Cartoon of the Day: Eatin’ on the Cuff or the Moth who Came to Dinner

Eatin’ on the Cuff or the Moth who Came to Dinner
1942
Directed by Robert Clampett
Available on: Looney Tunes Golden Collection Vol. 5

Well, it’s time for a little Bob Clampett…the director that put the “Looney” in Looney Tunes.  He’s also notable for several cartoons that were certainly jabs at Warner Brothers competitors over at Disney.  “Eatin’ on the Cuff or The Moth who Came to Diner” can be seen as his response to Disney’s “The Moth and the Flame.”

In this short, a moth is preparing to wed a pretty young bee.  After he spends some time snacking on the garments of the local bar patrons, he catches the eye of a black widow who’s out to get him for herself.  Eventually the bee comes to his rescue, even going so far as to duel the spider with her stinger.

This short actually begins and ends with live action segments featuring a piano playing narrator.  The actor playing the role is lip synching to Mel Blanc’s voice.  Once the animation starts, the short is pretty standard fare…that is until the spider enters the scene.  This character is classic Clampett!  There is some really creative animation where the character one moment is impersonating Veronica Lake and then suddenly switches to the bulbous-nosed, buck-toothed type character we expect from Clampett.

There’s also all sorts of little touches that you really need to watch for.  Clampett was great at that and we are at advantage being able to freeze frame our DVD’s to get a better look.  My favorite in this short is when the black widow rushes over to the moth so quickly that she arrives in the scene a split second before her clothing does.

Since this film doesn’t feature a major character and is a (gasp) black and white short, it’s not one you find in the Looney Tunes TV rotation much.  That’s a shame, it’s a very original piece of animation and is a great demonstration of how the crew at Warner Brothers really pushed the envelope of animation.

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