THUNDERBEAN THURSDAY
May 14, 2015 posted by

Top Five Worst Of The Worst Cartoons

cuckoo_iq_posterAll cartoons can’t be classics… but the good has to come with the bad – that’s one of the great rules of life. With animation, it’s pretty easy to dismiss a whole series as being terrible without much experience with other films from the series. I’m not saying that you don’t get a general idea of whether you’ll like the series from a film or two, but you can’t judge a whole studio’s output from those examples.

One of the great crusades I’m personally on is to at the very least make sure some of the of series are at the very least represented as they should be, as close as possible to their original theatrical (or broadcast) exhibition. For the most part I’ll leave some crusades to others since I have my hands full with a bunch right now!

That all said, there are still clunkers, and I have to admit many of those clunkers I actually like a lot, but do recognize that they are sometimes not the greatest films that have been put forth in the medium. I don’t want to see them vanquished from the earth as some folks do, but I have to think that perhaps the best treatment of some of these is perfume on the proverbial pig.

So, everyone has at least a FEW films that would be on their worst list. Here’s my top 5 worst cartoons. What are yours?

1). Op Pop Wham and Bop (1966) To me, this is perhaps the most boring cartoon ever made. Made for Drive-In Theatres to allow patrons seven minutes to use the bathroom – or perhaps cause them to use the bathroom. The setting in a Museum of “Way-Out Art” is a fun idea, but the character designs – for Ffat Kat and Ratt Ffink (a poor man’s Herman and Katnip) – are butt ugly, the animation unfunny and I can’t help but watch it and think of ways to make every part of the film better. Even the classic “sea-sick gag” is sad – and literally sickening!


2) Goose in the Rough (1963)
I honestly like a few of the Beary Family cartoons, but I can’t get past the first minute on this one…. At least it has Paul Frees on the track. Who were these cartoons aimed at?


3) The Cuckoo IQ (1941)
I really like Columbia cartoons- perhaps to more than a healthy level…but this particular cartoon doesn’t elicit even the simplest smile from anyone I’ve eve shown it to. Funny enough, I’ve owned 3 prints of it over the years. I must be a glutton for punishment.


4) A Coy Decoy – REDRAWN version (1941)
Now, the Korea-redawn Warner cartoons are all pretty bad, but some are way worse than others. This particular one seems to skip a LOT of frames – sometimes the animation seems to be on 4’s or 5’s… Check out that Porky animation at 6:20-6:38. Hoo-boy!


5) Adventure by the Sea (1960)
I dare anyone to sit through even a single Luno cartoon, much less 2 or three. At least there’s an albino Monstro the Whale ripoff to keep things interesting for several moments. If the hypnotic opening title doesn’t put you in a trance, the rest of the cartoon will. Sweet dreams!

Ok… your turn. What are your worst? Have a good week folks!

90 Comments

  • No Angel Puss? I hate that cartoon very much.

    • Not one of Chuck’s finest.

    • Definitely my vote for all time worst WB. Not so much the C11-ish subject matter, which often place such cartoons as “guilty pleasures” in my mind. It’s that the cartoon is deathly slow paced and nothing remotely humorous happens.

      Might consider it a failed experiment at minimalism, but it is a massive misfire..

  • Ineptness isn’t enough to make a cartoon bad. Like an Ed Wood movie, a bad cartoon can amuse us with its ineptness. Boredom is the key ingredient, but self-loathing is a contributing factor. If I have a sense that the people involved would rather be doing anything rather than making this cartoon, but still are, then you’ve got something going.

    I get that feeling with the Gene Deitch Tom and Jerries. Once his staff had deconstructed the entire series in THE TOM AND JERRY CARTOON KIT, which has its sadistic charms, they settled down to finishing their contract because… well, I don’t know why. Surely killing rheir families and committing suicide was an option.

    I find it hard t pick a single awful one, but surely DICKY MOE is in the running.

    Bob

    • My vote goes to “Down and Outing”, with possibly the cruelest ending of any cartoon ever, where Tom’s owner fishes with Jerry (!) and they both throw their catches against a tied-up Tom, who’s crying (!!) all the while. I suspect that cartoon is the reason so many people root for Tom over Jerry.

  • I have a special loathing for “The Crunch Bird” – certainly the worst cartoon to win an Oscar.

    • The Gene Deich Tom and Jerry shorts, with the exception of Cartoon Kit , are HORRIBLE!

    • I disagree. I really like that one (plus, the guy did segments for my favorite children’s show).

    • Especially after you see “The Selfish Giant”, you wonder what the Academy was thinking at the time.

    • Ouch. I can’t say that was the worst cartoon I’ve seen, but giving the Oscar to that is like giving the Best Picture Oscar to The Waterboy.

