What was the story behind those live action lips, super-imposed over the stiffest limited animation ever made? Clutch Cargo, Space Angel, Captain Fathom – parodied on Conan O’Brien and by Pixar, celebrated at Cartoon Dump, and burned into the brains of the Boomers of the first TV generation.
I will be spending the afternoon today co-hosting a special episode of Stu’s Show (the internet radio show hosted by Stuart Shostack), where I will be interviewing special guest Margaret Kerry. If you know anything about Ms. Kerry, I’d bet it is the fact that she was the live action reference model for Marc Davis and the Disney Studio for Tinkerbell in the early 1950s. Kerry tours the Disneyana conventions and autograph shows discussing this and signing photos of Tink. She even has a new book on the subject.
The interview Stu and I will do today will not revolve around Kerry’s visit to Never-Never Land. We will ask about the rest of her career – a career that included being in Our Gang comedies in the 1930s, on The Lone Ranger in the 1950s, co-starring with Eddie Cantor in the movies, co-starring with Charlie Ruggles on live TV, guest starring on The Andy Griffith Show (twice), and working with The Three Stooges. But most importantly – to me anyway – we will ask about her life with Dick Brown, her husband and executive producer at Cambria Productions (the Syncro-vox™ people).
Syncro-vox™ was a patented technique to create low-budget TV cartoons – more significantly, the first adventure cartoons for television. Way before Jonny Quest or The Mighty Hercules, Cambria was churning out the serialized adventures of Clutch Cargo (drawn by comic strip artist Clark Haas) and Space Angel (designed and drawn by the legendary Alex Toth, above). In case you’ve never seen Synchrovox™ – get a load of this:
The stuff of nightmares – but I loved it. I recall watching these as a kid… I didn’t care what they were saying, I couldn’t take my eyes off the mouths. Clutch Cargo was merchandised very successfully. Click thumbnails below to see some of the sales materials and merchandise:
And then there was Space Angel. My favorite. Not only beautifully drawn by Alex Toth, but the setting of outer space promised more action, adventure and visual thrills. Well, at least it promised it. Here’s a sample:
Yes, the female voices in the episode above (and below) are all Margaret Kerry (and she’s many of the lips, too!). By the time of Captain Fathom (1965, below), Syncro-vox™ had run its course.
Three adventure-heroes made it to series. But that didn’t stop Cambria from trying the technique on other subjects, creating seri-comic pilots with Doc Potts and adapting comic strip character Moon Mullins:
Please listen in today FREE at 7pm EST (4pm Pacific). After that, the interview will be archived and available for 99 cents. Click here to hear the broadcast.