Written more than a decade before "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" made it okay for adults to enjoy animated cartoons, Joe Adamson's labor-of-love tribute to cartoon pioneer Tex Avery is a must-have for any scholar of animation. Containing perhaps the only extensive interview with Tex Avery before his death before 1980, the book looks back on the illustrious career of a shy, quiet man whose only ambition was to make people laugh. Walt Disney and Chuck Jones are the two most famous names of the Golden Age of cartoons, but they both owe a debt to Tex Avery. In addition to the personal look at Avery's life, the book contains a complete filmography of Avery's theatrical cartoons, plus interviews with the people Tex worked with over the years. While the 1996 book "Tex Avery" by John Canemaker provided a look at the more tragic side of Avery's career (as well as a wealth of background and behind-the-scenes material), Adamson's book is still the definitive look at the fun-loving, innocent personality of the creator of Droopy Dog, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and the man who broke the shackles of "realism" in animation by declaring, "In a cartoon you can do anything!"
The word "genius" evokes images of Albert Einstein, or Jean-Paul Sartre. And yet, genius cuts accross many art forms and industries.
The cartoon was still in infant stage when Tex Avery entered it's realm. It was a convergence of fortuitous timing. He joined a team of almost limitless creativity, and a studio that gave him almost limitless leeway. The results were spectacular. His style, his passion, and his brilliant and bizarre sense of humor were allowed to move to the fore. Millions watched his cartoons, came to imitate and savor his characters, and love a set of possibilies that up to then, had seemed impossible.
The circumstances Avery created made people laugh in incredulity. The plotlines were frenetic, and the action and stories were mesmerizing. Today, with many of his cartoons more than 70 years old, they still have a fresh, timeless energy about them. They are classic, and can be enjoyed by adults and children too young to remember their inception.
This book captures Avery in the final years of his life. It shows a living legend, who is too modest to comprehend his greatness. It is a quick read, and both tells his story, and the story of the cartoon characters he created. Many are part of the fabric of our culture. Bugs Bunny, Chillie Willie, Woody Woodpecker and Droopy. There are many pictures, and some funny stories of the eccentric personalities that populated the movie studios during that prolific and seminal time of Hollywood.
Adamson presents a wealth of information on Avery's work. The only two criticisms I kind find, would be the lack of color photos showing Avery's amazing animation and Adamson's feeble attempts at being critical of Avery's films. I like reading about Avery and the history of animation, I couldn't care less about his personal opinions of the shorts he examines.
This book is worthless because : - it offers little insight into Avery's genius - it's short on the man's biography - it focuses too much on the cartoons - a large portion of it is made up of interviews with Avery and others; it's easy to write books that way, using text that's already written - every picture is in black and white; not a single one in colour; would you like to watch Avery's cartoons in b & w ? - it is printed on mediocre paper; when you're reading a page you are very much aware of the pictures printed on the other side of the page - it's grossly overpriced