The Dover Boys (Looney Tunes)

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The Dover Boys (Looney Tunes)
TheDoverBoys.png
The birth of fast-paced, low-budget limited animation.
Episode Number: 382
Air Date: September 19, 1942
Writer: Tedd Pierce
Director: Chuck Jones
Previous episode: "The Impatient Patient"
Next episode: "The Hep Cat"


The Dover Boys at Pimento University or The Rivals of Roquefort Hall (often shortened to The Dover Boys) is a 1942 Merrie Melodies cartoon directed by Chuck Jones and written by Tedd Pierce. The cartoon is a parody of the early 20th century book series The Rover Boys.

Why It Rocks

  1. This cartoon marked the time when Chuck Jones started to make more funnier cartoons with faster pacing after making a few weak, slow-paced cartoons from the 30s to early 40s.
  2. The humor is very funny.
  3. Tom, Dick, and Larry (whose names are puns on the placeholder names "tom, dick and harry") are funny, charming and likable main protagonists.
  4. Dan Backslide is a very hilarious antagonist and steals the whole show with his hammy, over-the-top attitude and speech mannerisms.
  5. The animation is very fluid and appealing. It also cleverly created limited animation, an animation technique which was very new in the animation industry at the time, in order to reduce production costs, speed up the pacing in the animation, all without sacrificing the animation quality way too much.
  6. Excellent voice acting, especially Mel Blanc as Dan Backslide.
  7. The backgrounds and colors are very beautiful and vibrant.
  8. Great, stylized designs for the characters.
  9. Wonderful music by Carl Stalling.
  10. A lot of quotable lines such as "A runabout? I'll steal it! No one will ever know!" and "Unhand her Dan Backslide!"

Bad Qualities

  1. While the cartoon is still among one of Jones' best cartoons, this cartoon almost caused Jones to lose his job at Warner Brothers due to Leon Schlesinger not being pleased with this cartoon due to the limited animation and dry brush smears, despite that Schlesinger himself wanted Jones to stop trying to imitate the Disney style (according to Schlesinger, Jones had overdone this "anti-Disneyfying" in the animation way too far). Fortunately, Jones was still kept abroad in the studio since a replacement for him wasn't easy to find.
  2. Although intended for comedic effect, Dora throwing Dan around while pleading for help makes her look like a Karma Houdini, despite being accidental.

Reception and Legacy

Because of the Internet, the short has gained newfound attention from younger generations, due to it being one of the few Warner Bros. shorts from that era that fell into the public domain, the younger generation were drawn to the animation style, absurd and non sequitur humor, and the satirization of the values of the time period, and the cartoon has led to many internet memes as a result, one being Dan's quote "A runabout? I'll steal it! No one will ever know!".

It is ranked as #49 in the 50 Greatest Cartoons book.

Trivia

  • Dan Backslide is caricatured after Ken Harris, an animator who worked for Jones' unit.
  • The cartoon has received its own reanimated collaboration in 2018.
  • Due to the cartoon failing to get it's copyright renewed from its previous copyright owner at the time, United Artists, it is now in the public domain.
  • Tom, Dick, and Larry would later make cameo appearances in Animaniacs and Space Jam.
  • A short clip of this cartoon was shown in the opening of a Futurama episode as well as an episode of Agent Carter.
  • As mentioned before, it has spawned a lot of Internet memes such as "I'll steal it! No one will ever know!".

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