What's Opera, Doc? (1957) Poster


In animation historian Jerry Beck's 1994 poll of animators, film historians and directors, this cartoon was selected as the #1 cartoon of all time.
Warner Bros. Cartoons, Inc. only allotted five weeks for the production of each seven-minute short, but director Chuck Jones spent seven weeks on this short. To cover up for the extra time spent, he had his entire unit doctor their time cards to make it appear as if they working on the Road Runner/Coyote short Zoom and Bored (1957) for two weeks before they actually started (since Chuck and his staff were so familiar with the Road Runner formula, they were able to complete Zoom and Bored in three weeks).
According to Chuck Jones, there are 104 cuts in this cartoon, an unusually high number for a Warner Bros. cartoon.
For the ballet scenes, Chuck Jones and his animators studied dancers Tatiana Riabouchinska and David Lichine, who were working for Warner Bros. at the time. Both dancers had previously worked on Fantasia (1940), as reference models for the "Dance of the Hours" sequence.
When Elmer is summoning the various forces of nature ("North Wind bwow! South Wind bwow!" etc.), Mel Blanc does the summoning on the final incantation ("Smog!") because Arthur Q. Bryan's reading was not strong enough. Bryan's reading of the line can be heard on the Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume 2 DVD vocal only audio track.
Generally considered to be the single greatest animated short ever made.
The first cartoon selected for the National Film Registry.
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