Quick Thunderbean update: Willie Whopper continues to do well on Amazon – we’re barely keeping up with the orders here! The Thunderbean Thursday special set just got finished and will start going out in the next handful of days. Thank you all for your continuing support!
Now, a Halloween-sort of cartoon that didn’t make anyone’s list yet:
I know I’ve talked about it before, but one of my favorite things of many years back was going to the film collector’s shows and digging through boxes of cartoons. Things I wouldn’t give a second thought to often ended up in a ‘package’ of films. This cartoons (and this exact print) was dug out of a box of odd reels sometime around 1989 or 90. The print was pretty reddish, and I didn’t bother to actually watch it until a few weeks after I got it.
“The Case of the Kangeroo Kid” (with this misspelling in the actual title) is part of the ‘Hound for Hire- Sam Bassett, Private Eye‘ series. They appear to have been produced in 1962 and 63 by Phil Davis, an Australian cartoon producer. I wasn’t able to uncover very much information about Davis; it appears this is the only show produced by ‘Phil Davis productions’, and the series was never properly copyrighted.
This isn’t the same Phil Davis that worked with Lee Falk on the ‘Mandrake the Magician‘ comic strip. The only information I could find on the films as the studio was a reference in various Australian film studio listings.
What is clear is that the actual animation in the series was produced by Zagreb Film. This particular cartoon doesn’t list the studio in the credits, but other films in the series do. Prints in 16mm of cartoons from the series are rare to come across, but there are some out there here and there. My guess is that the series had limited distribution in the states, most likely only shown on UHF channels. I have no idea how many were made. I’ve got about 10 of them, and know of at least one more I don’t have.
They are some of the most bizarre cartoons I’ve ever seen, with this entry being the favorite. Sam Bassett, the star of the show, is a Humphrey Bogart-esque gumshoe dog, with a pistol that comes out of his hat and shoots often near the end of the films, both destroying and solving many of the cases. He’s joined by a sidekick Chihuahua named Chapultepec. He can’t talk, but he’s able to communicate (poorly) through playing his tiny guitar. Sam is left to attempt interpreting what Chapultepec is saying.
The animation is nothing to write home over, generally – but the writing of the show is off-the-wall funny when it’s not just downright confusing.
The plot of this particular episode revolves around a Kangaroo cub’s disappearance, concluding in a graveyard where ghost rabbits sing a song. This sequence really has nothing to do with the rest of the picture, of course, but somehow it seems par for the course in this world.
Enjoy- and have a good week!