Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Sad, bad - glad? Cartoons that will make you very happy

The less you say about cartoons like these, the better, but since I don't want to look like a total slacker, I should say something. This is the infamous Magic of Oz that came out of nowhere, still impenetrable after years of attempted internet analysis. Who is Robert Capeheart, and how has he avoided arrest up until now? Probably he's dead, because this looks really old, maybe 1940s or '50s. There is so little point to it: it doesn't appear to be a Part 1 or part ANYthing of something. It has no story and no discernible action, but it does have some dreadful songs in it. The voice synchronization is almost as bad as in Paddy Pelican (which see). I have never seen a more irritating collection of characters, but (to make it worse, and I know I am not the only one who has said this) there is something disturbingly familiar about them. Where have I seen that lion before? The eyes seem to suggest anime, but it didn't exist back then. Or maybe this is where anime came from.

This is a Spanish cartoon dubbed into German, and only a little bit of it, but if you don't mind a very loud Spanish guy shouting on top of the very loud Spanish sound track, you can find the whole 55-minute thing somewhere on YouTube. This clip gives you a pretty good idea of what it's like. The question is why.

This is the one that spoils me for all the rest - The Adventures of Paddy the Pelican, an exercise in WHAT THE FUCK????? if ever there was one. It defies all explanation in its sheer badness. As far as animation is concerned, you might as well take two pieces of paper with different drawings on them and switch them back and forth. The vocal characterizations are just dung, that's all they are. You've got to see this.

Spunky and Tadpole, a not-very-seminal cartoon (in spite of its semen-al name) that was mostly just '60s schlock, though I think it came out around 1959. 1959 was a shabby, dog-eared year. It couldn't quite decide what to be. Personally, I think everyone is terrified by "9" years because they are scared to death of what the next decade might bring, or not bring. In this case, they should have been more scared. I remember the title Spunky and Tadpole and probably watched them when I was three or four years old, so didn't understand anything I was seeing (any more than I understood Ernie Kovacs, one of my first incomprehensible life experiences). But the title stayed with me. Did I think these cartoons were good? What's good when you're four?

And here is the unavoidable, Jesusly-bad The Adventures of Clutch Cargo and his Pals, Spinner and Paddlefood (in another exciting adventure called blah, blah, blah, etc.) This is the one where there is a real mouth superimposed on top of a primitive drawing of a face, There is no hope or fear of animation here: it's just completely static drawings that are occasionally dragged stiffly across the screen to represent "action". The mouths look to be infected with herpes or at least really bad cold sores, or smeared with lipstick that won't wipe off. Awwww, Clutch!

This episode, or minisode or sod-off or whatever-it-is, features a Chinese Eskimo (as the Inuit were called by racist Americans back then) speaking in some sort of slurred Japanese/Filipino accent. I will not try to analyze the significance of this.

When you think about it, though - Clutch - Spunky and Tadpole - how Freudian can it get. No wonder I grew up to be this way.

This is U. S. Army propaganda in the form of a hysterically jolly exercise video. I wonder if anyone ever followed it. I have no idea where these old films come from. One would have hoped they would be destroyed after 1949 or so. It even pictures tanks rolling along, so maybe it's a wartime cartoon. Kind of like Hitler appearing in that Donald Duck thing. I have to ask you, though - why do these things always seem so - ? Homosexual? There is a note of hysterical gayness here that I simply cannot ignore.

Bucky and Pepito. Mediocre, with moments of excruciating grace. I like the fact that you always hear the same background music in EVERY cartoon ever made in the '60s. It's like the sound of the horse whinnying that's always the same, the sound of the car wreck, or even the canned laughter used in sitcoms where you can hear certain laughs over and over again. Soundtrack Central or something. I probably watched this but was too little to remember, or it was just too forgettable. It just sort of came on as I sat there on the floor with my fat little legs splayed out and and ate my Junket pudding.

Pow-wow. It was OK to make fun of Indians back then because they weren't considered real people. They really weren't. They were extras and background and "filler" in Westerns, where they appeared in hordes, always wearing elaborate headdresses that were never used except in ceremonial occasions, and then only by Plains tribes. The best gig they could get was as the Lone Ranger's sidekick. Don't get me started on Jay Silverheels, because I think he was magnificent and made the Ranger look like a old queen in spandex pants. Most Indians weren't played by Indians anyway, which must have been depressing. Even if a Jew didn't look Jewish, he could probably get away with playing an Indian.

This wasn't really labelled except as Dementia 5, but I figured out that it's from a particularly trippy episode of Rocket Robin Hood. Must be from the early '70s then, when acid trips were common knowledge: but really, Robin Hood and pals, out in space, tripping on acid?

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