Animation Trails
January 29, 2020 posted by Charles Gardner

Animation Ski Trails – 4

The great days of the theatrical short subject were becoming something of a mere memory. The small screen was taking over most of the manpower which had driven the major studios’ creativity, and, working within the confines of drastically tighter budgets, they strived to bring to the home audience something roughly resembling their former glory – often dipping back into their tried-and-true bag of tricks for plots and gag ideas. We’ll explore some of these today in a wrap-up to the subject of skiing – together with those late “modern” theatricals that still strived to be theatrical big-screen entertainment on budgets more appropriate to the small screen.

Ski Chump Champ (Hanna-Barbera (H-B Enterprises), 3/23/59) finds Huckleberry Hound in a ski race versus recurring French-Canadian villain Powerful Pierre (in an unusual blooper, Don Messick as announcer introduces him as “Powerhouse Pierre”, though he is repeatedly called “Powerful” through the rest of the cartoon.) Pierre, repeatedly described as a “top sportsman”, starts things off by “accidentally” bopping Huckleberry with his ski pole before the starting gun, driving Huckleberry into the snow. The narrator compliments Pierre’s sportsmanship, observing that Pierre apologized after clobbering his opponent. Huck still manages to pass Pierre – but Pierre jumps onto the back of Huck’s skis, breaking the fourth wall to the audience with the observation that Huck doesn’t know that he “hitchhike”. “I do too”, replies Huck, “but shuckins, maybe he’s tired.” A low branch works the reverse of Fox’s trick on Crow in Plenty Below Zero, by bopping the big guy off the skis and leaving the little one.

As Huck maintains a lead, Pierre uses a roadside phone booth for skullduggery, phoning up the next phone booth down the hill. Huck stops to answer the ring. Pierre disguises his voice as a Mademoiselle Fifi, and asks Huck to hold the phone before conversing while she answers the door. Pieere zooms past while Huck waits on hold. But a moment later, Pierre is surprised to see Huck pass him – with the whole phone booth placed on his skis so he can continue to hold while racing. Pierre topples a balancing rock above Huck, but it slingshots back from an overhanging tree limb, and cracks Pierre like an egg shell. Pierre tries rocket power – and merely smashes through a tree trunk. He tries to get rid of Huck by borrowing the I’ll Be Skiing Ya gag of twirling Huck’s skis like helicopter blades. But Pierre is so busy watching Huck take off, he skis blindly into a sawmill – and emerges in two halves which fall apart in two directions. Finally, Pierre lassos Huck with a rope tied to a public address loudspeaker pole. Pierre zooms ahead to claim victory – but is stopped just short of the finish line by the pole snapping and the loudspeaker crashing down over Pierre’s head, as Huck crosses the finish line.

Lullabye-Bye Bear (Hanna-Barbera, 9/21/59) is an early Yogi Bear installment from The Huckleberry Hound Show, in the formative days of establishing Yogi’s relationship with Ranger Smith. Yogi has determined he’s going to find out what winter’s all about by staying awake to live it up the whole season. Of course, his hibernating instincts repeatedly get the better of him. One such climactic instance has Yogi scaling a snowy summit and donning a pair of skis. As he is about to launch himself off for a downhill run, he nods off and falls asleep standing up – and slips down the hill backwards (a la Goofy), still sound asleep. Below in the valley is the ranger’s cabin. Ranger Smith catches sight of the bear coming at full speed, and avoids a collision by opening the front and back doors of the cabin to let Yogi zoom through and out. But looking out his rear window, Smith reacts with dismay,”Oh no. I was afraid of that.” Behind the cabin is another hill, on which Yogi slides partway up, stops cold, then slides forward back toward the cabin. Rather than keep opening the doors, Smith tries a different defense – barricading the back door with everything in the cabin. Unfortunately, the heavy bear is a bit more than this strategy can handle. Yogi hits and hits hard – and each wall of the cabin in turn collapses like a house of cards, with the roof dropping on Smith and his furniture inside. (Oddly, this short was selected by Cartoon Network for a mini-short remake of about three minutes, in minimally 3D “Plush-o-Vision”- a true waste of time, especially since it’s missing the best gag of the cabin collapsing.)

Ski Jump Chump was a King Features’ Popeye TV Episode from approximately 1960, produced by Larry Harmon of Bozo fame and directed by Paul Fennell. Popeye has taken Olive out for a day on the slopes, but asks her: ”Ya sure ya knows how to ski?” “How do I know? I never tried”. replies Olive. Of course, she is rescued from her first collision with a snowdrift by Bluto, who’s doubling this time as French-accented Gorgeous Pierre, champion ski jumper. “Watch me fly like ze bird”, he boasts. Popeye replies, “I hope he lays a egg like ze chicken.” Bluto performs a graceful jump, without even using his ski poles. When Popeye tries it, Bluto jacks up the end of the ski jump at an angle so Popeye will crash into it. Popeye does, but knocks the end of the structure down on Pierre. “Two can play that sneaky game as cheap as one”, Popeye retorts. Next, a ski-race is scheduled, in which Popeye and Pierre both enter. “May the best man win”, Olive shouts. In almost bored nonchalance, Pierre replies, “Oh, I will, I will.” Gags for the race become rather routine, first borrowing “Alpine Anrics”’s rope across the path gag to trip Popeye up into a tree trunk. Popeye takes his spinach early, in the form of a pop-top can of spinach juice. Bluto tries Wile E. Coyote’s old “painted tunnel” gag, with as usual our hero going clean through it while Pierre crashes. Bluto uses a bent ski-pole as a hook to draw Popeye to him, and fisticuffs ensue in a fight cloud racing downhill on skis. The pair ski into one end of a hollow log – and come out the other end carried by a sleeping bear wearing Pierre’s skis. Unable to move from the bear’s grip, Popeye complains that “This is em-bear-askin’.” They cross the finish line together – and the bear is declared the winner. Pierre cries in a tantrum, “I was robbed”, while Popete consoles, “As Napoleon said, ya can’t wins ‘em all” – and miraculously transforms into a Napoleon outfit for the fade out.

