Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Palomar in Science Fiction - III

Today I bring you the Thanksgiving version of Palomar in Science Fiction. Well, sort of. Have a look at this.

Yes, it is a Bugs Bunny and Marvin the Martian in the cartoon known as Hasty Hare. Just watch it before you read any more. OK?

About 5:40 the cartoon really takes off as far as I am concerned. Bugs drops anchor from the spaceship and all sorts of mayhem ensues.

You wont see the "Palomar" reference until a little later (6:19) as an observatory comes into view. The observatory looks a lot like Mt. Wilson. Wouldn't you agree?

Here's the cartoon version:
And the real thing:

That's much more than a passing resemblance. It looks to me like the artist used Mt. Wilson as the subject for the cartoon.

Finally, here's the observatory with the various astronomical objects that Bugs has managed to drag along.
The Palomar reference (and the admittedly weak Thanksgiving reference, well it is more to do with turkeys) comes at the end when the observatory's director, I. Frisky Frisby, resigns. Notice the stationary:
Yes, it is the Shalomar Observatory. The cartoon was released in 1951 just a few years after the Hale Telescope at Palomar became the world's largest telescope.

As far as I know no employee of the Palomar Observatory has ever resigned to take up turkey farming - yet.

UPDATE: Commenter Anonymous points out that it was actually I. Frisby who signed the letter (I must need to get my glasses checked) and that the astronomer is a caricature of Warner Brothers animator Fritz Freleng.

Judging by the number of comments & emails I have received on this post I would say that I need to have more cartoon astronomy posts in the future.


Kate said...

Scott - You should review one of my favorite SF novels: Supernova by Roger MacBride Allen & Erik Kotani. Significant parts of it take place at Palomar, although certain people who can tell the difference think the authors have never been there. Unfortunately, it's out of print, but the night assistant has a copy.

Anonymous said...

The really important question is:

Would the Hale Observatories have ever hired someone named I. Frisky?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ben said...

Ok Scott, I give in, how in the world did you find that little gem???
Viewing it really perked my day up!!
Cartoons, flying saucers, ray guns, planets, stars, telescopes, and domes..... does it get any better???



Scott Kardel said...

Thanks for the tip Kate. I'll have to track that one down.

I have others in film & print up my sleeves that I will post another time.

Anonymous said...

That letter is NOT signed I. Frisky, but I. FrisBy, after Warner Brothers animator Fritz Freleng.

The poor little astronomer is a caraciture of Freleng.

Ah, if only it had been Frisky.

Note that WB at least was already getting away from the ideal of the scientist as the macho hero inthe early Cold War era, such as in This Island Earth.

Scott Kardel said...

Good catch Anonymous! I'll fix the name on the post.

Anonymous said...

Superb cartoon, the solar telescope at Mt Wilson is well drawn...