Just a short one today…..
Scrappy is my favorite character. Maybe it’s because he often spends most of his own cartoons in a less than happy state, rarely finding solace. It’s as if the whole world is designed so that he’ll be the fall guy. Maybe I just like the underdogs.
At the same time, sometimes Scrappy can be nearly furious for seemingly no reason at all; perhaps he’s reflecting on the films where he was the fall guy, and the mere thought makes him see red. He’s especially mean to his little brother in a majority of the films, beating him for often small crimes. He nearly kills him in The Bad Genius, knocking him senseless before he has to perform a violin concert. Scrappy’s solution to appease the all animal audience is to attach the nearly dead child to strings controlled by chickens above the stage.
Dick Heumer’s early Scrappys are easily some of my favorites, as are the Toby the Pup cartoons he directed in 1930 and 31 (for RKO). When Huemer left in 1933, the team working under him continued the series, with Sid Marcus assuming the director’s duties. The early films from this period are still much fun- here’s a great one, Scrappy’s Art Gallery. The Mintz production values in this little film are fantastic. Without giving the film away, the cleverness of technique in this film makes it noteworthy, though rarely do ANY Columbia/ Mintz cartoons get much attention for their qualities except by the diehards- and now I’m just preaching to the choir. It’s especially fun to watch this particular cartoon with an audience- especially as the film takes unexpected turns…
After last week’s Red Raven records, other animated ‘toys’ have come to mind… including pulling this one out. There is a good amount of Scrappy merchandise from the early to mid-30’s- though they still don’t hold a candle to the massive merchandising of Disney’s characters or Popeye.
My favorite find was a set of “animated films” produced for the Duracolor projector. This particular set featured Scrappy in one of the slide sets. Below is one of the ‘movies’. They wereprinted onto something similar to tracing
paper, with two pictures making up the ‘animation’. The projector must have been set up to somehow alternate these two images on the screen, with the user controlling it. If you look at the box you can see what the little projector looked like. My favorite thing about the set is that it’s drawn by the Ted Eshbaugh Studios….maybe even by Ted himself! Ok, so now, blink and look up and down really fast! (Click thumbnails below to enlarge)
We’d be remiss if we didn’t direct you to Harry McCracken’s Scrappyland website and blog. This is the ultimate place for all things Scrappy, Yippy, Oopy and Margie… even Shorty Shortcake (Scrappy’s estranged doppelganger). Check it out.