Yogi Bear’s 1961 Disguise and Gals makes unusual use of a ski jump – during the off-season. Yogi is being pursued by two bank robbers who have infiltrated the park disguised as little old ladies, with a picnic basket loaded with bank loot. Yogi of course gets up to his neck in trouble pursuing his own favorite target – the picnic basket. The chase leads to a mountain cliff, where Yogi runs out onto the framework of a “ski slide” in summer. “Without snow, I don’t wanna go”, reacts Yogi. “Hold it, ladies”, he calls to his pursuers – but, as with the two curious dogs in “Snow Time For Comedy”, they collide right into him, and all three, picnic basket and all, take the plunge down the bare wooden framework, and up into the air. As Ranger Smith peruses the crooks’ Wanted poster, Yogi and the “ladies” make a crash landing through the roof of the ranger station. The basket’s contents fly out, and the crooks flip their wigs. Yogi’s capture is a “feather in his cap” – but, as he observes in the iris out, as the expression is taken literally , “I don’t think it does a thing for me.”

Case of the Cold Storage Yegg (Lantz/Universal, Inspector Willoughby, 6/18/63, Paul J. Smith, dir.), a theatrical, perhaps deserves a place in the cartoon Guinness Book of World Records, for the longest ski jump in cartoon history (only closely followed-up by the jump without skis of kangaroo Claude Hopper from the U.S. to Tokyo in Warner’s Hop and Go (1943)). Bank robber Yeggs Benedict is pursued through the frozen Himalayas by Willoughby. Willoughby makes his capture by using to his advantage a warning sign that advises of dangers from ice cracking. Instead of waiting for a happenstance, Willoughby deliberately starts a crack in the ice, which darts forward to pursue Benedict. Cornered at a cliff edge, Benedict hides in a hollow tree trunk. The crack comes up directly under the tree cracking the trunk in two – into a neat pair of skis for Benedict to slide down the canyon wall (a reworking of the source of Popeye’s skis in I-Ski Love-Sski You-Ski). He goes soaring over moguls and disappears over the horizon. Making a few unspeakably complicated mathematical calculations on a pad, Willoughby deduces that Benedict should make Sun Valley, Idaho by 0-400 – on Thursday! He hurries to hop a plane to beat him there. Meanwhile, Benedict is on a globetrotting jaunt, seeming to hit every landmark with a slope in it to continue his journey. He slides over the back of the sphinx in Egypt and up a pyramid wall to his next destination. He tips the tower of Pisa. Twists the spire of the Eiffel Tower. Sails through the clockworks of Big Ben (carrying gears with him on his back and a clapper than bongs him on the head). Lands in the Florida everglades and is almost eaten by an alligator. Intercepts a trio of female water skiiers, then soars up a water-ski ramp to his final objective – Sun Valley, where Willoughby neatly catches him in a large sack. “Congratulations”, he tells Benedict in the bag. “You have just brought the ski championship back to our country.”

Barney’s Winter Carnival, a 1963 Snuffy Smith episode for King Features from the Paramount studio, is nominally directed by Seymour Kneitel, but appears to be entirely animated in his usual warped off-model fashion by James (Jim) Tyer. Barney Google sees dollar signs in the snow of a freak winter storm that has hit Hootin’ Holler, and plans to stage every form of winter event in a snow carnival for quick profit. He decides to test out the ski slopes with Snuffy and Jughaid, using makeshift skiing equipment including farming pitchforks as ski poles – but quickly realizes his own claims of skiing prowess are just a bluff. He tries to talk them into taking a path that is almost flat – but Jughaid points out that the hill is the other way. While Google bluffs that such a course might be too much for beginners, Snuffy gives Barney a gentle push from behind with one finger, and Barney is off. He hits a curved incline, does a double backward somersault through the air, and lands back on the summit directly behind Snuffy into the snow. “That was right comical, Google”, Snuffy laughs. Barney replies, “Well now it’s your turn!”, and with his pitchfork prods Snuffy and Jughaid down the hill. They repeat the somersault move – except while Jughaid lands on the summit, Snuffy hangs upside down from the limbs of a nearby tree. After a fade out, Barney announces that their next step is to learn how to race between flags. “Are you ready”. He asks. “No!” reply Snuffy and Jughaid in unison. “Good”, says Barney, and pushes both of them down the slope. In standard frenetic Tyer action animation, Snuffy and Jughaid take out every pole on the hill, collide with each other, and bellyflop to the bottom. “Who won?”, asks Snuffy. “Why, it’s a tie. You’ll have to do it again”, states Barney. But Snuffy and Jughaid respond by both tossing their pitchforks at him, pinning him by his arms to a nearby tree. “Sore losers”, Barney grumpily retorts.

Ski-Napper (Lantz/Universal, Chilly Willy, November, 1964 – Sid Marcus, dir.) – deals with skis but no skiing. Set at St. Moritz lodge in the Swiss Alps (with the most impressionistic of establishing shots – a mountain range suggested solely by a white line tracing the peaks, with an occasional dab of snow on top), Chilly, after a night of roughing it against the bitter cold (which freezes not only his alarm clock and stove, but even his head, into ice blocks he nonchalantly breaks with his trusty ice pick), finds he is out of coal. Time to “borrow” some from his next door neighbors at the lodge. Inside, slowpoke Smedley, badgered by the lodge’s proprietor, begrudgingly engages in the task of polishing the lodge’s ski supply in anticipation of the tourist season. But his efforts are repeatedly interrupted by Chilly barging in, first trying to steal a pail of coal, then the lodge’s entire pot-bellied stove. When Smedley interferes, Chilly comes up with a source of alternative fuel. As Smedley polishes each ski, setting it against a window to dry, Chilly nabs it from outside, and chops it with an axe into firewood. Despite some predictable chasing, Smedley is caught by the boss with the splintered ski supply, causing the boss not only to fire Smedley, but chase him around the hills tossing the fractured boards at Smedley’s head. Smedley finally takes refuge in Chilly’s igloo, while outside, Chilly gathers up all the scattered boards, then brings them into the igloo to stoke a fire. Smedley comfortably settles in with Chilly in his bed, following the motto, “If you can’t lick ‘em, join ‘em.”

