"Mighty Hunters" (1940) Breakdown Thread

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Jon Cooke
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"Mighty Hunters" (1940) Breakdown Thread

Postby Jon Cooke » Tue Feb 22, 2011 8:39 pm

Image

Image

Supervision: Charles Jones
Story By: Dave Monahan
Animation: Ken Harris
Musical Direction: Carl W. Stalling

Release Date: January 27, 1940

Series: Merrie Melodies (reissued as a Blue Ribbon MM, only cartoon from this era that retained original titles when reissued)

Synopsis: A narrator tells of days of long ago in the Great Red Rock Canyon of Arizona. He tells of the fierce warriors who we see from a distance in silhouette form doing a war dance around a fire. The fearsome warriors turn out to be a group of adorable children, the Canyon Kiddies, who are preparing to go out on a hunt. One little boy is forced by his mother to bring his baby brother along with him, carrying the baby on his back. The baby brother is happily eating a peppermint stick. Another boy falls behind and tries to catch up by attempting to ride an uncooperative donkey who won't budge from its one spot. Two kids attempt to shoot a squirrel with their bow and arrow without success. Meanwhile, the boy who is carrying the papoose attracts a hungry bear who follows them trying to get a lick of peppermint. The squirrel hunters believe their prey has returned and take aim, but are shocked to see the enormous bear. The kids keep backing up and up until they lose their footing and slip off the edge of a cliff. The boys are hanging off the edge, but the bear is just interested in the candy. The bear manages to swipe the peppermint and is happily licking away as the boys escape and run back home. As night falls, we see the Kiddies all sound asleep… all except the one who is still trying to get on that donkey!

Notes:
  • Based on James Swinnerton's Canyon Kiddies cartoons which were published in Good Housekeeping magazine.
  • Swinnerton himself provided fifty oil paintings of the desert landscapes for use as backgrounds (a departure from the traditional watercolor backgrounds used in the normal cartoons of the time).
  • Louella Parsons' Tells About Hollywood newspaper column from December 26, 1938 stated that Leon Schlesinger had signed Swinnerton to a long-term contract, calling for a series of 13 Canyon Kiddies cartoons (one cartoon annually). However, this was the only one made.
  • In Leonard Maltin's Of Mice and Magic, director Chuck Jones warmly recalls of traveling to the Grand Canyon with Swinnerton, on their own dime, for inspiration for the cartoon. The trip was documented in the studios' inhouse newsletter, The Exposure Sheet (excerpted in Martha Sigall's book, see below).
Video Availability:
The Golden Age of Looney Tunes, Vol. 3 Laserdisc - Side 10: Politically Incorrect (MGM/UA; 1992)

Links:
Martha Sigall's Living Life Inside the Lines about "Mighty Hunters" pg. 56 - includes excerpts from The Exposure Sheet
Misce-Looney-ous Blog: Canyon Kiddies - includes full text of Parsons column
Larry T Blog: Mighty Hunters - includes examples of Canyon Kiddies cartoons published in Good Housekeeping
Bodega Bay Gallery: James Swinnerton's Little Jimmy & Canyon Kiddies in Animated Cartoons
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Jon Cooke
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Postby Jon Cooke » Tue Feb 22, 2011 8:40 pm

more screen shots attached.
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Jon Cooke
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Postby Jon Cooke » Tue Feb 22, 2011 8:40 pm

more screen shots
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Jon Cooke
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Postby Jon Cooke » Tue Feb 22, 2011 8:41 pm

The Vancouver Sun - Feb 12, 1940
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Brandon Panther
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Postby Brandon Panther » Wed Feb 23, 2011 1:59 am

Was this cartoon reissued in the late 50s? I always wondered why this short kept it's original titles. Not that I'm complaining.
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Postby The Crazy HR » Wed Feb 23, 2011 2:32 pm

Brandon Panther wrote:Was this cartoon reissued in the late 50s? I always wondered why this short kept it's original titles. Not that I'm complaining.

No, it was reissued on June 13, 1953.
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Postby Javeman » Thu Feb 24, 2011 1:59 am

I always thought the BR version of this cartoon retained its original title card because of James Swinnerton's special credit. Since the title card was also painted by him (at least the BG), it was also probably kept for that reason.

There are no bits of dialogue in this cartoon, except for the narrating bits at the beginning and the end.
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Postby Glowworm » Thu Feb 24, 2011 9:17 pm

Who was the narrator for this short? IMDB says it was John Deering--yet I'll take that with a grain of salt.
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Music

Postby mickeyfender » Mon Apr 18, 2011 4:54 pm

Tunes that make an appearance in Mighty Hunters include:

"The Sun Dance"
Music by Leo Friedman
Played when the boys run down the path with the girls watching

"Indian Dawn"
Music by J.S. Zamecnik
Played when the boy with the papoose walks up the path as the bear smells the candy, when the bear first follows the boys, and during the sunset at the end

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Postby Fibber Fox » Sat Oct 29, 2011 10:47 am

Some ads for 'The Mighty Hunters'. One was billed with 'The Fighting 69th', which seems appropriate.

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