    • Simple: They needed a good laugh.

  • I gotta hand it to Screen Gems.. Even their bad cartoons are bad in truly fascinating ways. And, hey, “Cuckoo IQ” made me smile a couple of times at least. In my opinion, “Mass Mouse Meeting” has this beat for stultifying drabness.

  • Here are my worse ones
    Several of the later Sniffles the Mouse cartoons where he becomes a uncontrollable blabber mouth who wouldn’t shut up!
    L
    “The Pointer and the Painter” The one Andy Panda cartoon (the only cartoon when he was obese) where he forced his pointer hunting dog to hold still (by having a hunting rifle rigged to shoot him if he moved a single inch) while painting his portrait.

    The Hector Heathcote cartoon where he, his sidekick Winston and his archenemy Benedict meets Christopher Columbus in 1492 (talk about “inaccurately” in the wardrobe department!)

    Porky and Gabby (not to be confused with Gabby the Town Crier from Gulliver’s Travels who had a more successful animated series than Gabby Goat)

    The earlier Casper the Friendly Ghost cartoons where he was a whiny “crybaby”obese ghost

    Terrytoons “The Chipper Chipmunk” with Gandy Goose and Sourpuss

    & I apologize if there are several that might disagree with me.

    • I’ve always found Casper too cloying and found the shorts to be a chore to sit through. Same for most of the Famous Studios Popeye, especially with the main character up against small animals such as “Gopher Spinach”, Little Audrey with exception of “Butterscotch and Soda”, and Herman & Katnip, which lacked the humor of the MGM and Warner Bros. shorts of the same era..

    • Ha ha, I was going to mention those Sniffles cartoons, but figured all the Chuck Jones fans would have my scalp. Also really glad to hear I’m not the only one with a deep dislike for “Peace on Earth”.

  • Haha… I always kind of liked Luno!

  • After Jerry Beck exposed me to such things as “Super President,” “Rocket Robin Hood,” and the collected works of Sam Singer, the stuff listed here may as well be Fantasia.

  • Hunky and Spunky.

    Insufferable.

    • With the exception or The Barnyard Brat” where Spunky was acting like a unholy terror in the barnyard and Hunky didn’t want to discipline Spunky so the animals decided to take manner in thier own “hands” “You Can’t Shoe (Shoo) a Horse Fly where Spunky was being tormented by a swarm of horseflies, and Snubbed by a Snob where Spunky wants to be friends with a young Thoroughbred filly but her mother disallows her to be friends with Spunky.

    • Second that. Beyond simple cruelty to outright sadism.

  • I’d have to go with “Song of the Birds,” possibly the most bathetic tear-jerker of all time. Runner-up is “Peace on Earth,” with its creepy juxtaposition of cutesy-wootsey animals with grimly realistic war scenes and heavy-handed moralizing (its pacifism and simplistic politics are even more reprehensible when looking back at what occurred after this cartoon was released in 1939).

    • There were two versions of Song of the Birds, The Fleischer Bros Color Classic version and the Famous Studios/Harveytoon remake version with Little Audrey.The Fleischer Bros. Had the scene of the “Bird’s Funeral” where they had a haunting funeral hymn sung by the birds more powerful and dramatic than the remake that Famous Studio had.

    • Also they had a remake of Peace on Earth called Goodwill To Men which featured Daws Butler as the Deacon of the bombed out church telling about the “extinction of humankind” to the church mice choir that included modern warfare equipment including semi automatic rifles,missile batteries,flame throwers, fighter jets and the nuclear bombs that wiped out all of humankind. This remake was done by Hanna and Barbera as a gift to Fred Quimby on his retirement from the MGM animation studio as producer.

    • Which version of “Song of the Birds”, or do you mean both of them? Like Bigg3469, I think the funeral scene in the original “Color Classic” version somewhat redeems it, but the Little Audrey one is just plain shameless.

    • I like to think that PEACE ON EARTH is more of a comment on the human condition than an editorial against fighting true evil. I like to think so, anyway.

  • Anything by Sam Singer, of course…..and “The Magic of OZ”.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ADCizPuW4U

  • “Tokio Jokio”. Not even slightly amusing, even on its own reprehensible terms.

    • I remember hearing a rumor that even at the time, TOKIO JOKIO was considered offensive and unfunny (and given the kind of anti-Japanese propaganda at the time, that’s saying a lot). I also seem to remember hearing that it was because of this cartoon that Norm McCabe never directed another cartoon at WB.

    • I remember hearing a rumor that even at the time, TOKIO JOKIO was considered offensive and unfunny (and given the kind of anti-Japanese propaganda at the time, that’s saying a lot). I also seem to remember hearing that it was because of this cartoon that Norm McCabe never directed another cartoon at WB.