The A-Tom-Inable Snowman (MGM/Chuck Jones, Tom and Jerry, 8/4/66 – Abe Levitow, dir.), finds the cat and mouse duo chasing in the Alps. (An intro scene deserves mention as a leftover which could have been included in the “Countdown to 2020″ articles – Jerry hides in an alpine lodge cuckoo clock – but when Tom manipulates the hands of the clock to force him to come out into his open mouth, Jerry replaces himself with a small bomb on the cuckoo platform, which Tom swallows – then burps smoke, as he discreetly mops his drooping lips with a handkerchief.) The credits unfold over the pair chasing on skis, with stylish change of lettering under the waves of snow left by their ski trails. Jerry skis downward into a rescue station. Tom follows, but after a scream tiptoes out on his ski points – as Jerry’s found a new friend and bodyguard in the form of a St. Bernard. Tom falls back on the old ploy from Fox and Crow’s Plenty Below Zero, placing his skis and their connected boots upside-sown in the snow to make the dog think he’s buried in a snowdrift. The dog is fooled, and finding no one under the boots, starts digging to find their owner, as if he will reach China. Jerry meanwhile is being chased around inside the rescue station. He darts out a door, but takes a quick right turn, while Tom comes barreling out – and falls off a cliff. Rolling into a snowball, he lands near where the St. Bernard is digging, the snowball flattening on the ground. The dog breaks the frozen cat out of the pancake that is the snowball, and attempts to stand the wafer-thin cat up while he opens his brandy barrel. But Tom topples – and cracks into shards as if made of ice. The dog merely sweeps the shards together, and pours a liberal dose of brandy on them. Tom materializes whole – and thoroughly pixilated. Jerry laughs heartily at Tom’s condition – but Tom’s blurred vision now sees five mice instead of one – all the more to satisfy one’s appetite. He gives stumbling chase after his rodent meal, but Jerry runs onto a frozen lake, with one hole cut in the ice. Tom’s blurred vision sees the entire lake covered with holes – so, rather than take any evasive action, he shrugs his shoulders to say “What’s the use” – and plunges right in.

Ski Sickness (Hanna-Barbera, 9/24/66), a Precious Pupp episode from the Atom Ant Show, has Precious’s master Granny Sweet entering a ski race at Suicide Slope. Granny gives her age upon registering for the race as “21 +” – that is, plus 50! Precious as usual succeeds in making enemies fast, angering race favorite Ace McGurk by bopping him with Granny’s skis, stealing McGurk’s hat, and flipping a ski pole at him so that the point hits where it hurts the most. As the race is about to start, Granny complains that the cold is chilling her chilblains. McGurk covers Granny and Precious in snow from his passing skis – so Precious joins the race to keep Granny out of trouble. Mcgurk changes signs pointing out the ski path, to send Granny toward a ravine. But Precious places a boulder in McGurk’s way to trip him up and land him upside down in the mouth of the ravine, his skis stretching across the ravine opening so that Granny crosses them as a bridge. McGurk covers Granny in snow again so she can’t see where she is going – and skis off a 2,000 foot drop. Precious follows her, carrying an umbrella, and uses the umbrella to parachute himself and Granny to safety – just over the finish line below.

Pink Streaker (DePatie-Freleng, Pink Panther, 6/27/75 – Gerry Chinitquy, dir.) is far from among the Panther’s best, and is largely a repetitious assemblage of standard gags of Mr. Big Nose getting knocked into the snow, crashing into tree trunks, jumping over chasms, and the inevitable ski jump – all tried and true tropes of the genre, which mostly fail to get the laughs. A handful of new gags bear brief mention. Pink orders hot coffee and donuts from a local stand. The coffee is frozen rock solid, and plops out of the cup onto Panther’s foot. The donut is also frozen and inedible. Pink tosses the donut over his shoulder – which of course rolls into a snowball and engulfs Big Nose on the ski slope. When the snowball comes to a stop in the middle of the ice pond, Pink uses his ski pole to trace a trap door in the side of the snowball which opens with a hinged squeak. Instead of the little man, he finds his donut – but it’s still frozen solid, so Pink tosses it away again. This time, it leaves a hole in the ice – which Big Nose immediately falls in upon exiting the snowball. Pink pulls him from the water, frozen in ice, and brings him into the ski lodge to warm in front of the fireplace. Big Nose begins to thaw – but instead of the ice sheeting away – he himself melts entirely, just like the Wicked Witch of the West. Pink looks for him under the throw-rug he was standing on, then wrings the water out of the rug itself – which drips out into the form of the little man again. Finally, in the ski-jump shot, an added touch has Pink and the little man continue their jump by skiing over the top of a passing jumbo jet.

The Ski Bunny (1975), from Hanna-Barbera’s largely non-violent mother’s-group-friendly revival of Tom and Jerry, really has no standout original gags worth mentioning, but at least tries to draw a little action out of a day in the mountains, with Tom, Jerry, and Spike (who breathes chilly puffs of steam in rhythm like he was an express train) in a bit of a competition of showing off for a seductive Southern-accented female cat who never stops gabbing and tossing around feigned compliments to get free skiing instruction, as a “poor little ol’ snow bunny”. After being led around by their noses for seven minutes by the sweet talking, and enduring many pratfalls, Tom and Jerry see the fickle bunny leaving with Spike, giving him the same old lines. They try a little retaliation by rolling a giant snowball at the pair, but it misses and rolls up a curved cliff back at them. Tom and Jerry are cornered against the wall of a chalet, but the snowball overshoots, hitting the roof instead of them. The two breathe a sigh of relief – until the roof’s entire coat of snow buries them in an avalanche for the fade out.

