Tortoise Beats Hare, Happy Anniversary! and Many Happy Returns! Premiered on March 15, 1941

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Director, Tex “Fred” Avery (Tex seems and sounds so much better for this merrie-looney guy) and crew appropriated the Aesop (Dave Monahan wrote the story and screenplay, leaving Aesop, un-attributed… poor Aesop) fable, “The Tortoise and the Hare,” and along the way made one of the most memorable animated short-films in moving-picture history. Mel Blanc voiced the characters (introduction of Cecil Turtle), Carl W. Stalling directed the music but went uncredited for his musical composition, while Treg Brown edited the cartoon (uncredited) and handled the sound effects, again going uncredited. The usual suspects brought to life with their pencils and paint, this watershed toon: Charles McKimson (animator), Robert Givens (character designer, uncredited), John Didrik Johnsen (background artist uncredited), Robert McKimson, Virgil Ross, Rod Scribner and Sidney Sutherland animated but went uncredited.

Tex Avery

Tex Avery

What great moments were created in 1941 when frustration, anger, slyness, intelligence, ingenuity, execution and more played significant roles (yes turtles everywhere) in a ‘roller-coaster’ ride of emotions in this short-subject; the feelings generated by the delicate sure-handed professional (are you kidding me? I just had a lapse in my train of thought and began to write about the abilities and style of director George Cukor) bold, hyper-active direction of Avery was stellar! Here for your viewing pleasure is Tortoise Beats Hare compliments of YouTube. I caution you though, that the watching of Tortoise Beats Hare does leave one inclined to blurt out such bunny-ite and turtle-ish idioms as: “Big bunch of jerks, I oughta know, I work for ‘em,’” “give ‘him’ the works!” It’s a possibility,” “how did you get up here anyway?” “Oh sorry, pardon me, wrong story;” the excuses for such inappropriate outbursts are solely the responsibility (which may include one or more of the following in required restitution: financial, emotional, familial and or professional) of the reader along with any accompanying apologies that might (most likely will) be needed.

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By C. S. Williams

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