Thursday, February 24, 2011

Snuffy's Song / The Method and Maw / The Hat

I have to admit that the made-for-TV cartoon adaptations of King Features comics (Beetle Bailey, Krazy Kat, Snuffy Smith) leave alot to be desired. The animation quality varies due to it being contracted out to several places all over the world but they were generally shoddy. And the script-work wasn't exactly the best in the business.

That said, there are interesting things about them. The voice acting were great, with guys like Paul Frees, June Foray, Howie Morris, etc. doing a good job. Visually the Gene Deitch-directed Krazy Kat cartoons remained faithful to the comic (even with Deitch redesigning the characters) although the scripts that producer Al Brodax handled completely misunderstood the Herriman comics.

The Snuffy Smith cartoons is generally agreed to be the weakest, although several of them benefits from being animated by Jim Tyer, the only animator I know of who can make even the lamest of all cartoons look interesting, despite the limited animation.

Then there's this, which I didn't even notice until somebody pointed out at Cartoon Brew. Apparently the first three episodes formed a storyline with Barney, Snuffy, and Loweezy being stuck in the big city after one of Barney's crazy scheme failed. "Snuffy's Song" featured the trio going to the city in order to make Snuffy a singing star, while parts 2 and 3 ("The Method and Maw" and "The Hat" respectively) features them stuck in the city and trying to return home.

While they were created for television Paramount Pictures decided to release them to theaters one year before that, and as a result this ended up being the only time a multi-part storyline was done in theatrically-released animated shorts. Unfortunately there's a reason why most cartoon shorts were stand-alone: they liked to run the cartoons out of order. "Snuffy's Song" and "The Hat", parts 1 and 3, were released in June 1962. The second part, "The Method and Maw", didn't come out until October, four months later.

I presume that some TV stations ran the shorts in correct order, but who knows. Unlike most multi-part cartoon storylines, though, these three were made so that it can work as stand-alone shorts, so this probably didn't matter much.

But whatever's the case here are the three in chronological order:


Anonymous said...

Hello, Brubaker, Will You Be Posting More Paramount Cartoons (e.g the two swifty and shorty cartoons off your camera, can't wait to see those) At the Meantime, You Haven't Posted Anything in a While, I've Noticed You've been very busy, i guess.


Pokey said...

I always liked these..:)

Of course, the top scene's "Seymour Stereo" refers to director Kneitel.."Great balls of fire" indeed. Steve