March 30, 2016 posted by

Terrytoons “Go West Big Boy” (1931)

This week, we’re headin’ way out west with an early sound Terrytoon!


As indicated on the draft, Go West Big Boy was the 27th Terrytoon, released on February 22, 1931. Frank Moser, Jerry Shields and Art Babbitt are the main animators on this film; assistant animators “Sarka” (still unconfirmed) and Conrad “Connie” Rasinski are credited alongside Moser. In The Explorer (1931), an assistant credited as “King” was previously unidentified. Recent communications have verified that the artist is actually Ed Cohen, only credited with Moser on scene 30; the surname was later changed during his time at the studio.

go-west-big-boy-tv-titleKing was a best friend to Art Babbitt, known as Babitski before he changed his surname. Evidently, he felt his artistry wasn’t up to Babbitt’s standards; his time at the studio was very brief. The two didn’t end their friendship after his departure – King and his wife would later participate in double dates with Babbitt and Marjorie Belcher (later Marge Champion), whom he met at Disney’s in the mid-thirties. King eventually went into his own business at The Basket Shop, located in the bottom of the Woolworth Building, specializing in candy and gift baskets. King continued to draw sketches and design window displays for his business.

Head animator Frank Moser is mainly assigned to the singing scenes, including an extensive sequence in scene 33. Readers will notice Moser’s sketches of the boy mouse, and notations to indicate the placement of the boy mouse’s dialogue on the document (“Are those your sheep?”) Some of Moser’s scenes credited to his assistants are fluidly handled; there are effective usages in scene 16, where vultures swoop down to grab the boy mouse, and another section, in scene 23, where a flock of sheep flees from the predators. Musical composer Phil Scheib uses a snatch of J.S. Zamecnik’s “Storm Music” to accompany the latter scenes.

Judging from the draft, CBS doesn’t seem to have omitted any scenes from the film, except the opening and closing titles. Forgive me if this one’s a bit lighter than usual. This next one should be a bit more extensive.

Enjoy the breakdown video!

Now enjoy the actual draft! (Note: the original working title “Go West Young Man”; click to enlarge)

(Thanks to Mark Kausler, Charlie Judkins, Kathy and Jordan Wouk for their help.)


  • What was that wonderful place that, on every “Columbus Day” (??) they’d have a sale on Terrys —
    in 16, @ $10 a pop. Rmbr that?? “Willoughby’s”, I think?

    • Yes – the Willoughby Peerless Camera Store in Herald Square had a Washington’s Birthday Sale every year with 16mm prints of Terrytoons (and they seemed to have them all) for $10. a pop!

  • What a mouse! He took a clubbing to the head, beat up some vultures, sang, saved the sheep and got the girl. Looks like the germ for Mighty Mouse about 10 years down the road.

  • Ah, the early typical Terrytoon mice couple… So much can be done with them, and this cartoon is a good example. Basically what Art Binninger said, can’t say anything better.

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