Road Runner’s Freeze Frame, the middle segment from Bugs Bunny’s Looney Christmas Tales (1979), returns Chuck Jones to his element – but not necessarily the Road Runner to his. Courtesy of a book, “Everything You’ve Always Wanted To Know About Roadrunners (But Were Afraid To Ask)”, Wile E. Coyote learns that Roadrunners hate snow and are easily caught in snowdrifts. By changing a few road signs, Wile E. sends Beep Beep up the wrong trail, to Snow Summit. There, among his weaponry, the coyote employs a pair of Acme jet propelled skis. They work fine until the snow depth increases, leaving Beep Beep and the Coyote continuing their chase with only the roadrunner’s tail and Wile E.’s ears visible above the snow. Beep Beep approaches three trees – and his tail feathers miraculously part as if going around the tree trunks on both sides. Wile E’s ears, however, do not part, as he crashes face first into the first tree. At the other end of the snowbank, his skis emerge and sputter to a stop, absent a rider.

In a second “skiing” gag of sorts, Wile E. Employs Porky Pig’s skiing cheat from “Alpine Antics”, sliding along upon the runners of a rocking horse steed, while using a second acme product – a Western lasso – as his weapon for roadrunner capture. Will Rogers, he is not – as his lariat gets entangled and hogties him in the saddle. The out-of-control rocking horse slides off a cliff, falling back to the desert floor far below, and landing on the rails of a railroad track. An approaching train sounds its whistle. The rocking horse springs to life, terrified, and jumps off its runners to gallop away over the horizon – leaving Wile E. alone to face the oncoming express, as he holds up a small sign reading, “Mommy”.

Popeye hits the slopes one more time, in The Ski’s the Limit (Hanna-Barbera, 9/16/78), this time without Bluto. To completely reverse things, Olive is now the skiing instructor, and Popeye the new pupil. Olive’s other protégé is Swee’pea, who on his first lesson can already ski circles around Olive. Popeye meanwhile can’t squeeze his skis and his snow parka out the skiing school door – so lifts the whole building to walk under the doorway. Swee’pea gets too enterprising, skiing in loops under a curved ledge with an accumulation of snow on top that appears about to collapse. Popeye attempts a rescue, but his resonant vocal tones start an avalanche. Olive and Swee’pea wind up in front of the oncoming snow, while Popeye catches up from behind. Olive and Swee’pea are about to run out of room at a cliff’s edge, but Popeye, having downed his spinach, spins his skis like helicopter blades (direct lift from “I’ll Be Skiing Ya”) to become airborne, then grabs a long picket fence and flings it in front of Olive, so that it forms a curved wooden ramp and shoots Olive and Swee’pea back to the waiting Popeye’s arms. The avalanche is still coming, but Popeye makes a snowball, and with spinach strength launches it uphill. It collides with a ten-pin like formation of trees and fells them, the logs forming a wall which stops the avalanche in its tracks. A pleased Swee’pea imitates Popeye’s laugh for the iris out.

Break a Leg (9/22/90), an episode of Garfield and Friends, focuses on another of Jon’s never-ending quests for a way to impress the babes – this time by hanging out in the lodge of a ski resort, full of attractive women, and spinning yarns about his skiing prowess (with the knowledge that the ski lift is out of order). Meanwhile, a chef pursues Garfield outside, but is tripped up by a sheet of ice Garfield creates from a bucket of water, and slides right into the chair lift mechanism, instantly fixing it. Jon does a spit-take with his hot cocoa, as he is now forced to carry out his boasts or lose his girl. Garfield repeatedly predicts a broken leg for Jon, and hands him a last will and testament to sign leaving everything to the cat. Jon at the last minute decides he’s not going through with it, but a sneeze from Odie behind him jolts Jon and Garfield over the crest of the summit and down the slope – with no ski poles. In a lift from Pudgy in Thrills and Chills, a tree directly in their path ahead uproots itself to leap into the air and let them pass unscathed. They fly off cliffs, ricochet off treetops, get catapulted by the chair lift ropes, and speed toward a mountain cabin.

Before impact, Garfield addresses the audience: “I’d like to say a few words about there being too much violence on cartoon shows!” They sail through the cabin’s front door, pass an old timer inside and confiscate a sandwich he is about to eat in the process, then exit out the back door. Observing the sandwich, Garfield states, “Oh, well. Might as well enjoy my last meal.” Bringing up the rear, Odie enters the cabin behind them, and steals the mattress from the old timer’s bed, which Odie uses as a toboggan to slide after the helpless skiers. Jon starts to believe he’s getting the hang of this – until he and Garfield fly off a ski jump. In a reference to the then-famous opening sequence of ABC’s Wide World of Sports, Garfield shouts, “Oh no! I’m living the agony of defeat!” But resourceful Odie zooms ahead, and manages to get the mattress underneath them for a bouncy landing into a snowdrift. Jon and Odie celebrate being alive, and even the girl is impressed, But the old timer shows up, angered that they not only stole his sandwich and his mattress – but that Jon’s flirting with his daughter! The old timer chases Jon, who runs out onto a frozen pond – with the inevitable crash. The last scene finds Jon in a local hospital – in traction with two broken legs and a broken arm. Garfield passes through the room with Odie pulling him on a dogsled, just long enough to tell Jon, “Told ya so.”

