John W. Burton

West of the Pesos (1960, Robert McKimson)

West of the Pesos is a hideous cartoon, with terrible animation and McKimson ripping off Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner. There’s not much to amuse oneself with during the insufferable six minute cartoon, but there are some places to try.

First is the whole Speedy Gonsalez thing. I mean, Warner produced cartoons–not expensive, but still professionally produced–for no reason other than to cap on Mexico? The terrible jokes in Pesos aren’t even inventive bigot humor. They’re just lame. McKimson’s got no wit (or subtlety).

Sadly, the only other way to pass the runtime is to marvel at the awful animation on Sylvester. It’s loose and lazy, the worst the cat’s ever looked. Given he’s just a stand-in for the coyote… maybe it doesn’t matter.

Pesos might be a new low for McKimson, at least of what I’ve seen.

At least, I hope this one’s his low.

1/3Not Recommended


Directed by Robert McKimson; written by Tedd Pierce; animated by Warren Batchelder, Ted Bonnicksen, George GrandprΓ© and Tom Ray; edited by Treg Brown; music by Milt Franklyn; produced by John W. Burton; released by Warner Bros.

Starring Mel Blanc (Speedy Gonzales / Sylvester / Mice).

Hook, Line and Stinker (1958, Chuck Jones)

I don’t get it.

I haven’t seen a Road Runner cartoon since I was a kid, but watching Hook, Line and Stinker, I couldn’t figure out the appeal.

Oh, Jones’s direction is outstanding and the animation is great, but it’s a long series of gags. They’re not laugh out loud funny, but some of them are amusing–especially in Stinker‘s case, this long complicated one at the end. But there’s no other point….

Stinker‘s an exercise in craftsmanship, a cartoon boiled down to the gags and those gags drawn out to extremes.

And, even though Wile E. Coyote would undoubtedly eat the Road Runner, one can’t help but feel sorry for him. The whole cartoon is centered around laughing at the poor coyote. At least the Road Runner isn’t stuck-up; he’s clearly a birdbrain.

Again, Jones and his animators do a great job. Just a pointless one.

1/3Not Recommended


Directed by Chuck Jones; written by Michael Maltese; animated by Ken Harris, Richard Thompson and Ben Washam; edited by Treg Brown; produced by John W. Burton; released by Warner Bros.

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