It has certainly been a while since the last Toon In offering, friends. You might have thought we’ve dropped into The Hole perhaps? I have definitely missed sharing what I believed to be worthy animated shorts of course. However it was getting a little discouraging to constantly find the subjects of the posts getting yanked. Especially when they are Academy Award winning shorts like in the case of 1962’s The Hole!
The Hole was written by Faith and John Hubley. While some say they also animated the short I have in fact found sites that claim it was Bill Littlejohn as well as Gary Mooney. For the Hubley’s legendary animation studio, Storyboard Studios, of course. If that studio sounds familiar it might be because you remember their work on The Electric Company!
Nanto Vision 1
By the way, Littlejohn also worked on the likes of 1965’s A Charlie Brown Christmas and other Peanuts TV specials. With Mooney being involved with Jay Ward’s George of the Jungle and Underdog to name just a few of the projects they had a hand in. Furthermore the animation for the short is rather different for the time. Instead of animation cells the short was shot using watercolors on paper.
Certainly giving it a very unique look I would say.
Also of note are the voice actors that were hired for The Hole. None other than George Mathews (Gunfight at the O.K. Corral). And the iconic jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie. Furthermore the dialogue in the short film was improvised. Which indeed suits the two characters quite well.
In The Hole we listen to two construction workers talk about a myriad of subjects. Dirty dishes, citizenship, dancing, Saints, as well as nuclear war. It’s an enjoyable short to say the very least. The humor coming not from hijinks but ‘real life’ conversations between two co-workers. It also feels incredibly timeless. Which is probably why the Academy Film Archive preserved it in 2003. With the Library of Congress inducting it in the National Film Registry in 2013!
You have a little information on The Hole now, friends. So set aside fifteen minutes of your time and enjoy the short.
Here on Toon In we have shared the work of John Hubley before. Back in February of 2016, the Oscar nominated short Rooty Toot Toot. It’s a little lighter than The Hole and also worthy of your time.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
So please Toon In with UPA’s The Fox and The Crow’s Robin Hoodlum!
This archery tournament is going to take a while.