Happy Father’s Day! Happy Father’s Day!

Happy Father’s Day!

The quintessential Father’s Day cartoon, not to mention an extraordinary achievement in the art of cartoon animation: Chuck Jones’ A Bear for Punishment. They don’t make ’em like this anymore.

  • Mat

    How coincidental that I was just reading about this cartoon in Jerry’s 100 Greatest Looney Tunes book. One of my favourites. Love Junior poem to Paw. My brother and I used to be able to recite this cartoon line by line.

  • Maw, Paw won’t talk to me! I nudged him and I nudged him!

    Okay, that’s all I had to say. Well, my daughter made a real sweet card for me and later beat me at Dance Dance Revolution for the first time. It was a full day. And now this.

  • Never realized how violent and semi disturbing these bears’ relationship was. Guess thats why they havent turned up in the new looney tunes show. and yeah, that dance animation from mama bear was incredible.

  • Clint H

    Love it!

  • Classic Chuck Jones!!!

  • Jack Back

    Ken Harris’ Mama Bear dance near the end is one of the finest scenes in animation.

  • Thank YOO! JUST as funny the 80th time! And, as a matter of fact, a totally Mel Blanc-less film!!! What great 3 (iconic) voices!!!

  • an eye-candy

  • I have tears in my eyes from laughing–thank you for this.

  • Mark L

    One of my favorites. The dance is just wonderful, but even better are the facial expressions. Dad’s slow burn is priceless.

  • AdrianC.

    I love the facial expressions of characters in Chuck Jones and this one is no exception. I also agree that the Mama Bear dance animation is skillfully done. I especially like “B-A-T….Rhode Island.” XD

    The only weird thing is that Junior doesn’t have any toes during the “breakfast in bed” sequence. Regardless, it’s still a nice cartoon.

  • They don’t make ‘em like this anymore.

    And they never will.

    Sad, ain’t it?

    • Indeed sad they don’t make them like this anymore.

      Which begs the questions why they DON”T or CAN’T make them like this anymore……

      We have double the resources and information we did back in 1951 and the writing in animation today still seems to pale in comparison.

      Sixty years after this was made and I still look at this and say “Wow”. (In addition to busting my gut laughing)

  • They sure don’t make ’em like the used to – but I’m grateful they did at one point, so we can still enjoy and share them for decades to come.

  • Haven’t seen this since becoming a father 8 years ago, and with a total of three kids, I have a new found sympathy for Paw, so much it hurts to see his angst, because it is sooooooo true.

  • i will never ever tire of this cartoon

    thanks for posting it amid!

  • Toonio

    Ma… pa won’t talk to me… and then Ma covering the cake always makes me laugh. Pure fathers day celebration.

    Have a great fathers day folks!

  • merch

    how do it know?

  • I love the fact that Paw is reading The Kinsey Report – it’s on the floor near his bed near the opening.

  • Sardonic Tuba

    I always thought this cartoon was the prototype for Norman Lear’s “All In The Family”.

  • Karl G Smith

    How did Mr. Jones and co. do it in 1950, you ask? The best art involves SELECTION. The writing is writing in miniature. The direction chooses only the right things to emphasize and knows WHAT TO LEAVE OUT. The very skilled animation does not make one false move. Nothing extra, nothing not needed. Art is life plus caprice.

    Why can’t cartoons be this good in 2011? The level of skill on display in “A Bear for Punishment” did not just happen out of the gate with a crew of beginners and it was not shepherded along by a cadre of creative executives giving notes every false step of the way. Today’s writing values dictate that each character be three dimensional and that there be at least three to five arcs tracking all the way through the story, even in a seven minute short. This approach is anti-humor, anti-entertainment AND ultimately as anti-learning as any drek crapped out in the 1970’s by the major cartoon hack shops.

    As for “A Bear for Punishment”, you can wait around and hope, but you’ll never see the likes of this again.

  • Why don’t we see the likes of this now?

