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The Crackpot Quail (1941)

A dog chases a quail through the forest; the quail keeps outsmarting the dog (and keeps referring to the dog as "doc"). The dog, none too bright, keeps running into trees, while the quail's... See full summary »

Director:

Tex Avery (as Fred Avery)

Writer:

Rich Hogan
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Cast

Uncredited cast:
Tex Avery ... Willoughby (voice) (uncredited)
Mel Blanc ... Quail (voice) (uncredited)
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Storyline

A dog chases a quail through the forest; the quail keeps outsmarting the dog (and keeps referring to the dog as "doc"). The dog, none too bright, keeps running into trees, while the quail's topknot keeps falling into his face. Written by Jon Reeves <jreeves@imdb.com>

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 February 1941 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The music that plays over the title cards is an original composition by Carl Stalling. See more »

Alternate Versions

The original version of the quail had him blowing raspberries to put his "cowlick" back in place. Subsequent prints replaced the raspberry with a politer-sounding whistle. See more »

Soundtracks

The Umbrella Man
(uncredited)
Music by Vincent Rose and Larry Stock
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
No Wild Hare, but still worth a look
8 May 2005 | by hershey1174See all my reviews

Okay, so Tex Avery's "The Crackpot Quail" was released the same year as "The Wild Hare" and featured an animal protagonist facing a less-than-brilliant antagonist, addressed by the animal protagonist throughout as "Doc." So the plot features not a great deal more than a dog in pursuit of the quail in hopes of achieving his dream as a Pointer. So neither the dog nor the quail really achieved the status throughout pop history as the likes of Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny.

All of this can easily be forgiven, and is saved, by two key elements: the brilliant animation of Bob McKimson (easily one of Warner Brothers' best animators of all time, yielding stronger work as an animator than as a director imo) and the terrific-as-always score by Carl Stalling. Both of these two elements blend into a great marriage of expression: we are well aware of the emotions at all times of protagonist and antagonist alike.

McKimson manages to achieve a great deal of this for Avery's title character through his decidedly unwieldy black top; we are introduced to the character as we see the top fly up several times in time to its soon-to-be familiar whistle before a pan down shows that the obscured bird has been attempting to blow it out of its eyes. The black top soon shows us a great deal of emotion: at one point, when the bird is submerged in water and encounters the dog, we see the top transform from a submarine telescope to the shape of a question mark! A bit later, in a moment of particular distress, when the quail is trapped, the top suddenly sprouts into a series of spikes that would make a porcupine proud.

The dog also has a fine moment of emotional expression, highlighted in no small way by Stalling's score. When he comes to the realization that his prey has duped him into a game of fetch, a series of short piano crescendos reveal his realization, and McKimson shows the pro he is at the expression of sheer fury through two major facial features: the eyes and the teeth, the latter of which clench so tightly that the stick inevitably breaks. Though he does point out the obvious, true to his character, the dog need not inform us that he's "getting' plenty sore!"; McKimson has helped us to understand that well enough.

"The Crackpot Quail" might not have been a candidate for the Oscar. It might not have spawned any great recurring protagonists or series per se, though plenty of "dumb dogs" cropped up in Warner Brothers animation since the release of this cartoon. But it definitely deserves a bit of recognition, and is well worth a look. Not for anything particularly great, but for the smaller elements that are often overlooked.


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