Tweet Zoo - Tweety Bird

Toon In: Merrie Melodies’ Tweet Zoo (1957)

Welcome back to a new installment of Toon In, friends. Our offering this week entitled Tweet Zoo was released in theaters back in 1957. A Merrie Melodies animated short that was directed by Friz Freleng. Who as a matter of fact created the likes of Porky Pig, Yosemite Sam, and the stars of Tweet Zoo Sylvester and Tweety.
Tweet Zoo - Sylvester And Tweety

In addition it has also been noted that the Tweet Zoo title is a play on the 1928 hit song Sweet Sue, Just You. Which was composed by Victor Young and featured lyrics by Will J. Harris. It was covered by many bands and singers from Benny Goodman to Miles Davis. Furthermore it was sung by the cast of I Love Lucy in 1952 as well as 1954 and once again in 1957.

[Via] Michael Johnson

You get all types of knowledge here at The Retroist, right?

Tweet Zoo was written by Warren Foster (Porky in Wackyland ) and finds Sylvester in a tour group at the city zoo. Of course his attention is solely on Tweety Bird who happens to be one of the rare exhibits. Certainly our favorite wise-cracking yellow canary isn’t going to let himself become an easy meal, right?

1957’s Tweet Zoo features the talented Mel Blanc of course. Moreover Freleng injects some of the most laugh out loud animated physical bits of comedy. Case in point when Tweety Bird takes refuge in the the bear den and Sylvester tries to reach him with a net.

I can’t help but bust a gut at the bear’s reaction every single time. However while Tweet Zoo is a fantastic animated short. It was actually another Sylvester and Tweety short that won the 1957 Academy Awards – that honor fell to Birds Anonymous.

So without further ado, join us and Toon In as we enjoy 1957’s Tweet Zoo!

[Via] Classic Cartoon Vault

After watching Tweet Zoo perhaps you feel up to more cartoon fun?

Then why not check out Zim Animation’s 3D animated intros to the likes of He-Man, Ghostbusters, and more?

Cuphead

Cuphead Announcement Trailer Is Stunningly Beautiful

The Upcoming Cuphead was originally announced back at E3 in 2015. StudioMDHR certainly turned more than a few heads with the below teaser. I was of course blown away by its mix of Fleischer Studio inspired art style. As well as what I have to say looks to be a platformer with shoot ’em up game elements!

[Via] StudioMDHR

As I just mentioned, the game was announced in 2015. Although it was revealed to Microsoft’s E3 2014 press conference. Furthermore Cuphead was expected to debut in 2016. In the early part of October 2016, StudioMDHR announced that Cuphead wouldn’t debut until mid-2017. The reason being was a sound one I believe. Instead of forcing themselves to a strict deadline, which would of course mean the excising of certain parts of the game. They wisely decided to delay so that their full vision for the game would be kept intact when it is released on September 29th of this year.
Cuphead - Don't Deal With the Devil

The systems it will be readily available for include the Xbox One, Windows 10, and Steam. I will have to admit that I was rather shocked that the title wasn’t being offered to the Playstation. However I wouldn’t be too surprised if a little down the road it doesn’t make its way over to the Sony fans.
Cuphead - Carnival

Brothers Jared and Chad Moldenhauer are the lead game designer and art director for Cuphead. They started working on the idea for the game back in 2010 in fact. Featuring hand-drawn animation and watercolor backgrounds, the audio includes original jazz recordings.
Cuphead

I should mention the story for Cuphead involves the titular character losing a bet with the Devil himself. Judging from that 2015 E3 teaser our hero and his pal Mugman decide to fill up with some liquid courage and try to repay that debt. Doing so involves overcoming 30 boss battles. Which is five more than the Guinness World Record says a shoot ’em up has challenged Players with so far.
Cuphead

I have also read that Jared and Chad have stated they are aiming for old school difficulty. While I’m hoping they aren’t going as old school as Capcom’s Mega Man I will buy this game no matter what. My love of animation that I share on the Toon In posts demands I play this game even if I’m horrible at it.
Cuphead - Devil

I ask you to look at these beautiful screencaps of the game in action. That anything is possible in a cartoon feel really shines through!
Cuphead

Cuphead

Certainly a lot of work has gone into Cuphead, the team has expertly crafted a title that wears it’s love of the Fleischer Studios on its sleeve. In addition StudioMDHR has a merchandise page that is suitably retro of course. Pins featuring the likes of Mugman and Cuphead are available. As well as sweaters, T-shirts, stickers and even posters. All looking like they were plucked right out of the animated shorts of the 1930s!
Cuphead

[Via] StudioMDHR

Now while we patiently await the release of the game…

Why not delve into those very shorts that inspired the creation of Cuphead?


For your viewing pleasure, we present 1939’s Small Fry from the Fleischer Studios!

[Via] Disney Short Film

Popeye

Toon In: Popeye – Cookin’ With Gags (1955)

Welcome back, friends, to a new Toon In. This week we have Popeye the Sailor in a 1955 Associated Artists Production short entitled Cookin’ With Gags. An appropriate selection I think you will certainly agree as today is April 1st.