    Well, one factor might be the fact that Chuck Jones had directed something like 130 shorts before this one. Another that he’d started as a cel washer, worked his way up, and animated on dozens of shorts before he ever got the chance to direct. It might also have something to do with him being allowed to continue directing despite his early efforts being decidedly mediocre. And that he had enormously talented, experienced crews that he worked with for decades (unimaginable compared to the industry today). And that he got to make films that didn’t have to prove to be profitable before he could make another. In fact, no individual short he ever made had to prove to be profitable by itself!

    Another factor might be that he was often surrounded by equally talented directors whom he could react to and borrow from. Or that he had to work fast and loose, and no one was looking too closely at any given short. Perhaps it’s even related to not having animation critics attacking him in real time for a degree of repetitiveness that would be ripped to pieces today (and I’m not suggesting that all Jones did was repeat himself, only that, amongst his amazing innovations, he did necessarily and frequently repeat himself).

    None of that is to take away from how wonderful this cartoon is. I love it! But we live in a different world. I don’t think it’s so hard to love the great work from the past without denigrating the good stuff being done today. For some people it’s clearly an either-or proposition, but that’s their loss.

    • The Gee

      For all those reasons and others it really is tough to imagine too much being made nowadays that does come close to this.

      Personally, I ain’t sad over it. Like others have pointed out, there’s plenty of older animated shorts to be watched even beyond the WB ones.

      The thing is I don’t think that in general the sensibilities can be matched to those who were working on stuff back then. That’s not to say there are not plenty of people in animation now who don’t have good sensibilities and the ability to make good cartoons. There are plenty.

      It is just there’s also some who have slightly different sensibilities and that shows up in what they do. Humorous cartoons that are made now are very different. And, that is largely because different choices are made. Just look at the comment DB made below my reply.

      I think for the most part the best choices are made for whatever characters and whatever the end result in intended to be. And, surely, if the intent is to be as funny as old Looney Tunes cartoons, those working on them know what their shorts, shows and features will be compared to. But, when it comes to starts and finishes, a lot of different choices will be made. It has nothing to do with budget or skills either. It is just the way it is.

      If “One Froggy Evening” were made now, you know as well as I do what would be included. It would not be as sparse as that, with very few characters. A construction worker and a time capsule? The lack of dialogue?

      There probably would be a hook with those singing competitions that are on TV, in attempt to relate and to springboard off of, for the sake of the humor, of course. That’s the way it goes. A lot of different choices because people and the times and the influences are very different from early generations.

      • You’re right, Gee. I was focusing on the many ways creating animation and cartoons is completely different now, so that individual directors never get the chance to develop and refine their creative sensibilities and storytelling in the same way. But just as big a factor is the society those animators of the ’40’s and ’50’s worked within. This cartoon was based on contemporary humor, with no effort to be ‘timeless.’ If ‘A Bear for Punishment’ were put in front of a feature film today, I suspect that a wide swath of the audience would be left shaking their heads. Different times call for different choices, and different isn’t necessarily bad.

  • DB

    Wow – I don’t think that is funny at ALL – just kind of bleak and depressing.

    But considering how over the years, so many interviews I see with people who worked with Chuck Jones paint a pretty negative picture of his personality, I have to think the bitterness and contempt in this cartoon are probably pretty (unintentionally) revealing.

    Even though I don’t like it though – I give props to WB for putting it out there.

  • Wonderful character acting. !

  • These cartoons have special meaning because the depicted dynamic is identical to that of a family in the neighborhood where I grew up. The actual household consisted of an ineffectual, short-fused dad, a tall, dopey pill-head mom, and a teenage, infantile, six-foot-four, morbidly obese son who put on a 24-hour a day freak show. It served as a source of entertainment or horror, depending on the sensibility of the witness.

  • This cartoon kinda made me want to crawl under a rock and die.
    Maybe it’s a guy thing.

  • Keegan

    I really wish it ended more happy.