This is just flat-out COOL.

Warner Bros. is being supremely tight-assed about letting anyone make a YouTube post of one of my favorite cartoons, Friz Freleng’s “Three Little Bops” from 1957. That said, THIS is very very cool. In 2011, Macleod College in Melbourne, Australia hosted a concert entitled “Macleod Goes To The Movies.” As part of the concert, the jazz band performed along with the cartoon. Check this out.

O’Donnell’s Cartoon Laws of Motion by Mark O’Donnell

If you’ve known me any length of time, you know that I am a knowledgeable and devoted follower of almost all animation: a/k/a a cartoon geek. You know that even if you haven’t met me, but have spent a little time wandering around on this blog.

I enjoy cartoons. Flat-out funny, brilliant, erudite, or crude, I dig almost all of them. I say “almost” because some of them make my skin crawl and set my teeth on edge: “Calliou” and “Rugrats” come to mind. I lean toward “classic” animation, but also admire the skill involved with computer-generated cartoons. And when the two are melded together, the results can be amazing: “The Iron Giant” is a brilliant example.

Yes, I’ve often told people that I can’t tell them the first thing about trigonometry or applied chemistry but I can go on for hours about “Looney Tunes.” The following article was written by a very funny man named Mark O’Donnell, and published in the very back page of the June 1980 edition of Esquire magazine. I photocopied that page at the library and kept it for many years, until it eventually got lost in a move. Fortunately, other cartoon geeks have posted it in several places here on the Intertubes and have riffed on it to add their own laws. Enjoy.

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O”Donnell’s Cartoon Laws Of Motion

1. Any body suspended in space will remain in space until made aware of its situation.

Daffy Duck steps off a cliff, expecting further pastureland. He loiters in midair, soliloquizing flippantly, until he chances to look down. At this point, the familiar principle of “32-feet-per-second-per-second” takes over.

2. Any body in motion will tend to remain in motion until solid matter intervenes suddenly.

Whether shot from a cannon or in hot pursuit on foot, cartoon characters are so absolute in their momentum that only a telephone pole or an outsize boulder retards their forward motion absolutely. Sir Isaac Newton called this sudden termination of motion the “stooge’s surcease.”

Coyote Wall

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3. Any body passing through solid matter will leave a perforation conforming to its perimeter.

Also called the “silhouette of passage,” this phenomenon is the specialty of victims of directed-pressure explosions and of reckless cowards who are so eager to escape that they exit directly through the wall of a house, leaving a cookie-cutout-perfect hole. The threat of skunks, or matrimony, often catalyzes this reaction.

4. The time required for an object to fall twenty stories is greater than or equal to the time it takes for whoever knocked it off the ledge to spiral down twenty flights to attempt to capture it unbroken.

Such an object is inevitably priceless; the attempt to capture it inevitably unsuccessful.


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5. All principles of gravity are negated by fear.

Psychic forces are sufficient in most bodies for a shock to propel them directly away from the earth’s surface. A spooky noise or an adversary’s signature sound will induce motion upward, usually to the cradle of a chandelier, a treetop, or the crest of a flagpole. The feet of a character that is running or the wheels of a speeding auto need never touch the ground, especially when in flight.

6. As speed increases, objects can be in several places at once.

This is particularly true of tooth-and-claw fights, in which a character’s head may be glimpsed emerging from the cloud of altercation at several places simultaneously. This effect is common as well among bodies that are spinning or being throttled. A “wacky” character has the option of self-replication only at manic high speeds, and may ricochet off walls to achieve the velocity required.

7. Certain bodies can pass through solid walls painted to resemble tunnel entrances; others cannot.

This trompe l’oeil inconsistency has baffled generations, but at least it is known that whoever paints an entrance on a wall’s surface to trick an opponent will be unable to pursue him into this theoretical space. The painter is flattened against the wall when he attempts to follow into the painting. This is ultimately a problem of art, not of science.

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8. Any violent rearrangement of feline matter is impermanent.

Cartoon cats possess even more deaths than the traditional nine lives might comfortably afford. They can be decimated, spliced, splayed, accordion-pleated, spindled, or disassembled, but they cannot be destroyed. After a few moments of blinking self-pity they reinflate, elongate, snap back, or solidify.

9. Everything falls faster than an anvil.

Examples too numerous to mention from the Road Runner cartoons.

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10. For every vengeance, there is an equal and opposite re-vengeance.

This is the one law of animated cartoon motion that also applies to the physical world at large. For that reason, we need the relief of watching it happen to a duck instead.

Christmas In Kentucky, Chapter VIII: The Return Trip Home

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Wherein my niece shows exceptional taste in film, an Illinois landmark is revisited, an early night is called, and a fantastic meal enjoyed

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I believe I read once in The Good Uncle Handbook™ that it is my responsibility to introduce my nieces and nephews to the classics. I take this responsibility seriously (e.g., Mad Magazine, The Three Stooges.) So during this holiday break I have been introducing adorable niece Nolia to the best in animation. Her favorites so far: “One Froggy Evening” by Chuck Jones, and “Bad Luck Blackie” by Tex Avery.

So Friday morning I said goodbye to Mom and Nolia and Lady, and set out for home. Yeah, it was hard.

I was glad I waited the extra day. The interstate in Indiana was passable – the plows had been hard at work – but it was clear they had just finished earlier that morning.

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Illinois has, without a doubt, the best highway rest areas in the country. When we made trips south with Dad, we’d pack a cooler and stop at these instead of fast-food joints. My favorite: the Skeeter Mountain Rest Area, on I-64 just outside of Grayville.

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I made pretty good time through most of Illinois. I genuinely thought I would make it home to Minnesota by 11 pm or so. But at dusk the temperatures dropped, the highway began to glaze, and the radio forecasted heavy snow ahead of me in Wisconsin. Maybe I’m skittish, but I decided to call it a night. Pulled off the interstate in Rochelle, just 25 miles or so south of the Wisconsin border.

Took a room at the Super 8. At the recommendation of the young woman behind the counter, I drove a few blocks over to the Butterfly Restaurant for dinner. This proved to be one of the best decisions I’d made all day. Incredible food, huge portions, unbelievably low prices. If you’re ever down that way, don’t hesitate to stop there.

Off to sleep at about 11-ish, with plans to return home on Saturday.

“Hey Grandma! I brought a little bunny rabbit for ya.. TA HAVE!”

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I always liked this kid. Voiced by Bea Benaderet, who later was the voice of Betty Rubble and later still Kate Bradley on “Petticoat Junction.”

I think people need to use the phrase “TA HAVE” more often.

“White Christmas” by The Drifters, animation by Joshua Held.

My nieces Phoebe and Nolia and I used to sing and act out all the parts of this. I strayed from the script when I ad libbed, “Take it, Rudolph,” and it seems to have stuck.

In honor of Rocky And Bullwinkle Day

Remember some months ago when I wrote that someone should make a CGI movie of Mr. Peabody and Sherman?

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Holy cow. Guess what.

Scheduled for release one year from now.

Just like I suggested this past July.

Did I set the wheels in motion for this to happen? It would be arrogant and solipsistic for me to suggest that, I fear. Hard to believe my little blog would wield any such power. But just to be on the safe side: