Bugs’ and Daffy’s Carnival of the Animals (1976)
aka Carnival of the Animals
Article 5758 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Chuck Jones, Herbert Klynn, Gerry Woolery
Featuring Michael Tilson Thomas and the voice of Mel Blanc
What it is: TV special with Bugs and Daffy
Bugs and Daffy are competing pianists in performance of Camille Saint-Saens’ “Carnival of the Animals”.
Since the presence of anthropomorphic animals alone is not sufficient for me to declare an animated work as being genre, there’s a distinct possibility I will not be covering ALL of the seventies TV specials which featured Looney Tunes characters. In fact, I was half expecting not to cover this one, but the fact that one of the sections of the “Carnival of the Animals” concerns fossils, we get some fleeting images of dinosaurs, which is sufficient for me to include it. Though I am tempted to compare and contrast it with BUGS BUNNY IN KING ARTHUR’S COURT, I really can’t, because this one is rather a different animal from that one. This one isn’t a full-blooded attempt to emulate the Looney Tunes world, but rather it merely grafts a certain element of that world (the rivalry between Bugs and Daffy) onto a performance (with animated inserts) of the musical piece. In fact, I do wonder if the Bugs/Daffy animation was a late addition to the mix; they may have been added to add a little more commercial appeal to a project that would otherwise prove a bit too refined for a TV audience. The best thing about this as a whole is that musically the piece is well performed and the conductor is quite charismatic, though I should point out that only portions of the work are featured. The animation for the pieces that does not involve Bugs and Daffy (and was directed by Herbert Klynn) is passable but not particularly memorable. As for the Bugs and Daffy footage, it’s disappointing; it mostly consists of multiple repeats of the “Bugs gets the applause and Daffy gets the crickets” gag and a tiresome argument about the pronunciation of the composer’s name.