Morning, friends! I hope you are ready for some fun, because that is indeed what this Toon In is offering. Because I am happy to say that we certainly have a classic animated short for you this week. In fact One Droopy Knight ended up being nominated for an Academy Award in 1958. Of course as you can tell by the title One Droopy Knight, the star is obviously Droopy.
Droopy is hands down, one of my favorite animated characters. That has a ton to do with the creator of the character, which was Tex Avery. The animator was a master at slapstick humor to say the very least. Furthermore the animator was recognized as being a pioneer in the attempt to change the style of animation, that the Walt Disney studio was known for. That type of realism and even sentinmentality wasn’t what Avery was interested in.
Avery I think was inspired by the absurd and unexpected. Characters in a short might halt the cartoon to remark on the gags or action itself. Going so far as to address the audience about the plot as well as ‘escaping’ the film reel.
Perhaps the easiest way to sum up Avery’s attitude on animation was this quote from Joe Adamson’s 1975 book, Tex Avery: King of Cartoons.: “In a cartoon you can do anything.”
While Tex Avery was the creator of Droopy, by 1958 he had ceased working on theatrical shorts. Furthermore in the 1960s and 1970s he would produce animation for television commercials. For various companies like Kool-Aid, Frito-Lay, as well as Raid!
I think that with One Droopy Knight being released in 1957, it is obvious that Tex Avery wasn’t involved. In this case the Director was Michael Lah, the short produced by Hanna-Barbera. Although Avery’s spirit is still evident in the cartoon, at least I think so. The story concerns Droopy and his often bullyish rival Butch as knights of the realm. Tasked with heading out to conqueror a fearsome dragon that is terrorizing the countryside.
You will remember I had mentioned that One Droopy Knight was nominated for an Oscar. It did not take home the gold however, losing out to Birds Anonymous. Which was a Merrie Melodies short, directed by Friz Freleng, and starring Sylvester and Tweety.
Now then, friends. Grab your favorite beverage and snack and enjoy One Droopy Knight!
Happy Easter, friends! What better way to celebrate than with Easter Yeggs, the classic 1947 Looney Tunes short. Although being a short starring Bugs Bunny, you can expect that the Holiday will receive a sardonic twist. Furthermore Easter Yeggs also has a link with The Burns and Allen Show radio show. By way of the legendary Mel Blanc, who performed as a similar character known as the ‘Happy Postman’!
Directed by Robert McKimson, the animated short features not just Mel Blanc but Arthur Q. Bryan as Elmer Fudd. McKimson really was a powerhouse director and animator of the day. Amassing a staggering 221 credits in his 61 years, that is just as a Director. His work in the animation department of Warner Bros. on IMDB list 131 credits!
I certainly am willing to bet my last Cadbury creme egg that you have seen many of the shorts he helped to produce. In addition to the classic Looney Tunes shorts he helmed the likes of The Pink Panther Show, The Houndcats, The Sylvester & Tweety Show, as well as Bugs Bunny’s Howl-oween Special!
Robert McKimson in addition to his work, will certainly be the subject of an upcoming Toon In Podcast in the near future. With Easter Yeggs, the animated short finds Bugs attempting to help a morose Easter Bunny. However in this case, it turns out everyone’s favorite egg deliverer is just being lazy!
Ol’ Bugs has to contend with a murderous tyke and his Family as well as Elmer Fudd. Seriously though, friends, Bugs definitely gets put through the ringer in this short. Although having said that, when Elmer shows up it is pretty much business as usual.
Enough of the synopsis and background info. Grab a handful of chocolate goodies and enjoy Easter Yeggs!
Friends, Norman Normal is a different offering for Toon In. For one thing it happened to be scored by none other than Paul Stookey. Indeed, the very same Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul, and Mary. In fact it was co-produced, co-written and even features voice work by Stookey as well. Norman Normal also is one of the lesser seen Warner Bros. animated shorts.
I mention that Norman Normal hasn’t been seen by many. That could be because it was released as a cartoon special for it’s adult sensibilities. Nothing to worry about of course in regards to language or the like. It is because it follows Norman as he basically confronts the issues of life that are weighing heavily on his mind.
Our main protagonist in Norman Normal is a ball bearing salesman. Right off the bat he shares with us, thanks to the many doors in his mind, an ethical quandary concerning his Boss. Who by the way is voiced by Stookey as well, actually most of the characters that Norman encounters are voiced by the singer-songwriter.
While his Boss wants him to land a new client by getting him to drink too much, we see that Norman Normal is thankfully of stronger morale character. Not that he isn’t finding himself confused by what is expected of him. So he decides to visit his Father to seek advice. I will naturally leave it to you to decide if he has been given sage advice or not.
Finally we get a chance to visit Norman at a company party. Where as you can probably guess, things aren’t exactly peachy-keen. On display is more of personal issues of others that they try to foist on their co-worker.
The part of Norman Normal is voiced by Dave Dixon. It really is an interesting animated short. Certainly worthy of your six minutes of time. While it was originally released on February 3, 1968 there are still powerful as well as relatable messages within it.
When I was a kid in the 1980s, my parents would go to the supermarket once a month on Saturday mornings. Having been a regular viewer of Saturday morning cartoons, this would upset me as I had to go with them and miss out on all those shows. The supermarket? Pathmark.
While there, I would spend most of my time in the toy aisle. The toys were cheap and… limited, but it was something for me to look at. However, there was one aisle I didn’t mind going down, because of how odd it looked. From front of the aisle to the rear, all I could see were white labels on soda cans, apple sauce, pet food, etc.. This was the no frills aisle. I remember this fondly as this was the go to place to get everything we needed for vacations. The no frills soda cans were a staple in the cooler for those trips. I can’t remember how the cola tasted, but I do remember how the can looked. It was like watching a Looney Tunes cartoon, but instead of Acme products, it was no frills.
Looking for baking soda, don’t look for Arm & Hammer, get BAKING SODA. Looking for cola soda, don’t look for Pepsi, get COLA. Same goes for BEER and CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP. Something about the uniformity of this aisle made me smile. Do you remember Pathmark’s No Frills products? Did you have a similar experience?