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?

Toon In: For Scent-imental Reasons (1949)

Welcome back friends to another installment of Toon In. The second for this week but I felt with the audio treasure posted earlier this week a more traditional Toon In offering was in order. That is why I have chosen a 1949 Looney Tunes animated short, which won the 1949 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film – the first for Director Chuck Jones.

As you can see from the image at the top of the post and even without it I am sure you could have guessed by the pun in the title – this short features the romantic antics of Pepe Le Pew.
Pepe Le Pew
The story in For Scent-imental Reasons find the propietor of a perfume shop shocked to discover that Pepe is within helping himself to his wares. Due to the bad timing of a friendly feline she finds herself locked in with the amorous Le Pew, who mistakes her for a fellow skunk when a bottle of white hair dye is tipped over and its contents leave a stripe down her back and tail. So begins the chase…one that has a surprising outcome when Pepe gets what he wants.

Mel Blanc naturally provides the voice of Pepe and the other characters within the short but there is a surprisingly large and hilarious chunk where there is no dialogue, as Le Pew attempts to coax his intended love out of a glass case. This scene while intact in the video below is usually edited out when shown on TV…for a rather obvious reason.

So please join us and Toon In and enjoy 1949’s For Scent-imental Reasons!

Looney Toons – For Scentimental Reasons by JomJul

Toon In – Don Messick’s “Unbirthday” Message To Hayden Kays

Welcome back to another installment of Toon In. While normally this would be a moment in the week to share a worthy animated short or cartoon episode for your viewing pleasure we are going with something different this time.

I happened upon this message from the legendary voice actor Don Messick the other day and felt it needed to be shared. In the two and half minute greeting he presents an Unbirthday wish to the listener by the name of Hayden with a little help from the characters he helped make famous like Scooby-Doo, Scrappy-Doo, Boo-Boo Bear, Papa Smurf, Droopy, Ricochet Rabbit, and even Muttley!

So come Toon In and listen to this delightful gathering of classic animated characters courtesy of Don Messick!

[Via] Hayden Kays

Toon In: The Invisible Moustache Of Raoul Dufy (1955)

Welcome back friends to a new installment of Toon In, that point in a week where we stop and take a moment to share with you a theatrical short or cartoon worthy of your precious viewing time.

This week we have a 1955 short, directed by the legendary illustrator Aurelius Battaglia for the UPA studio entitled The Invisible Moustache of Raoul Dufy. A story that focuses on the life of the equally legendary French painter Raoul Dufy and how that life was changed when he refused to give up his desire to bring the World his personal vision through his painting. That and his “invisible” moustache.

The Invisible Moustache of Raoul Dufy

This short was nominated for a 1957 BAFTA award for best Best Animated Film. There is shockingly little information on the short beyond the music was composed by Alexander Laszlo and written by Sidney Peterson. I can certainly tell you however the narrator for this nearly ten minute short is Hans Conried (Rocky and Bullwinkle, The Hobbit) who knew a thing or two about voice over work for animated fare.

So come and Toon In as we learn of The Invisible Moustache of Raoul Dufy!

[Via] Evergreen Animations

Toon In: I Am the Greatest -The Adventures of Muhammad Ali (1977)

With the loss of Muhammad Ali on Friday it only seemed fitting that for this installment of Toon In we naturally share an episode from his short lived 1977 animated series. Produced by Farmhouse Films for NBC starting on September 10, the 13 episode series sadly only made it one season.

Although it benefits from having had Ali voice himself in the series, the People’s Champion couldn’t be in the studio with the other actors for obvious reasons so co-creator of I Am the Greatest: The Adventures of Muhammad Ali, Fred Calvert (The Princess and the Cobbler), would actually fly out to meet the Champ so they could record his lines.

Our offering today is an episode entitled “The Great Alligator” and was the premiere episode. This is actually the first time I’ve seen this particular animated series and it strikes me a little like what the 1983 – 1984 Mr. T animated series would do, Ali is brought into the situation by a group of children…in this case as you can guess from the title of the episode you are going see the legendary boxer take on a scaly opponent.

I Am the Greatest - Muhammad Ali Cartoon

So Toon In and find out the mystery of The Great Alligator with I Am the Greatest: The Adventures of Muhammad Ali!

[Via] TheCoEvi

I think I should add from watching the episode I am absolutely enamored with how much fun their is in it, let us hope that we somehow can see the series restored on DVD in the near future.

Toon In: St. George And The Dragonet (1950s)

Welcome back friends to another offering of Toon In, that time of the week that we can share some classic animated shorts or noteworthy animation worthy of your viewing. This week we have something interesting. A stop-motion animated short featuring the audio comedy recording from Stan Freberg and Daws Butler’s “St. George and the Dragonet”!

Originally released on September 21, 1953 by Capitol Records as a 45, Stan Freberg and Daws Butler’s audio parody of the popular Dragnet TV show (and of course the original radio series) reached Billboard’s #1 spot. I have no doubt that most of you have heard it as we have shared it before on the site in the past.

Stan Freberg

This stop-motion animated treasure was produced in the 1950s although I have found no firm date although it obviously came out after 1953, right? Freberg and Butler had already left the Time for Beany! show at that point…it almost looks like something from George Pal’s Puppetoons series but those ceased production in 1947.

At the very least we know we can enjoy this little stop-motion treat so Toon In as we watch St. George and the Dragonet!

[Via] Mister Kleenhead