      Certainly not something I would want to be caught dead with on my resume.

    • I think there was one gag I kinda found humorous, but it’s definitely one of the weakest spot gag cartoons made where not even one sticks. “The Ducktators” is a far better realized propaganda short by McCabe.

      It’s obvious the reason it was made was to assure audiences the Japanese army was inept and that the U S forces won’t have too much trouble fighting them. In addition I believe this was made just as McCabe enlisted into the armed forces so it;s obviously feelings ran deep. Too bad the short was so boring, must have realized it was his last one and just slapped it together.

  • Famous Studios’ Jeepers & Creepers. Creepers is such a fall guy in these cartoons that you’re wondering, “How much more can he take?!” You’re not laughing at his misfortunes. And Jeepers, who’s supposedly Creepers’ friend, is the ultimate “fair-weather friend.” In addition, Creepers has a creepy, grating milquetoast-type voice.

  • “Scrappy’s Trip to Mars” The first two thirds of the film features Scrappy venturing off to a beautiful and fun art-deco styled night club on Mars to meet up with his martian Girlfriend. Despite being popular on Mars Scrappy, suddenly whines wants his Mommy and runs away. A rather pathetic ending for what almost was and could have been an absolutely wonderful cartoon…

  • I still hate the Toddle Tales’ Grandfather Clock. Creeps me out.

  • In the last gag of A Coy Decoy, Daffy actually mates with the decoy, so that makes it one of the best WB’s and 100 times better than anything from the Pixar, Dreamworks, Cartoon Network, Nicktoons, or post-Little Mermaid Disney blandness. The latter take a cynical approach and consciously try to have broad appeal and the results are always inane and predictable.  Old cartoons don’t come across as contrived and if they have broad appeal it is only by accident, telling timeless stories about ducks that have sex with decoys.

    • A. He was referring to the redrawn, not the real cartoon.

      B. Your opinion sounds too much like John K and I find that somewhat sad.

    • I don’t think Steve’s objection to “A Coy Decoy” was to the cartoon itself,. but to the horrid, cheap coloring/tracing.job. I’ve seen many of the recolored Looney Tunes on a local station back in the ’70s, and I wondered why they looked so shoddy until I read about the Korean colorizing in Leonard Maltin’s “Of Mice and Magic.” In “Daffy Duckaroo,” during the scene where the Indian chief is wooing Daffy-in-drag, one frame of the film (or two) was just a white card with the inscription “3cm N.G.”

    • This has to be the greatest parody of a John K. acolyte or the most pathetic example of a John K. acolyte. Still LOLing either way.

  • You need to separate these into categories, almost any studio cartoon from 1930-1950 is worth watching if only for the quality of the animation; many are brilliant. The later cartoons vary in quality especially bad are some of the weird pairings like Daffy Duck with Speedy Gonzales, I have not seen one of these that I could stand. And then there are avant-garde animated films like Stan Brackage’s Mothlight, which is a classic, yet watching it is torture to me.

    • I agree. The 1940s, in particular, was a decade in which all of the Hollywood studios demanded that their cartoon product maintain a certain standard of quality. Even the Terrytoons looked good at this time, if still inferior to the rest of the competition… since distributor 20th Century Fox was less fussy than the others. (Actually, the Terrytoons did quite well in the ’50s when the competition started cutting budgets, so every animation outfit had its own distinctive “peak period”.) Usually when we consider a very “bad” cartoon of, let’s say, 1943 (a year that I consider animation’s all-time best in shorts-material, just as high brows consider 1939 great for live-action features), it is because of the subject matter rather than its production values… for example, TOKIO JOKIO.

      You can easily name ten all-time-bad titles from the silent period, when the animation was jerky and story structure confusing. In many ways, the assembly-line product of John Bray and company in the 1910s resembled the Saturday morning line-up of the 1970s. Of course, the sixties and early seventies “twilight years” of the theatrical short subject saw considerable junk as well, although I tend to favor SOME of the Daffy vs. Speedy shorts over the Rudy Larriva Roadrunners. When Wile E. instructs a robot SOLID TIN COYOTE to “eat, stupid” the very bird he has been craving… and chasing… for so long and in so many previous shorts, you know somebody was goofing off in the story department.

  • Some of my worst include almost all of the Gene Deitch Tom and Jerrys and “Be Kind to Animals,” which features THE worst Popeye voice ever.

    • With the exception of “Tom and Jerry Cartoon Kit” (which is one of my all time favorites) narrated by Allen Swift and with the crazy Judo duel climax where Tom did his take on the famous “Goofy Holler” as he attempted to judo chop a ginormous block of marble (being held by two bricks that are crumbling away) in half and fell through the floor in the process. And the Dixieland style soundtrack was outstanding which inspired DFE productions to used as part of the score for the Ant and the Aardvark cartoons.

