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KF Animation Editor
Location: Tasmania
Birthday: August 27
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TV Series (156)
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Reviews for Theatrical Short

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animated cartoon The Hollywood Matador © Walter Lantz Productions
The Hollywood Matador
Rated it: 1.5
posted: Oct 16, 2015
This is Walter Lantz's first Woody Woodpecker short after having lost Mel Blanc - if you don't count the Swing Symphonies '$21 a Day', in which Woody had a non speaking part.

It's not an auspicious beginning to this incarnation. Surprisingly this has little to do with Ben Hardaway's voice work - what little there is of it is decent enough - and everything to do with the uninteresting concept and writing. I can only assume Walter was unsure of giving Hardaway too much to do, and therefore resorted to a mainly visual story involving a bullfight.

Problem is, every classic cartoon character seems to end up in a bullfight cartoon at some point in their career. It's an uninteresting concept, and this
particular version does nothing to distinguish itself. It has nothing of the frenetic, if somewhat directionless energy of the first few Woody shorts. Fortunately it was only a hiccup. Woody's next appearance, in his first 'war-time' cartoon 'Ace in the Hole' was pretty much back on the tracks.


animated cartoon I Yam What I Yam © Fleischer Studios
I Yam What I Yam
Rated it: 2
posted: Feb 15, 2015
I don't really have much to add to Starlac's review of this relentlessly rhythmic very early Popeye short - I basically fully agree with it, and suggest you read it.

Popeye, Olive and Wimpy (in his first appearance) are rowing a dinghy (actually Olive does all the rowing) which eventually fetches up on the shores of the New World - which raises the question of where they were rowing FROM. However it provides the pretext for the trio to be continually attacked by 'Indians'. This in turn provides the excuse for two punning sight gags. In the first Popeye clobbers a bunch of Indians who, flung to the ground, turn into 5c coins. This was baffling to an Australian, until I learned that dimes featured an 'Indian head' between 1913 and 1938. It still doesn't quite explain the gag, though. The second features an excruciating pun,when the chief of the Indians attacks Popeye, is clobbered, and sheds his disguise, revealing himself to be Mahatma Ghandi - an Indian, get it? Ghandi had been in the news a little before for 'leading the Indians' on the famous 'salt march'.

Popeye really came into his own two years later when the muttering, inspired ad-libbing Jack Mercer took over from Billy Costello, who was sacked for allegedly being 'difficult to work with' and for 'bad behaviour'. Ironically, for behaving like Popeye, I suppose.


animated cartoon Wolf Hounded © Hanna-Barbera
Wolf Hounded
Rated it: 2
posted: Oct 19, 2014

I'm tempted to give this an extra half star, as it was Loopy's first appearance, but for reasons which will become apparent soon, I thought I'd best leave it at 2.

I don't think any Loopy shorts have been reviewed, perhaps a short intro is in order.

'Loopy de Loop' was the title character of Hanna-Barbera's first and only venture into the realm of theatrical shorts, his run lasting for six years. He was also very nearly HB's first character, period, but I believe Yogi Bear beat him to air by a year in 1958.

Sporting a French-Canadian accent ('Loopy' from 'Loup', of course), Loopy's schtick is that he is always 'kind, considerate and charming' - despite his inevitably being met with hatred, outrage and misunderstanding by everyone he encounters. It struck me tonight that in this he is slightly reminiscent of Pepe le Pew - also French and misunderstood - but I think it's fair to say that Pepe's intentions are seldom as altruistic as Loopy's, nor does he generally suffer greatly as a result of them, whereas Loopy is so regularly beaten up, chased, yelled at and generally berated that I'd like to have seen him crack up in one episode and attack someone, since that is what everyone persecutes him for doing. But no, he remains heroically true to his mission, to disabuse humanity of its evil image of wolves.

This is the very first Loopy short, and introduces a character which is, to be honest probably more loveable than most of the stories he finds himself in. Loopy re-tells the 'Little Red Red Riding Hood' story (conflating it with 'The Three Little Pigs',) who he describes as juvenile deliquents. His attempts to do the right thing end up with predictably catastrophic results, though being his first appearance, people would not have learned the rolling-gag yet. And he does, at least this time, earn an admirer, however unwanted

This is not a particularly good debut, and later episodes were often better, though it has to be said few really rose above 'pretty good'. It's more a case of enjoying the character. The animation in particular, in this first outing is horribly basic for a theatrical short. HB's team can't even be bothered making the sky blue (in early episodes its a monotone sepia. Blue sky and clouds would appear a little while later), and in this particular short they can't even seem to afford to bother with things like the ground or horizon: trees seem to float in sepia mid-air. This would actually improve surprisingly quickly, and only the very early shorts suffer like this (Starlac, BTW, is apparently profiling these in order. The four Loopy shorts in our database so far are the first four released).

Hanna-Barbera were responsible for some abominations, particularly by the early 80's - but Loopy isn't one of them. He was misunderstood as a character, and orphaned as a cartoon star, though the shorts were syndicated as a TV series in 1969. If you like him, you'll probably like all the shorts to some extent. If you don't, there's not much else to chew on.

Loop (no, I'm not named after him: they just had the same idea I did)

animated cartoon Lucky Ducky © Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Lucky Ducky
Rated it: 3
posted: May 20, 2013
Avery meets Freud. Two dogs (a father and son who look like a cross between Droopy and Goofy) are preparing to duck-hunt. The ducks of course know exactly what time the season starts and ends, andů this is really peripheral.

They wing a mother duck. Her egg falls onto the boat and hatches. The hatchling is disturbingly sensual and seductively feminine, even doing a strip-tease with her shell.. The father and son try to kill (him/her); they stick their obviously phallic shotguns into the water and shoot, to no effect. The duckling screws up through the bottom of the boat. The guys ejaculate through their ears. The younger male sticks his cock/rifle down through the orifice in the bottom of the boat; the duckling clamps the muzzle with a peg, rendering it impotent. The father touches it: it explodes.

More impotency ensues as son tries to start outboard motor without success. Loads of good sight gags follow, from Mt Rushmore, School Crossing to the wonderful running out of technicolor into b/w (shades of running off the edge of the frame). Then a magic, phallic tree sprouts; the father uses the son to try to cut it down; the son rebels.

Other than that, good Tex Avery.


animated cartoon Bad Luck Blackie © Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Bad Luck Blackie
Rated it: 3
posted: May 19, 2013
I find myself so much in agreement with the previous reviewer, in terms of just about everything, including his rating, that I wonder if I shouldn't merely write 'see above', or merely give a rating without a written review.

I'll try to justify this excursion into 'ibid', however fractionally.

To me this short rings bells not merely with MGM and Avery cartoons, but with (yes, you probably see this coming) the 'Spy vs Spy' format of Warner shorts. More expressly the prey thwarts the predator; the herbivore thwarts the carnivore; the smart little guy beats the dumb big guy.

This has been so done to death so predictably that I just wish a wolf would kill a sheep for once. Well, at least here the whole cast are predators: two feline, one canine - but in the end it's still the Tweetie effect: the weakest character triumphs.

That being said, I enjoy Avery's Bren-gun sight-gags and edgier narrative somewhat more than I enjoy the average WB analog from the same era. Avery always gives the impression that he's in danger of really running amuck, rather than contriving a cleverly controlled opus ala Chuck Jones. Maybe it's a Beatles vs Stones thing. Ironically I like The Kinks.

When I stumbled across this cartoon in my WB vol whatever, I remembered Disney's 'Black Pete', and how he was revised over the years into the same sort of denial as 'Song of the South'. Is Bad Luck 'Blackie' a similar figure?

No, not really. He's just a black cat, far as I can see.


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