When I was growing up, I would watched quite a bit of A.A.P. Popeye cartoons. Whiling way the hours until it was time to race down to the bus stop. This was possible in fact thanks to the block programming by TBS in the early 80s.

Besides the likes of Popeye, that TBS block of cartoons would generally include Looney Tunes. As well as the King Features Syndicate characters Krazy Kat, Beetle Bailey, and even Snuffy Smith and Barney Google.

[Via] Angel Casusol

I think you Toon In fans might find it interesting that both Snuffy and Barney, were voiced by none other than Paul Frees. Of course you should recognize Paul’s distinct voice from his work on The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show and myriad Rankin/Bass specials. Of course he was also well known for voicing animated features and shorts for Walt Disney!

Read: Mars And Beyond (1957)

I apologize, friends. As usual I have let my train of thought run away with me. In our offering today, we find Popeye attempting to remain calm while attending a picnic with Bluto and Olive Oyl. The pranks range from the common industrial spring on an axe.
Popeye

To the addition of pouring gasoline on an open flame.

While it may indeed be April Fools Day, there is however only so much a Sailor Man can take. Will Popeye be able to thwart Bluto with a prank of his own? Furthermore will Olive Oyl see that she is being rather mean to our favorite Sailor Man? Toon In and let’s find out together!

[Via] Just For Fun

A Christmas Carol

Toon In: Enjoy 1971’s A Christmas Carol!

I mentioned in the last of the Retro Radio Memories Podcasts – I love A Christmas Carol. Charles Dickens 1843 novella really gets to me. I’ve as a matter of fact have pretty much loved all adaptations of the classic tale. Just a few of my favorites include 1951’s Scrooge, 1983’s Mickey’s Christmas Carol, 1984’s overlooked made for TV version featuring George C. Scott and of course 1970’s version of Scrooge!

[Via] Plains Video

It most certainly has a bit to do with the supernatural elements…I mean I AM a monster kid. But more than that is the message that a person can be saved from a destructive path, they can better themselves. The act of redemption of course is what keeps me coming back to A Christmas Carol again and again.

Now having said all of that. There appears to be a version of the story that I’ve not seen before. An 1971 animated special that aired on ABC on December 21. But proved so popular that it was later given a theatrical release. Then secured an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 1972!

Which by the way the Academy changed the rules right after that win – so a made for TV short film cannot be eligible. A bit of humbug with that, right?

While the stunning animation style was based on the illustrations provided by John Leech and Milo Winter. Who in fact provided the artwork for the 1930’s version of Dickens’ novella. The short film also had legendary Chuck Jones as a producer with direction by Richard Williams.

Another key point to remember about this adaptation of A Christmas Carol is the sometimes frightening images. Whether it be the likes of Jacob Marley – shocking Ebenezer to keep him silent.
A Christmas Carol

Or the Ghost of Christmas Present’s charges Ignorance and Want. Memorable and visually striking to say the least.

Another feature in the short film’s cap is the vocal talent they secured. For example you have Michael Redgrave as the narrator, Michael Hordren as Jacob Marley, Joan Sims as Mrs. Cratchit, and Alastair Sim as Ebenezer Scrooge. Yes, it is true that Sim reprises the role he played in 1951’s film adaption!

So sit back and Toon In for 1971’s A Christmas Carol – and from all of us at The Retroist have a Happy Holiday!

Just Jeff 53

Toon In: Self Defense…For Cowards (1962)

Welcome back friends to another installment of Toon In, this week we have an offering from Gene Deitch entitled Self Defense…for Cowards that was originally released back in 1962. This short is actually an adaptation of Alice McGrath’s 1961 book with the full title Self-Defense For Cowards: A Guide To Non-Combative Action For The Rational, Resourceful Man.
Toon In - Self Defense for Cowards
Why You Should Know Gene Deitch
I would hazard a guess that Gene Deitch is certainly not a household name for fans of classic animation. Not as recognizable as the likes of Chuck Jones, Tex Avery, or Ub Iwerks to name a few but I feel you will know of a few classic animated short series that he had a hand in. Like the UPA Popeye television series or Krazy Kat and about a dozen of the Tom and Jerry theatrical shorts.
Self Defense for Cowards - Gene Deitch
Gene Deitch also was responsible for directing a previous Toon In entry that I shared back in April, the Oscar nominated anti-war short Munro – as well as the interesting adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit.
Gene Deitch - The Hobbit

So Why Is Self Defense…for Cowards Important?
I am very glad you asked that question. For one thing Self Defense…for Cowards was nominated for the 1962 Oscar for Best Short Subject, Cartoons. More importantly though is the fact that the short is incredibly funny. While I thankfully have only found myself in some of the same situations as the protagonist – I feel we can all relate to these situations in way or another.

Micah Hambrick
The short was produced by Rembrandt Films which was originally founded in 1949 by William L. Snyder. Gene Deitch actually left America to move to Prague in Czechoslovakia to join Snyder’s animation studio. Deitch had been let go from his position at Terry Toons in 1958 and this was after he had helped deliver the Academy Award nominated short Sidney’s Family Tree.

So perhaps Gene Deitch knew a thing or two about bullies himself?