes care to tear off a ration stamp before biting into the dog. When the hotel manager in Porky Pig’s Feat (Tashlin, 1943) presents his dueling card to Daffy, Daffy responds by taking the card, applying a card puncher to it repeatedly (making a pretty design) and saying “You’ve had your coffee ration, Robespierre!”

See also Meat Shortage.


RATZ BROTHERS

In A Sunbonnet Blue, (Avery, 1937) a musical number of “I Haven’t Got a Hat” is performed behind very good Irv Spence animation of the Ratz Brothers. This is a parody of the Ritz Brothers, a slapstick group of the 1930s.


REED, SHIRLEY

Vocal specialist on radio who also provided the voice of Petunia Pig in Naughty Neighbors (Clampett, 1939).


RISING GORGE

Name of the western town where Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam square off in Bugs Bunny Rides Again (Freleng, 1948).


ROADRUNNER

Constant prey of Wile E. Coyote. Largely a cipher, since the character never speaks, only fairly infrequently using signs to communicate with either the audience or the Coyote. In spite of the fact that the Roadrunner startles the Coyote on numerous occasions -- inncocently, of course -- by moving in quietly behind and abruptly beep-beeping; the Roadrunner demonstrates a sporting nature by not beep-beeping the frazzled beast at the end of Zoom and Bored (Jones, 1957), as well as by breaking his fall with a spring in Fastest With the Mostest (Jones, 1960).

Legend has it that background artist Paul Julian inspired the dialogue for the Road Runner by passing Chuck Jones and Mike Maltese at a crucial moment with his arms full of drawings, saying “Beep Beep.” Both Jones and Maltese viewed this as something not short of divine inspiration.


ROBESPIERRE

Little brother of Baby Snooks on the Fanny Brice radio show. The duckling trapped in an egg in Booby Hatched (Tashlin, 1944) shares the name.


ROBINSON, BILL (“BOJANGLES”)
(1878-1949)

Stylish African-American dancer on the stage and in movies, notably with Shirley Temple in The Little Colonel, The Littlest Rebel, and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. His specialty was tap dancing, particularly the “stair tap” routine in which he would go up and down a flight of stairs. It is this routine that is caricatured in Have You Got Any Castles? (Tashlin, 1938), in which Robinson is pictured dancing up and down The 39 Steps. Alas, this sequence is cut from most prints shown on television today. Bill Robinson is also mentioned in the song Daffy sings as he demonstrates his talents to Leon Schlesinger in You Ought to Be in Pictures (Freleng, 1940).


ROBINSON, EDWARD G.
(1893-1973)

Edward G. Robinson is probably best remembered for his roles as tough underworld characters in the Warner Brothers crime films of the 1930s, particularly Little Caesar (1931), though he also had excellent dramatic turns in Dr. Ehrlich’s Magic Bullet and A Dispatch From Reuters (both 1940), Double Indemnity (1944), and Scarlet Street (1945).

Warner cartoons preferred to focus on his gangster persona. The two cartoons that best typify this are the classics Thugs With Dirty Mugs (Avery, 1939) in which, as a bonus, the Robinson caricature does a Fred Allen impersonation, and Racketeer Rabbit (Freleng, 1946) in which the character is identified as Rocky, with his sidekick Hugo, a classic Peter Lorre caricature. Bugs also does a quick Robinson impression in this film, as he had done previously in What’s Cookin’ Doc (Clampett, 1943).

Beck and Friedwald accurately describe the caricature in I Like Mountain Music (Harman/Ising, 1933) as “the worst impression of Edward G. Robinson ever”. Robinson can also be spotted talking to “the Oomph Girl” (Ann Sheridan) in Hollywood Steps Out (Avery, 1941), and enjoying a good cry with George Raft in The Coo Coo Nut Grove (Freleng, 1936).


ROCKY

Gangster in a number of Friz Freleng cartoons who usually, but not always, had a goofy, dumb sidekick named Mugsy. Rocky was very short, with an enormous hat almost as big as he was, a tough, hard-boiled voice, and an ever-present cigarette.

Filmography (all Freleng):

  • Golden Yeggs (1950) -- with a gang, but without Mugsy
  • Catty Cornered (1953) -- with Nick, not Mugsy
  • Bugs and Thugs (1954)
  • Bugsy and Mugsy (1957)
  • The Unmentionables (1963)


ROGERS, KENT
(d. July, 1944)

A voice actor, Rogers had had some bit roles and a few minor parts, whose work at Warners included the first Beaky Buzzard cartoons. Rogers is also believed by researcher Hames Ware to have supplied the voice for Henery Hawk. Ware describes the voice in Animato! #32 as Gorcey-like, referring to Leo Gorcey (1915-1969), the star of the long running series of Dead End Kids/East Side Kids/Bowery Boys films.

Keith Scott has indicated that Rogers, remarkably, was responsible for virtually all of the male voices in Hollywood Steps Out (Avery, 1941), a truly impressive performance including Cary Grant, James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson, Mickey Rooney, James Stewart, Peter Lorre, Clark Gable, Ned Sparks, Henry Aldrich (in a bit that was re-used a number of times) and Groucho Marx. Rogers also did some work in Avery’s MGM classic Who Killed Who (1943).

Ware notes that Rogers was tragically killed in WWII, but does not provide details. Scott notes that it occurred in July, 1944, shortly after Rogers had recorded some material for The Bashful Buzzard. Stan Freberg was called in to finish the work.


ROGERS, SHORTY

Musician known as a specialist in the bop style. Rogers was called on to give The Three Little Bops (Freleng, 1957) special zip in their groovin’ style, in which he succeeded admirably.


ROGERS, WILL
(1879-1935)

Extremely popular stage (Ziegfeld Follies), movie and radio comedian best known for his cracker-barrel philosophy and razor-sharp observations on American life. His often-used line “all I know is what I read in the papers” is repeated by his caricature in I Like Mountain Music (Harman/Ising, 1933), after examining a tattered old 1929 business magazine: a commentary on the Depression.


ROSENBLOOM, MAXIE (“SLAPSIE MAXIE”)
(d. 1976)

A former light-heavyweight champ, Rosenbloom was a familiar figure in Hollywood, owning a number of popular restaurants. Caricatures and/or references to him can be seen in the following cartoons:

  • The Timid Toreador (Clampett/McCabe, 1940) features “Slapsie Maxie Rosenbull”
  • Pied Piper Porky (Clampett, 1939) has a “Slapsy Catsy” character
  • Africa Squeaks (Clampett, 1940) -- the gorilla with a Brooklyn accent may be intended as a Rosenbloom caricature.


RUBINOFF, DAVID
(d. 1986)

Violinst on the Eddie Cantor radio program in the 1930s. He is referred to in I Like Mountain Music (Harman/Ising, 1933), and is caricatured in Billboard Frolics (Freleng, 1935), although in a roundabout way: the caricature does not look like him, judging from contemporary pictures, which show him as clean-shaven as opposed to the anarchist-type shown in the cartoon.


RUBY SQUEALER

Caricature of Ruby Keeler in The Woods Are Full of Cuckoos (Tashlin, 1938).

 


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This page was originally maintained by Stephen Worth. Thanks to John K. for funding its production. Preserved by Kip Williams and restored in 2014 by Harry McCracken.
The Warner Brothers Cartoon Companion is Coptright 1996-1998
E. O. Costello. All rights reserved.