At least a couple Disney Afternoon shows also featured some skiing, albeit rather uninspired as to originality. Have Yourself a Goofy Little Christmas (12/5/92), from Goof Troop, briefly featured a bear in pursuit of the sledding cast getting sidetracked on a ski jump and skiing off same. “Snow Place to Hide” (10/22/96), from Donald Dick’s Quack Pack, mostly involved Donald dealing with his “green-eyed monster” of jealousy in the form of a fast-talking hipster wolf only Donald seems to be able to see, who keeps planting ideas in his head that Daisy is two-timing him. Donald tails Daisy as she seeks an interview with an international ski champion, which eventually leads to Donald entering a ski race to try to keep the skier from impressing Daisy with a trophy. Vainglorious reporter Kent Powers also enters the race in hopes of beating Daisy to her scoop interview. The three contestants engage in the usual downhill hijinks, but while racing/colliding in neck-and-neck fashion, all three are passed by a masked skier who takes the trophy. Daisy herself. Donald winds up in traction – and so does his jealousy monster, whom Donald finally defeats by painfully trapping him in a half-Nelson in his hospital bed.

Timon and Pumbaa’s Swiss-Missed (9/29/95) has been briefly reviewed in part 4 of my Countdown to 2020 articles on this website. While searching for the village clockkeeper whom Timon and Pumbaa have improperly talked into dodging his duties in favor of their “Hakuna Mutata” philosophy, Pumbaa dons a pair of skis, with Timon riding him “piggyback”. The clockkeeper, and a ‘ski bunny” he’s met and decided to marry, join Timon and Pumbaa for a brief but frantic ski race to reach and repair the village clock before the appointed hour of twelve. A few good gags are included in the sequence. Timon crashes headfirst Into two trees, knocking a chunk out of the mid-section of each tree-trunk. He passes a third tree without collision – but slams on the brakes, slides backwards up the hill, and shifts into forward gear again to plow into and take care of the tree trunk he missed. The pair encounter a bear relaxing in a hot tub – upsetting the tub from its heating element so that its water freezes into a large ice cube and klunks the bear. The clockkeeper and his intended ski through the door of a chapel, with Timon and Pumbaa following. The couple emerge from the back door in tuxedo and bridal veil, with strains of the wedding march heard on the soundtrack, while Timon and Pumbaa emerge dressed in bridesmaid’s gowns, complaining “Always a bridesmaid…Never a bride.” The four hit a slope and wind up riding on each other’s shoulders (a borrow from ‘Alpine Antics”), jumping off a cliff to land directly in the clock tower.

Several television cartoons and at least one theatrical were unavailable for internet review, a few of which definitely involved skiing, and others whose titles potentially suggest a connection. Sno’Ball Magoo apparently involves another ski trip for Mister Magoo, this time accompanied by his Asiatic stereotype houseboy Cholly. Bozo the Clown’s episodes include at least one confirmed title on the subject, Ski Lodge Hodge Podge (which to my recollection may have focused on a subsidiary character, Ali Kaht), and the additional Bozo’s Icy Escapade and Mill Pond Thrill Chill. I believe one of these got Bozo on skis, possibly pursued by either Big Shorty and Short Biggy or Slippery Bly, International Spy. Dick Tracy’s episodes include Snow Job, its precise subject matter unknown. Sadcat at Terrytoons, during the period of appearances by his “super alter-ego”, included the theatrical, The Abominable Mountaineers (9/1/68) – whether this was strictly mountain climbing or skiing too, I do not recall. Bonkers Bobcat, in the Raw Toonage days, included an episode called Ski Patrol with Bonkers in charge of rescues on the slopes. There’s no doubt other late ones I’ve missed – James Parten recently indicated to me that there was even a skiing episode in Hanna Barbera’s Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kids, which, on general principles alone, I refused to take the time to review. Your input on any of these latecomers is, as always, welcome.

We’ve reached the foot of the mountain, and an early thaw is setting in. We’ll set our sights on warmer pastimes for our next installment. Till then, chill.


  • “Please don’t talk about the Flintstone boy. He’s all right with me.
    Please don’t talk about the Flintstone boy. He’s all right with me.
    Please don’t worry ’bout the Flintstone boy. He got trouble, but he ain’t got joy.
    Please don’t talk about the Flintstone boy. Please don’t talk about the Flintstone boy.
    Don’t you worry, he’s all right with me.” — Elton John, “Flintstone Boy” (1978)

    Sir Elton’s injunction notwithstanding, I feel compelled to talk about the Flintstone boy, as well as his bosom buddy and lifelong pal, both of whom are more than just all right with me. You omitted to mention it, but they figure in one of the great skiing cartoons of the sixties, “Here’s Snow in Your Eyes” (Season 3, Episode 6, 19/10/62). Even after all these years, it still makes me laugh.

    Fred and Barney are delegates to a Water Buffalo convention held at the posh Stone Mountain ski resort, but the lodge’s treasury lacks sufficient funds for them to bring their wives along. Wilma and Betty settle down for a quiet weekend watching TV, when they learn that a beauty contest is being held at the resort; and, feeling that their husbands bear watching under the circumstances, they purloin their household emergency fund and head to Stone Mountain in disguise, where the organisers immediately mistake them for contestants.

    Meanwhile, a maid and a butler have stolen a valuable diamond and have come to Stone Mountain to hand it over to a fence, whom they only know as a “short, blond gentleman” who will give them the password “Slalom”. Mistaking Barney for the fence, the maid repeatedly says “Slalom!” to him, which confuses him until Fred deduces that the word must be a mountain greeting. The next time Barney sees the maid, he greets her in kind and receives the diamond. Soon after, the real fence arrives, the crooks quickly figure out what went wrong; and when Barney, innocently trying to return the diamond, overhears their conversation, he knows he and Fred are in big trouble.

    There follows a climactic ski chase, with Fred and Barney on one ski and the three crooks on another, that must have taxed the studio’s limited animation resources (though the rip-roaring comic chase music helps greatly). When the skiers are about to go over a cliff, quick-thinking Barney grabs a tree branch and the boys swing to a safe stop, while the crooks soar off the edge and are trapped when their ski is embedded in the opposite wall of the canyon. A cop comes along and hails the boys as heroes for nabbing the thieves and recovering the diamond.

