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?

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