In 1952, the Tex Avery directed a short Rock-A-Bye Bear premiered. The short, written by Heck Allen and Rich Hogan featured a simple premise: Spike has a job running a house for a hibernating bear, who insists on quiet. Tex was strained by the amount of work, so he left MGM shortly after completing the piece (the film was actually completed in 1950, but not released until two years later due to the backlog of cartoon shorts). In Tex’s absence, his unit was directed by former Walter Lantz director, Dick Lundy.
Tex returned to MGM in 1951, where he took back his animation unit. He went on to direct eleven more cartoons. Most of these had a similar look to the UPA cartoons that were gaining popularity at the time. In March 1953, MGM closed down Tex’s unit, believing that 3D films that were quickly taking theaters by storm would end the popularity of 2D cartoons. Films like this one by Disney, Working for Peanuts, which was shown in 3D.
Tex did not leave the studio until June of that year, working with co-director Michael Lah on two cartoons, Deputy Droopy and Cellbound, which Lah completed with the Hanna and Barbera unit after Avery’s departure. The cartoon Deputy Droopy is basically a rework of the 1950’s Rock-A-Bye Bear, but with a slightly different plot:
As you can see, many of the gags are the same in premise, and some even share the exact same timing. It is interesting to see what was kept and what was altered between the two shorts. While I prefer the look of Rock-A-Bye Bear, I think the gags and their timing work a bit better in the later, Deputy Droopy short. However, the ending of Deputy Droopy is horrible in my opinion.
What do you think?