    By this time Wilma and Betty have caught bad colds from parading around in the snow in their bikinis with the beauty contestants; they hurry home and doff their disguises with moments to spare. Fred tells Wilma how much he missed her, and then he announces that he and Barney want to spend the reward money on a treat for the girls — a fun weekend at the Stone Mountain ski resort! Hoo boy….

    What I like about this episode is that, for once, the boys are honest, trustworthy and blameless of any wrongdoing. It is the girls who are sneaky and suspicious, who engage in deception and subterfuge and have to suffer the consequences. In Fred’s immortal words (from “The Happy Household”): “I hope all you wives out there are taking notes!”

    “Here’s Snow in Your Eyes” was written by prolific television writer Joanna Lee, who also gave us such memorable Flintstones episodes as “The Twitch”, “Hawaiian Escapade”, “Fred el Terrifico”, “No Biz Like Show Biz”, and “The Great Gazoo”. Many of her scripts take a wryly cynical view of show business, and a number of them deal with beauty contests, for example the Gilligan’s Island episode “Beauty Is As Beauty Does”. I don’t know for certain whether she was ever a contestant herself; but she was a very beautiful woman, and her emphasis here on the discomfort, cattiness and sheer hard work of the pageant scene seems to indicate an insider’s perspective. Slalom, Joanna! Slalom, everybody!

    • I agree, its the manic music that ‘makes’ that skiing scene!

    • Your description of the Flintstone episode reopens visual memories of seeing it back on Channel 11 in Los Angeles in my youth. It wasn’t a common screening then, and I haven’t seen it since. Somehow it didn’t pop out at me from brief online synopses on the internet – and your clues from last week fooled Jerry, too, who I asked for an opinion. It sounded like a Hanna-Barbera setup – but we just couldn’t recall from where. Thanks for stumping the experts.

  • Also, Felix the Cat, “Ski Jump Contest”, (Oriolo, 1960), where Felix, and his two usual rivals, Professor and Rock Bottom, compete, with Felix always in the lead, though having to duck under a ledge for the usual cliffhanger commercial break, and then, in the end, winning. THe crooks do everything in their power to stop him, but faill.Agreed on Joanna Lee. Paul!

  • The Simpsons go skiing in “Little Big Mom”, where Homer gets distracted by Ned Flanders showing off his skin-tight skiing suit. (“Feels like I’m wearing nothing at all!… nothing at all!… nothing at all!”) When he accidentally goes down one of the toughest runs, he tries to remember his instructor’s advice, but all he can think of is “Stupid sexy Flanders” wiggling his butt at him, and ends up hitting the moguls crotch first.

    “Xmas Story”, from Matt Groening’s other series Futurama, begins with the main cast at a ski resort. Fry goes skiing with Leela and discovers that ski runs in the year 3000 have retractable trees that go down when you say “Trees Down”; he then accidentally says “Trees up” and the trees pop up again and hit him. Meanwhile, Prof. Farnsworth does spectacular ski tricks and wins a contest… all while fast asleep.

    The first Ice Age movie has Sid the sloth using split hollow logs as skis to escape the sabretooths. When he loses one, he uses the other like a snowboard.

    • I love that Simpson’s gag – my brother lived for a time on Flanders Street, that will be forever known as ‘Stupid Sexy Flanders Street’!!

  • The Ski Trails were simply luscious….i thank you. Had you included that great Fox & Crow, 1943, “Plenty Below Zero!”??

    • “Plenty Below Zero”, with a text imbed to the cartoon, was reviewed in depth in Part 2 of this series of articles. You must have missed a week, so look into it.

  • What’s really funny is to watch the Snuffy Smith cartoons that Jim Tyer did at 2x speed (example: if you have Media Player Classic/Home Cinema… press the increase speed button once).

    Especially “Snuffy’s Brush With Fame” is just jaw dropping. It’s like Tyer’s animation was made to go faster… it looks so fluid sped up.

    Watch any non-Tyer Paramount Snuffy Smith and it still all looks stiff.

  • …you probably need to capture the videos off of Youtube first before you can speed them up (check out the 3D YouTube Downloader program).

  • “Here Comes the Grump”, by far the trippiest of the DePatie/Freleng cartoons, had a ski chase in “S’No Land Like Snow Land” (7/3/70). As Princess Dawn, Terry and Bip are flying their balloon-car over an icy landscape, the Grump fires an icicle missile that punctures the balloon and forces a crash landing. The trio find themselves in a land inhabited by living snowmen (including one “abominable” snowman who turns out to be a nice guy once you get to know him). The friendly snowmen equip the balloon-car with skis to enable it to travel overland over the snow, and direct our heroes to the icicle bridge that will take them to the Warm Lands. And off they go through the snow.

    But wait — here comes the Grump in hot pursuit, and his dragon is on skis! (Why does he need skis? He’s a dragon! He can fly!) Grump and dragon gain on our heroes as they traverse the treacherous icicle bridge. Once on the opposite side, however, Terry takes out his trusty pepper shaker and blows a cloud of the pungent spice into the balloon-car’s wake. The dragon inhales a snootful and discharges a fiery sneeze that melts the icicle bridge and sends dragon and Grump plummeting into the abyss. (Why do they have to plummet? THE DRAGON… CAN… FLY!!!!!)

  • Seeing “Freeze Frame” again brought back some tough memories. I was fired by Chuck Jones (actually Mary Roscoe) for animating a long shot of the road runner with his legs showing, and not the traditional egg beater blur! I animated the scene where the coyote changes signs, then the next shot was my fatal swan song with Chuck Jones Productions. (However, they used most of the coyote part of the shot that I did, just changed the road runner’s legs to a blur.) What fooled me with Chuck’s direction on the sheets for this shot was that he allowed such a long time for the bird to run though the layout. It seemed to me Chuck intended for the road runner to just be loping along, so therefore I showed his legs. I was told by Mary Roscoe that I cost the production a lot of money in re-take costs and showed me the door. This cartoon was animated at the old Sunset-Vine tower. Thus ended my brief stay at Chuck’s studio (free-lance of course). I also animated on the Raggedy Ann “Pumpkin that Couldn’t Smile” program, and there I volunteered to fix some timing issues and did them without extra pay.

