Friday, April 25, 2008

Terrytoons and Gene Deitch

I love animation. Not as much as comics, but I have favorites, too.

Let me get into Terrytoons. They are generally considered the worst of the "golden age" animation studios. I can see that. Dull characters, boring storylines, and generic animation.

There were, however, few highlights, including Jim Tyer's wacky animation, Heckle and Jeckle (which generally had better storylines), to name a few. Otherwise, they were the least progressive animation studios; their early '50s animation can be easily mistaken for their early '40s work.

However this all changed in the mid-1950s. Paul Terry sold the studio to CBS and they decided to change things up, so they hired Gene Deitch to re-imagine the studio.

Boy did he bring changes. He got rid of Mighty Mouse, Heckle & Jeckle, et al and brought in new characters, including Clint Clobber, Gaston Le Crayon, Sidney the Elephant, and, the most well-known of them all, Tom Terrific. The design work were more "modern," similar to UPA's style (Deitch was with UPA when CBS offered him a job at Terrytoons). He brought in new talents, including the then-unknown Jules Feiffer (he recieved credit as a designer in Foofle's Train Ride)

Deitch's Terrytoons work are hard to find, but here are some I found on YouTube:

Clobber's Ballet Ache

Gaston's Easel Life

The Flamboyant Arms

It's a Living

Gene Deitch writes about his Terrytoons days on his autobiography. You can read them here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I Can Understand that Deitch Got Rid of Mighty Mouse and Lil Roquefort, But I Can Not Really Understand Why He Got Rid Of Heckle and Jeckle and Gandy Goose Because they were Gerenally the Least Formaluac And Least Repetitive of the Original Terrytoons IMO and It Would Defenently Not Be Bad To See a least a Few Heckle and Jeckle and Gandy Goose cartoons under Deitch's Supervision, and Say, If deitch brought in a Dull Terrytoons charcter Such as Dinky Duck in It's a Living why could not he do at least 1 Mighty Mouse cartoon To Make Fun of that Awfully Annoying Opera Pearl Pureheart (easily the worst damsel in distress ever in cartoons along with princess peach.) Oil Can Harry formula, now that would be funny! But I Still Otherwise like the new charcter deitch tried out but it would not be that bad to blend in the prestiges deitch made with the best of the old school terrytoons like Heckle and Jeckle, still What Good Old Gene deitch did was Amazing!, He Should not have been so naive and Just tried his best and kept going, maybe he would have ousted that Moron known as Bill Weiss (He is in the same league as Sander Scwartz and Mike Eisner, Corrupt and Evil) and Stayed for a Few More Years to at least 1962, maybe then Terrytoons wouldn't have lost their original quality of animation - Asim.