It was another show that almost was.
Back in 1961 Herb Klynn of Format Films was pitching a TV series called “The Shrimp” around the same time he was pitching The Alvin Show and CBS nearly picked it up as well. They didn’t, to Herb’s great disappointment, for this was a pet project of his.
The Shrimp was based on a short story written by Sy Gomberg published in the March 22nd 1947 issue of Collier’s magazine:
Here are some trade newspaper and magazine notices for the show being in production, and CBS’ plans to air it.
Format Films produced a complete color cartoon to pitch the series – but despite all the industry publicity, the show was ultimately shelved. The pilot itself was considered long lost – until it was recently unearthed by the film archivist at the USC HMH Foundation Moving Image Archive, where Herb’s Format Films archive now reside. The film was almost entirely animated by the very wonderful Robert “Bobe” Cannon (a few scenes in the opening montage were done by an unidentified animator.) Vocal duties were performed by Shep Menkin, June Foray and Kathleen Freeman. There is an original musical score composed by Dennis Farnon.
And now, for your viewing pleasure, we are pleased to present the long lost pilot film!
About twelve years later, Herb Klynn made some new Shrimp pitch art and shopped the idea around again. The second time wasn’t the lucky one, and so The Shrimp never came to television.
Here’s a gallery of cels from The Shrimp. A lot of the original art for the pilot still exists – held in the Archives of Asifa-Hollywood. The cels at present are packed in large boxes with the animation drawings between them. The cels were inked with brush, and opaqued with tempra, and sadly the paint has stuck to the paper drawings.
As a Post Script: Bobe Cannon had been with Playhouse Pictures just prior to making The Shrimp. It was at Playhouse that he animated an uncompleted film about another kid character, called “Mommie, Gimme A Drinka Water” based on the routine by Danny Kaye. I remember while I was working at Playhouse Pictures in the late eighties, I found a foot high stack of pencil animation from the project. As I flipped Bobe’s delightful drawings, it was clear that this cartoon Danny Kaye was much more amusing than the actual Danny Kaye.