March 28, 2024 posted by Steve Stanchfield

Tel-A-Story’s “Nippy’s Adventures”

One of the best things about film collecting, I think, are all the strange things that show up as you’re looking for the not-as-strange things. The peculiar history of the oddball things made for Television will never fully be told- but because of the distribution format (on 16mm film) many of these films survive in a handful of prints.

First— a little Thunderbean News:

A whole batch of the special discs are in the process of shipping as we finish off Mid Century Modern, Volume 3. Rainbow Parades, Volume 2 is moving along pretty well despite a pretty devastating hard drive crash. Fortunately it’s now slowing things down too badly other than needing to get the scans again from Blackhawk, who did a fantastic job of them. The best news was discovering one of the Rainbow Parades had a complete, successive exposure negative. I won’t say what one yet, but it’s one of the Felixes. We’ll talk about it soon!

In other news, we’ve put the pre-order up for Comi-Color Cartoons, volume 2’. This set completes the series, and including such classics as Balloonland and Humpty Dumpty. Both volumes will be out this year. The pre-orders include special discs of raw scans and other rarities. They’re available for a limited time at the Thunderbean Shop.

And — onto today’s ‘Golden Cartoon Classic’ — Nippy’s Adventures!!

This is an especially odd one in design and animation. So far I’ve been unable to figure out who made this particular film, or series if there was one. When you see a still from this, it’s easy to assume that it’s really limited animation from the design, but, funny enough, the animation is a lot fuller than you’d expect. It’s s combination of cel-esque animation and puppeting that I think is pretty interesting.

Nippy’s Adventures is the sort of cloying storytelling for pre-schoolers you’d expect from early Television or children’s records, especially in the cartoony-children’s book graphic style. I think it’s more interesting as a pioneering style idea for cheaper production for TV animation than it is good.

Tel-A-Story Films seems to have no true linage beyond that particular film as far as I can see, but I could be wrong since so many of these early TV shows don’t have very many prints surviving. My guess is that this is another attempt at production from Paul N. Peroff, who made the Jim and Judy in Teleland series (1949). That series is copyrighted ‘Flash Films’. It looks to be a pretty similar style and animation technique. There were around 50 episodes made of that and they’re pretty rare. I’ve never seen another Nippy short though.

Here’s a few Jim and Judy episodes, courtesy of Jeff Joseph:

So, fellow researchers, put on your esthetic and cartoonal thinking caps and see if you can muster any guesses or other information on this oddity.

We owe Tommy Stathes for preserving this rarity as part of this collection, and handing it to me a handful of months ago saying ‘You should scan this’.

Have a good week everyone!


  • Does anyone know the lady that did the narration for this cartoon? She is very good!

    • She is good. She makes me think of Shari Lewis.
      And I don’t find the story at all cloying but very charming.

  • Considering it is for preschoolers, I wouldn’t call “Nippy’s Adventures” cloying, just a gentler approach than today’s tots are used to from a medium that was brand new at the time. “Sesame Street” pioneered a much hipper, genially aggressive slant for entertainment geared toward very young children; and while its cultural impact is undeniable, its actual efficacy has been questioned from the very beginning. Its earliest critics complained about the “hard sell” approach to learning, and it is interesting that the generation brought up on “Sesame Street” (and “Schoolhouse Rock”) in turn spawned a generation that graduated high school unable to spell their own names or perform simple arithmetic without mechanical aid. It seems people remember the jokes and the cartoons and the songs, but the actual knowledge those things were meant to impart somehow has escaped them.

    • Sigh. As I said before, if it weren’t for Multiplication Rock, I would have a hard time remembering my multiplication table.

  • Is it just me, or does the animation and design in “Teleland” look like an import?

  • The animation and design in “Teleland” may look like an import, but only because its style does not closely match that of any American animation studio of the mid-twentieth century. I agree with Steve that the Nippy cartoon is likely to be Paul Peroff’s work, as both it and “Teleland” use jointed cutout figures for character animation, a technique not frequently employed in cartoons of this period.

Leave a Reply

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