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: Robin Hoodlum (1948)

Welcome back friends to another dose of Toon In, that part of the week where we can shine the spotlight on an animated short or classic cartoon worthy of your attention. This week we have a 1948 offering from the Fox and the Crow UPA Oscar nominated short entitled “Robin Hoodlum”.

The celebrated UPA animation studio turns out to have come about because of the strike in 1941 by the Walt Disney Studios animation department. When a majority did not return to the animation department, like layout artist John Hubley (Dumbo, Bambi), they found an open door with the Industrial Film and Poster Service in 1943. IFPS would become UPA and found itself securing a contract, one that was highly sought after, with Columbia Pictures. The first work the company produced was for Columbia’s the Fox and the Crow characters, which had originally been created by Screen Gems and they delivered 1948’s Robin Hoodlum, a delightful short that shows us that things in Sherwood Forest weren’t exactly as we were told.

Fox and Crow - UPA

So please Toon In with UPA’s The Fox and The Crow’s Robin Hoodlum!

This archery tournament is going to take a while.