    • I remember you telling this account years back and now it pains me to watch “Freeze Frame” these days knowing you got fired for that.

  • I haven’t seen a Snuffy Smith cartoon since at least 1970!

  • Skiing figures in a Season 2 episode of Winx Club, “The First Charmix”. Infighting and lack of cooperation among the Winx has allowed the third piece of the Codex to fall into the hands of Lord Darkar; if he gets all four pieces, he can use it to unlock the portal to the Realm of Relix and obtain the Ultimate Power, so there’s a lot at stake. To avert this catastrophe, Headmistress Faragonda assigns the girls to a team-building exercise — on a skiing holiday in the Resort Realm! (What could fairies possibly gain by skiing? They’re fairies! They can FLY! Ah, but as Miss Faragonda points out, their magic won’t work in the Resort Realm.)

    So, wearing stylish new ski outfits designed by the fashionable Stella, the Winx girls hit the slopes; and after an invigorating day of schussing and slaloming and whatnot, they take an aerial tram to the highest slope in the resort. While high above the valley, however, the cable car gets caught on a snag; worse, the cable begins to fray and is imminent danger of breaking. Without their powers, the girls start to panic. But Bloom takes charge, and gets her friends to work together to build a makeshift hang glider out of their skis, ski poles and jackets, which they use to glide to safety just before the cable snaps and the tram car falls to earth.

    For her leadership and bravery, Bloom receives her Charmix, the first level of advanced magical power. The other Winx also receive their Charmix in short order, and they ultimately use a Charmix Convergence to defeat Lord Darkar once and for all. Thus the magical universe is saved because of that ski trip: an altogether more desirable outcome than all the frostbite, broken bones and herpes that most people seem to bring home from the snowfields.

  • What a great article, Charles! Have you ever considered doing one on “meta-toons?” Like the silent Mutt & Jeff “On Strike,” “Porky’s Preview,” “Duck Amuck/Rabbit Rampage,” “Cartoons Ain’t Human,” “The Power of Thought”… you get the idea. Either cartoons-within-cartoons, or the characters being aware that they are cartoon characters operating within a cartoon, and playing with the laws (or lack thereof) of being so. Maybe even mention the TV short, “Don’t Touch That Dial” from MIGHTY MOUSE: THE NEW ADVENTURES as a coda. Or has there already been such an article here?…

  • You forgot the Nelvana Care Bears episode “Ski Trouble”(1988) in which Bright Heart Raccoon goes skiing alone and almost gets caught by Beastly and Shreeky.

  • And then there’s the Tennessee Tuxedo episode “Snow Go” (12/12/64). When Tennessee see a TV report on the popularity of skiing, he decides to make his fortune by converting the zoo’s biggest hill into a ski resort. The trouble is, it never snows in Megapolis (although it did in the Christmas episode), so he needs to cover the slope with an alternative substance that’s just as slippery. Tennessee and Chumley proceed to steal every refrigerator in the zoo for their ice cubes; then they steal the ice cream machines from the refreshment stands; and finally they steal all the barrels of grease from the zoo’s garage, each time incurring the wrath of Stanley Livingston, who wants everything in apple-pie order for the Mayor’s inspection.

    Undeterred, penguin and walrus go to see Mr. Whoopee, who explains how artificial snow is made. He also has a friend who owns a snow machine and can help them. In the final scene Tennessee and Chumley are skiing with vigour and seem to have made a success of the venture, until Livingston and the Mayor climb the far side of the hill to the summit, slip on the snow and tumble down the slope. It all ends badly for everyone. What a shame! A ski resort in a zoo — now that’s real outside-the-box thinking.

  • An episode of the anime series School Rumble (“Dream Jumbo. Dream Jump. Dream Express”, Season 2, episode 23, 3/9/06) has a winter sports theme. It opens with a Zen koan-like epigram: “Figure skating is a spectacle on the ice. So is mogul skiing a combat sport over the snow?” Applaud yourself with one hand clapping if you can come up with an answer.

    Our heroine Tenma Tsukamoto, noting with concern that she has put on weight over the New Year’s holiday, is thrilled to be invited on a ski trip with her friends Eri, Mikoto and Akira. It turns out that the normally clumsy scatterbrain is a surprisingly good skier, negotiating the most difficult runs with aplomb. A host of male admirers gather around her, which she enjoys since her unrequited crush Karasuma is back home in the city. But wait — here he is, is a snowman costume, working at the ski resort as a mascot.

    Eri conceives a plan for Tenma to gain Karasuma’s attention: the four girls will go over the ski jump and spell out the kanji for “I love you” with their bodies in midair. But the maneuver goes awry, and when they crash into the snow their bodies spell out the kanji for “Futo sugi” (you’re too fat). Karasuma takes the criticism to heart, noting that he, too, has overeaten during the holidays; so off he goes on skis to burn off some calories, his body spelling the word “Arigatou” (thank you) in katakana as a parting gesture.

  • As befits a cartoon set in the rugged snowy North, there are a couple of instances of skiing in TTV’s “Klondike Kat”. As with practically everything Klondike does, both of them happen by accident.

    The first episode, “Honor at Steak” (10/9/66), begins with Klondike Kat and Major Minor discussing the crimes of Savoir-Faire over dinner at a steakhouse, when the ubiquitous thief steals their meal right out from under their noses. As he and his trusty sidekick Malamutt speed away with the food, Klondike gives chase via dogsled. Once they have gained a lead, Savoir-Faire and Malamutt build a fake railway crossing as a delaying tactic; and when Klondike realises he’s been tricked, he charges furiously through the crossing, breaking the barrier gate in two. He lands with his feet on the two halves of the gate, and suddenly they are whisking him through the wilderness like skis.

