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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

“Mother Goose Goes Hollywood” (1938) - Hugh Herbert Model Sheet, Pencil & Cel

Here's an interesting set of items featuring Hugh Herbert (who's antics were incorporated as part of Daffy Duck's character).

Hugh Herbert Model Sheet

It's really too bad that rubber cement was used on so many items in the 1930's and 1940's. You can start to see how it has shown up.

From “Mother Goose Goes Hollywood” (1938). Stat model sheet of Hugh Herbert in “Mother Goose Goes Hollywood.” A number of pencil notations on the sheet and the sheet is stapled to another larger mounting sheet. On stat: "Note pull of eyebrows to outer edges of head 12-23-38 (pencil) RS-6 Walt Disney Prod. Library of the Walt Disney Studio" On larger sheet: "00138 127" Nothing on the back sides. [15.5"W x 12.5"H] Acquired 1998. SeqID-0340 Updated: 5/1/2008


Hugh Herbert Pencil

From “Mother Goose Goes Hollywood” (1938). Hugh Herbert as Old King Cole, wearing robe and crown, looking down page left (probably at Ned Sparks). Notes: "8"; "REG. BG."; "Field Line"; "FIX"?; "Toe" (See #339 for a cell of Old King Cole sitting on throne with Ned Sparks) [12”W x 10”H] Acquired 1996. SeqID-0191 Updated: 4/2/1996


Ned Sparks and Hugh Herbert Cel

From “Mother Goose Goes Hollywood” (1938). Cel of Ned Sparks (Jester) and Hugh Herbert (Old King Cole) on a Courvoisier background. On back: Collection of Richard Amsel. [9.5"W x 9"H] Acquired 1998. SeqID-0339 Updated: 7/27/2005

Ned Sparks: Ned Sparks proved himself a top character support whose style would be imitated for decades to come. Although less remembered now, he was an inimitable cinematic player back in 1930s Hollywood. The nasal-toned, deadpan comedian Sparks was born Edward A. Sparkman in Guelph, Canada, and was raised for a time in St. Thomas, Ontario. He attended the University of Toronto and, after a period of soul-searching, decided upon acting. He began, believe it or not, as a honky-tonk balladeer in Dawson Creek, Alaska. In 1907, he went to New York and developed his stone-faced reputation in comic outings. His first film in 1915 did not lead to other offers, particularly during a black-balling incident as a one of the founding members of Actors Equity. In 1922, his movie career headed full steam, but it was the advent of sound with Ned's cynical tones, raspy whines and sour disposition that sparked a comfortable film niche, making close to 100 films in all. Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933), Going Hollywood (1933), the Caterpillar in the all-star Alice in Wonderland (1933), the Claudette Colbert and Louise Beavers version of Imitation of Life (1934) were just a few of his more noticeable roles. His cigar-chomping puss became so well-known at Warner Bros., in fact, that Walt Disney's short animated film Broken Toys (1935) had a Jack-in-the-Box character based exclusively on Ned's image. A few years later, when Disney made Mother Goose Goes Hollywood (1938), Ned's caricature played The Jester. In 1939, Tex Avery portrayed him as a hermit crab in Fresh Fish (1939). A radio favorite over the years, he performed alongside Bing Crosby quite frequently. His last disagreeable Hollywood role would be alongside James Stewart in Magic Town (1947). In 1957, he died of an intestinal blockage.

Hugh Herbert: Former stage actor and playwright - he wrote over 150 plays and vaudeville sketches - Hugh Herbert went in the early 30s to Hollywood as comedian. In the 30s he worked mostly for Warner, impersonating often eccentric millionaires, tycoons and dimwitted professors, in a few movies he collaborated on the screenplays, e.g. on "Hit Parade of 1941". Shy, stammering and widely popular US screen comedian of the 30's and 40's whose trademark gesture could be seen in all his fingers fluttering together, usually accompanied by his other trademark - that "woo-woo!" exclamation (which became the inspiration for Daffy Duck).


  1. The multiple-colored inking on this film (and others of the period) is just glorious. The airbrushing isn't bad either. What a stunning job of ink and paint - never mind the great animation.

    This is a great cel from the film.

  2. - The inking is great!

    - I was just looking at the cel and thought that Neb Sparks sure looks like Side Show Bob on "The Simpsons."