Now Hear This (1962)
Article 5949 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Chuck Jones
Featuring the voice of Mel Blanc
What it is: An exercise in oddness
A hard-of-hearing Briton finds a new red hearing horn in the street, and throws his old horn away. However, this is no ordinary horn; it’s a horn missing from the head of the devil.
By the early sixties, the quality of the Warner Brothers cartoon was in rapid decline, but there is still the occasional gem to be found. This is one of them. This one is an exercise in surreal abstraction, with distorted and bizarre sounds leading the man into a series of indescribable encounters. It’s one of those cartoons that works fine in the lower-budget style of the studio in that time, and makes good use of the spareness of that style. Treg Brown gets prominent credit in the cartoon for his sound effects, and it is well earned; this cartoon uses sound as decisively as its visual quality. It was an Oscar nominee for its year, and it well-deserved the nomination. It’s one of Jones’ strangest works.