Too Many Long Boxes!

End of Summer

Catching The Fox and the Crow

by Gerald Wilson

Where did the Fox and The Crow begin? Actually it began as one of Aesop's fables about a fox trying to get some grapes without a crow in sight. The cartoon called "The Fox and The Grapes" added one Crawford Crow to torment Fauntleroy Fox and that torment, lasted in cartoons and comics, for over 20 years.

It's not really so surprising as the director of that first cartoon, Frank Tashlin, went from Columbia Pictures to Warner Brothers where worked on Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny and Porky Pig cartoons. When he graduated to live action, he directed Bob Hope, Martin and Lewis and Danny Kaye in some of their best work. But (blackout) back to the Fox and The Crow, who used a number of such gags, in their first effort which director Chuck Jones freely admits inspired his Roadrunner and Coyote cartoons.

The second cartoon, Room and Bored, was directed by Bob Wickersham who did nearly all but the last three cartoons in the series. Those, directed by John Hubley, appeared between 1948 and 1950.

Comic Cavalcade #32, featuring the Fox and the Crow

Their comic book life was far longer. In fact, DC used three Columbia cartoons to launch Real Screen Comics in 1945. The other cartoons were Tito and His Burrito (you can see why it didn't last) and Flippity and Flop, which actually predated the more famous Tweety and Sylvester.

The comics and cartoon differed little from each other with either The Crow trying to outsmart The Fox or The Fox seeking to do The Crow bodily harm, both variations on the Tom and Jerry formula being done at MGM.

Super heroes were starting to fade after World War II and Comic Cavalcade switched to funny animal stories in 1948. The Fox and The Crow starred and shared cover space with The Dodo and The Frog and Nutsy Squirrel. The characters got their own book in 1951 and so were featured in three books until Comic Cavalcade was cancelled in 1954. Real Screen Comics became TV Screen Cartoons for the last two yeaars of its run which ended in 1961.

The duo lasted in their own book for another seven years, according to Don Markstein's Toonopedia. The book's title was then changed to Stanley and His Monster, a feature co-created by Arnold Drake, the creator of Doom Patrol and Deadman, and longtime DC editor/cartoonist Winslow Mortimer.

Comics historian Mark Evanier has said if "forced" to pick his favorite book, it would be The Fox and The Crow in a three-part POV article on the book. To quote, it is..."a book devoid of death, angst, sex or violence..." That's enough reason to like them in my book.

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Updated 7/27/2010