The idea that reusing footage/animation can be a sign of creative laziness offends a great number of people. In most cases it is not, and a common and accepted practice when money and time are a factor. But with two directors, reuse seems to be a creative decision, and it happens with the favorite films of the most savage subsets of animation fans.
One is of course the later Disney fans, who are aghast that anyone could call the animation in the Woolie Reitherman directed features anything short of brilliant. Reitherman was a great animator, sure, but he sure as hell wasn’t that good of a director, and budgets had nothing to do with the blatant recycling of animation (not to mention character designs) from earlier films. When any of the old timers I know tell me of their days at Disney’s during this era, it’s always about how it was the most comfortable work environment they ever worked in. So I can’t see how the blame of the film’s failures (and there are many, many) can be passed elsewhere when it’s plain that it’s primarily the fault of who’s credited as director.
The other hostile subset is of course the Bob Clampett clan, which functions like just about any church in the southern United States: point out one flaw in Bob’s cartoons, and you’re a Son of Sodom, trying to destabilize the natural order.
Going over the studio’s filmography, Clampett was primarily the only director at Warners to reuse animation on a regular basis. (Only Friz Freleng surpasses him in reuses, which to be expected given that most of them happened when Freleng was directing in the early 30s, when it was a common practice at all studios to reuse animation to save money in the Depression.) One common fact shared in a lot of the Warner animator interviews is that Clampett was always a cartoon or two behind for the studio. Keeping that in mind, it wasn’t laziness, just hacking out to play catch-up. If budget was the villain, the other directors would have reused as often too.
There didn’t seem to be a scene in the Warner catalog that Clampett couldn’t reuse, whether it be redrawing a big-lipped Stepin Fetchit as Elmer Fudd, tracing over a Harman-Ising fowl couple with Daffy and his wife, or just dropping in badly traced footage from one of Freleng’s late 30s pictures without caring about continuity (about the most polar opposite cartoon you can think of compared with Bob Clampett).
In his defense, sloppy reuse and editing aside, Clampett’s cartoons are some of the funniest, most beautifully animated, and just plain best ones anywhere. Then again, you can say that for just about any of the directors. Without the sloppy reuse and editing.
And spare the argument that these weren’t meant to be looked at like this, that general audiences wouldn’t be looking for these kinds of things. If we were just average joe’s, we wouldn’t be talking about these cartoons on the Internet. It seems technical analysis of these things is only welcome when it’s positive.