Wednesday, October 26, 2011

L'Enfant Terrible: Baby Herman

Baby Herman is Roger Rabbit's deuteragonist in the animated cartoons in which they appear together. He is Roger Rabbit's best friend. Baby Herman and Roger Rabbit appeared together in routines redolent of Abbott and Costello in the so-called "Maroon Cartoons" of the 1940s.

In the Robert Zemeckis' toon-noir, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Baby Herman's role was significantly reduced relative to the old cartoons. In one scene, however, he is tipping off Eddie about the whereabouts of Marvin Acme's will, saying that Roger didn't murder Acme. Baby Herman also appears in the first cartoon on the scene at the Acme Factory after Valiant's battle with Judge Doom.

Despite his name and appearance, "Baby Herman" is actually a middle-aged, cigar-smoking actor who happens to look like an infant, and act as one. While filming "in character," he speaks baby talk in a typical baby boy's voice provided by April Winchell. Off-camera, however, his real persona kicks in, and he has a loud, gravelly voice courtesy of the voice talents of Lou Hirsch. It is said that Richard Williams, the animation director for the film, so loved the character of "adult" Baby Herman that he personally animated those scenes in the film.

Baby Herman with Cigar

When he loses his cigar, however, Baby Herman cries like a real baby, only in the voice of an adult.

Baby Herman without cigar

I have not seen any member of the St. HOLG's cigar club cry when bereft of his cigar. But, then again, I have never seen a member of the St. HOLG's cigar club sans cigar.

1 comment:

  1. I am known to cry tears of pain when I am detached from my beloved stogies. Right now for example, I am coming up with some sort of crude in my larynx. No cigars for a few days. Buaaahhhhhh.......