    Ultimately he crashes at a finish line, with Savoir-Faire, in top hat, tails and a false handlebar mustache, in the judge’s stand. “To ze greatest skier in all of ze Klondike, zis handsome trophy!” he proclaims, handing Klondike a large golden cup. But just as Klondike is about to thank him, Savoir-Faire shoves the cup over the cat’s head, strikes it with a hammer to ring it like a bell, then pulls a lever that causes a large boxing glove on a spring to pop out of the judge’s stand and punch Klondike in the stomach. The impact sends him careening downhill again, until he hits a pine tree so hard he knocks all of its needles off. Fortunately the trophy on his noggin spares him from the sad fate of Sonny Bono. He sets out after Savoir-Faire again, this time without skis, and eventually, as he always does, gets his mouse.

    In “Cream Puff Buff” (5/11/66), Major Minor assigns Klondike to go to a Swiss bakery and buy a dozen cream puffs for the visiting governor. While the cat waits at the counter, Savoir-Faire drills holes through the floorboards from beneath and attaches hooks to Klondike’s snowshoes. Once the Mountie is held fast, Savoir-Faire takes the cream puffs, and he and Malamutt head for the hills. Enraged, Klondike struggles until he pulls the planks out of the floor; then, using them as skis, he set off in hot pursuit. But Savoir-Faire and Malamutt quickly build a wooden ski jump, which sends the hapless lawman soaring through the air until he lands upside-down over a narrow chasm, his skis bridging its two sides. Offering help, Savoir-Faire throws him a rope from below and promises to pull him down to safety. But as Malamutt turns the winch, Klondike’s skis bend and buckle under the pressure; Savoir-Faire cuts the rope, and the cat is catapulted into the distance. Malamutt sets up the dining tent to that his master can enjoy the cream puffs in elegant comfort. But then Klondike, in a blind rage, skis straight into the tent and drags it — crooks, cream puffs and all — back to Fort Frazzle, where Major Minor and the governor are awaiting the dainty delicacies.

    Given the constraints of limited animation in the sixties, the visual gags in these cartoons are really quite elaborate.

    Klondike Kat also does quite a lot of water skiing in “The Island Hideout” (18/11/67) — it must be one of those geothermal lakes that never freeze over — but I think that’s beyond the purview of this Animation Trail. Looking forward to the next one!

  • Fans of ’80s cartoons may remember the skiing episode of Jem, “The Last Resorts” (30/8/86). The owners of two rival ski resorts, the kindly Mr. Franklin and the nefarious villain Eric Raymond, place a winner-take-all wager for total control of the mountain (and its silver deposits) on the outcome of a ski race between the Holograms and the Misfits. Who will win? Who cares?

    • Just in case anybody does care, the Misfits win the ski race, by cheating on a scale that can only be described as “truly outrageous”. It all works out in the end, of course, because it’s an ’80s cartoon that has to beat us half to death with its messages. “Hey, kids! Don’t cheat at sports! Say no to drugs! Buy our product!” I hated the eighties.

      • Well, I hate the fact that you hate morality and people like you are also just as toxic as the people that were successful in banning cartoons because those hypocrites have ruined an entire generation of people.

        • JAL11180, eh? I think I flew to Tokyo on that flight once. You were a lot nicer then.

  • For a more contemporary example, there is a skiing episode of “Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!” (2016), the latest (and by far the funniest) incarnation of the franchise. The meddlesome mystery-solvers arrive at a ski resort prepared for fun, only to find that there is a Snow Monster (resembling the creepy snowman in the Michael Keaton movie “Jack Frost”) terrorising the place and scaring the tourists away. There are several chase sequences on skis, snowboards and toboggans, but best of all is when Shaggy and Scooby put on a “Frozen”-style musical number to throw the monster off their trail. The villain, unmasked, turns out to be a professional snowboarder angry that tourists have come to infest slopes that were once a training ground for elite athletes.

    “Scooby-Doo” doesn’t seem to get much respect on Cartoon Research; the 50th anniversary of the franchise came and went last year without so much as an acknowledgment. I admit that it started out mediocre and quickly went downhill from there; but the two 21st-century reboots produced by Warner Bros. Animation, Mystery Incorporated and Be Cool, are wonderfully clever. And then there’s Frank Welker’s brilliant voice acting. I never would have said this when I was young, but I hope those meddling kids and their big slobbering dog will be around for a long time to come.

  • One might expect a Canadian-German-Swedish co-production of an animated TV series to have at least one skiing episode, and on that count “Pippi Longstocking” (1998) delivers.

    In episode 8, “Pippi Enters the Big Race”, Pippi answers her theme song’s question “What shall I do today?” by teaching her horse to ski jump from the roof of her house. The animal executes the maneuver successfully; but because Pippi never taught it how to stop, it continues skiing off into the distance, with Pippi skiing along behind on her big clunky boots. The horse joins up with, and wins, a local ski race, but is disqualified for being a horse; so runner-up Pippi wins the prize and becomes eligible for entry in the big national ski race. Wearing a proper set of skis this time — and in spite of starting late, not taking the whole thing seriously, and pausing to tell an irrelevant story about “Hurry Up Hernandez”, the fastest man in Mexico — she wins, because if there’s one thing about Pippi, she always comes out on top.

    Now, a race between Hurry Up Hernandez, Speedy Gonzalez, and Go Go Gomez — that’s a cartoon I’d definitely watch.

  • “Board and Sorcery” (DiC/Archie, Sabrina the Animated Series, 18/11/99) takes place at a winter ski resort. When Slugloaf the bully challenges Sabrina’s boyfriend Harvey to a downhill race, skis vs. snowboard, the preteen witch tries to help by casting a spell to make Harvey “one with the snow”. Unfortunately it transforms him into a living snowman….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *