Thursday, March 01, 2007

What Makes Rod Great
part 1

To attone for my wrong scene sins I'm now doing a series of posts about what makes Scribner's drawing and animation unique. Hopefully this will be helpful to me and you for spotting Scribner scenes in the future.

Intense Emotions:
This is Scribner's strong suit. I think a common mistake is to think of Scribner as doing wacky or crazy work, and while certain scenes are really wacky and funny, Scribner was really the best at vividly displaying emotion. This is what I think makes Rod Scribner most important as an animator. Bob Clampett, as a director, knew Rod's strengths and would assign Rod scenes that required extreme emotions. This allowed Scribner to flourish and give tremendous life to the characters and the cartoons. One important note about Scribner's animation of extreme emotions is he will sometimes distort the characters physical appearance, like Porky's eye being huge below in Kitty Kornered, but those distortions were always in service of an emotion, thus enhancing that emotion and making the character seem more real. This was a breakthrough in animation that I feel Scribner was responsible for and Clampett fostered. Interestingly, it is a breakthrough that has been largely forgotten about over the years. (With a few exceptions) Often times a comment about great animation acting is"You can read every emotion the character is having through their acting." Meaning the animator takes a characters inner thoughts and externalizes them by the way they draw the character. This comment is kind of handed out like candy in books and audio commentaries to some, I feel, undeserving animators. I feel that no one ever externalized a characters emotions better than Rod Scribner.

Examples: Anger



Friday, February 09, 2007


Hi folks. I'm only two scenes into this thing and I've already posted my first false Scribner identification. Anyway, the scene I have been posting screens from is-according to more knowledgeble people than I- not a Rod Scribner scene.

The scene in question:
Here's some screens from the scene that are in all probablility NOT by Rod Scribner:

This is the comment that tipped me off. From J.J. Hunsecker:

"Are you sure those scenes are by Rod Scribner? It doesn't remind me of his style. It could be Manny Gould, for instance.Daffy on the phone in the beginning scenes of the cartoon (talking to Bing Crosby and the father of the Dione quintuplets) is definitely Scribner -- as well as the scenes of Porky trying to make Daffy sit on an egg."

I asked John Kricfalusi for some help and he replied with:

"I think it might be Bill Melendez, who was Scribner's assistant before he was promoted to animator. His style is similar because of the influence-the big wide eyes and long pupils.This also looks very much like animation in Art Davis' cartoons. So it could be Melendez or Davidovich. I don't know for sure, but don't think it's Scribner.Like you said, Scribner's work is very solid at the same time it's wacky.It's a great scene, whoever did it!"

And while I totally agree that it's a great scene and I love it, I'm going to take down the screenshots because I don't want to perpetuate false information about Scribner. Instead, I think my next post will compare a real Scribner scene to this scene and try to further define to myself and the readers what makes a Scribner scene and what doesn't. This is a learning experience for me, and I apologize for my error.

On the bright side-I have some potentially very exciting biographical developments on Rod in the coming weeks and months. So keep your eyes peeled.

A Big thanks to J.J. for catching my mistake, and John K. for giving a better indication of who did the scene.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Rod's Family Tree

Here is some ancestral information that a Ray Scribner(no relation to Rod) discovered on Rod. (Many thanks to Ray and Rod Scribner for this information).

Rod's Father and Mother
FREDERICK FARNSWORTH3 SCRIBNER (RODERICK HENRY2, ELIJAH1) was born 08 Dec 1882 in Cherokee, Cherokee, IA23,24,25, and died 05 Jul 1965 in Glendale, Los Angeles, CA26,27. He married (1) SARAH MAGEE 1908 in Joseph Pct., Wallowa, OR28. She was born 21 Oct 1882 in Ohio29,30,31, and died 02 Jun 1975 in Burbank, Los Angeles, CA32,33. He married (2) ABRA ??? 1926 in Burbank, Los Angeles, CA. She was born 1890 in California34.

Frederick worked as a bank cashier in Joseph, Oregon, and at Farmers and Merchants Bank in Burbank, California.
He and Sarah divorced in the early 1920's.

i. JOHN M.4 SCRIBNER, b. 1909, Joseph, Wallowa, OR35.
ii. RODERICK H. "ROD" SCRIBNER, b. 10 Oct 1910, Joseph, Wallowa, OR; d. 21 Dec 1976, Buena Park, Orange, CA.
iii. ELIZABETH SCRIBNER, b. 1915, Burbank, Los Angeles, CA36.

Child of FREDERICK SCRIBNER and ABRA ??? is:
iv. LILLIAN C.4 SCRIBNER, b. Jun 1928, Burbank, Los Angeles, CA37.

Generation No. 4

4. RODERICK H. "ROD"4 SCRIBNER (FREDERICK FARNSWORTH3, RODERICK HENRY2, ELIJAH1) was born 10 Oct 1910 in Joseph, Wallowa, OR38,39,40,41, and died 21 Dec 1976 in Buena Park, Orange, CA42,43. He married JANE BANNISTER KIESER Abt. 1940 in Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA. She was born 28 Nov 1914 in Brookline, Norfolk, MA44.

5. i. LYNN5 SCRIBNER, b. 10 May 1940, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA.

Generation No. 5
Rod's Daughter
5. LYNN5 SCRIBNER (RODERICK H. "ROD"4, FREDERICK FARNSWORTH3, RODERICK HENRY2, ELIJAH1) was born 10 May 1940 in Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA44. She married (1) JACK DOLLAHITE. She married (2) LAWRENCE "BUDGE" COLLINS. She married (3) WILLIAM T. LIGHTCAP.

Lynn graduated in 1958 from Glendale High School, then attended the University of Southern California (USC), from which she graduated with a Degree in Education.

Rod's Grandchildren
i. KARA JANE6 DOLLAHITE, b. 03 Jun 1966, Newport Beach, Orange, CA44; m. KEVIN SMITH; b. 1966.
ii. ROBIN DOLLAHITE, b. 12 Mar 1968, Newport Beach, Orange, CA44.

So there it is. We soonl return to our regularly scheduled screenshots and the like starting tommorow. Also until then, if any of Rod's relatives read this, I would love to ask any of you questions about Rod's life and career.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Scribner and Hubley

Amid Amidi and I obviously share a love for Rod Scribner because he can't stop posting great, rare material from Rod's later career onYoutube. It's like some kinda sickness with that guy. The latest one is by far the best animation I've seen out of Scribner working in that flat 50s style. It's a Bank of America commercial that Scribner animated for John Hubley's Storyboard studio.

See that and more at Cartoon Modern's Rod Scribner section.

I was thinking about just putting the video up, but it seems like that would be a bit uncouth, I guess I should ask first, does anybody know the etiquette on that kind of stuff?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Great Piggy Bank Robbery Scene 1

(this link was flagrantly stolen from John Kricfalusi's blog.)

While taking screenshots for this scene it became obvious to me just how good of a draftsman Scribner was. Some people think that Robert McKimson was THE great draftsman at Warner Brothers. And while no one is doubting that McKimson was a great draftsman I feel like Scribner gives him a run for his money. For evidence of this, look no further than every single hand drawn in this scene. Each one is confident, solid, simple, clearly composed, and perfectly synched up to the energy of the character. Draftsmanship like that is part of the reason Scribner's animation is so succesful, it has a real weight and volume behind the manic energy. In fact the solidity and weight that describes the majority of the characters features is a big part of the reason that Scribner's animation is so exciting. Keeping the rest of Daffy's body unexaggerated, brings forward that one distorted feature tenfold. Not only that, but the whole time, even the exaggerated features are solidly drawn, and thus, believable. This is why, on some levels, Scribner suceeds where another hero of mine, Jim Tyer, fails. With Tyer's work every part of the body is manic, the arms are out of control, the body is out of control and the head is out of control. This comes out to be thrilling to watch, but with that kind of animation the star is the animator. However, in Scribner's animation, the character was always the star.

Great Hands:

Distorted Features Vs. Solid Ones:

Huge distorted eye and fingers vs. normal arms and body.

Distorted head and hands, normal body and legs

Here is an example of some Jim Tyer animation where everything is out of control, and the characters is somewhat weightless, hurting the characters believability.

Here is what Animator/Animation Expert John Kricfalusi had to say about this scene. (It's a post 2/3rds of the way down called "Specific Acting- Scribner, Clampett, Blanc, Foster")

So there you have it, our first scene analysis. Disagree? Have something to add? Send any and all notions on through to the comments section. And for those of you who are fans of previous comments sections, the Rod Scribner who posted a comment several days ago isn't of known relation to our main man Rod Scribner. Which is a little sad, but it kind of makes me want to start digging around in the library to find Scribner's relatives because the thought of interviewing one was greatly exciting to me. Anyway, that's all for now.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Great Piggy Bank Robbery
Part 10

Hey everybody this is the final update for this long loooooong series of posts, too long. In the future we will try to keep such huge sets of screenshots more streamlined. And even though I feel a bit queasy about all this because I don't really feel qualified or condfident, but tommorow, along with the posting of the final animation, I'm going to post an analysis of the scene and an analysis of Scribner's animation itself as it is reflected through the scene. I doubt I will shed any new light on anything but maybe it will start a conversation that will. So, tommorow, the video and half baked commentary from your favorite team of animation historians. THE ROD SCRIBNER PROJECT!

We would also like to thank the people that have been commenting lately it really is heartening knowing that someone is getting some kind of use out of this stuff. It lights the fire under us to create a better resource for the people! BY THE PEOPLE! Anyway, your support is appreciated and valuable.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Great Piggy Bank Robbery
Part 9

We here at the Rod Scribner Project have gotten our act together and got through the computer problems that have plagued our very existence for the last month or so. We deeply apologize for the lack of Scribner content. The pause in action however, gave us time to reflect, and we here at the Rod Scribner Project have decided that this blog is behind the times. Henceforth, in lieu of posting exclusively screenshots our cracked team of archivists will try to figure out how to upload clips from cartoons to youtube and post them alongside the screenshots. With Great Piggy Bank Robbery it's not that much of a problem because the cartoon is so readily available and anyone interested in Rod Scribner probably also has access to the Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume 2. Where The Great Piggy Bank Robbery can be found (along with an insightful and spirited commentary track by John Kricfalusi.) But still as long as the scene is here, an animated version of it may as well be sitting next to it, right? Right.