    • I don’t know why I’m bothering to nitpick on such an inane cartoon, but it’s titled “Be Kind to ‘Aminals'”.

  • I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I have “Op Pop Wham and Bop” on 16mm, a faded Eastman print imported from the UK.

    Any DePatie-Freleng shorts that got outsourced to Bob Balser’s studio in Barcelona are terrible. The animation is sloppy and there are all sorts of technical errors, it’s amazing that they got sent to theaters at all.

  • Okay, one cartoon: “Okay Dokey Donkey”. Honestly, the other Spunky cartoons didn’t feel bland like that one. At least, those cartoons didn’t have any stilted animation.

  • Luno?!!!!! Good lord my sister watched every episode of that when we kids back in late sixies. It was shown along with the Astronut on the Cowboy Bob Show on channel 44 in Indiana.

  • I really dislike Gene Deitch’s Tom & Jerry films, with It’s Greek to Me-ow arguably the worst of the lot. I find many latter day Betty Boop films to be pretty annoying, with ‘Be Up to Date’ as a particular low-point. Most of the late 1970’s Pink Panther cartoons are boring as hell. And I must admit I have difficulties to see any charm in the Marty the Monk films you included in your Cultoons DVD. But the worst Oscar winner probably is the trite Belgian film ‘A Greek Tragedy’ (1985), which incomprehensibly beat ‘Luxo, jr.’..

  • I’ve seen worse; often from the same studios. What’s depressing is when you see credits full of names you know from better work.

    I’m tempted to suggest that any cartoon featuring Casper’s self-pity violin music is going to be awful, but there are probably a few that use it for comic effect.

    Also: Last-gasp Roadrunners with the watered-down “cute” coyote, Famous/Paramounts with weird, tone-deaf violence (showing a character actually injured or in pain — even Bluto — kills the laugh); and TV-grade stuff masquerading as theatricals, often with jokes talked into the ground (see the Beary cartoon).

  • I actually like a lot of the cartoons listed above – what’s wrong with you people? 😀

    May I submit for your (dis)approval: Good Night Elmer (1940).

    • That was the second time Mel Blanc (other than the cartoon A Feud There Was where Elmer Fudd ((originally known as Egghead)) was the justice of the peace trying to stop two hillbilly clans from feuding) did the voice of Elmer Fuss even though Elmer was bawling like crazy after destroying his house while to snuff off a stubborned candle and finally going to get a good nights rest but realized it was daybreak and the sun was rising.

    • Obviously this is personal opinion (and I’m probably in the minority on this), but “Good Night, Elmer” is one of the few early Chuck Jones shorts where the slow, deliberate pacing fits the gags pretty well. It’s no classic, but I’ve always rather liked it.

    • I must agree with Jody here. I specifically remember watching “Goodnight Elmer” as a child, and my sister (who is one year older than me-we were practically raised as twins) and I actually studied and analyzed it. It was so fascinating-the attention to light and shade-that it trumped the actual lack of humor, so apparently even as kids we saw this almost as an experimental short. And, as in all these shorts mentioned, a distinction must be made between a film that was going for gags and failing miserably (a lot of the Columbia and later Lantz shorts, sadly) and one like this which is not specifically gag-oriented. In our childhood minds we probably put this in the same category as “Old Glory” and “Tom Thumb in Trouble”.

  • I liked the Lunos, Deitch Tom and Jerrys, Deputy Dawg, etc. Bad cartoon–Sad Cat. Beatles. Some of the Magoos–the Chinese houseboy egads. Sugar Bear. Filmation junk like My Fave Martians and Brady Kids. Rocket Robin Hood. Latter Walter Lantz is abrasive. 40’s WW2 stuff like Popeye vs the Japanese in ’42 are hard to watch away from time/place. Any of those Daffy Speedy things.

  • Mine would have to be the late-era Looney Tunes that weren’t Cool Cat, Petey the Pelican (though one of them was mildly funny), Li’l Abner in Sadie Hawkins Day (this makes the worst of Newgrounds look like the best of Tex Avery), and the early ’60s Mr. Magoo cartoons that didn’t have either Dick Tracy or Go-go Gomez.

  • What can be worst than the Gene Dietch Tom and Jerry cartoons of the early 1960’s? The horrible Filmation’s version of Tom and Jerry cartoons from 1979! Also Hanna Barbera version of The Thing with Ben “Benjy” Grimm as a scrawny teen that used to rings to become The Thing was really bad too. And all “True Believers” know that Benjamin J. Grimm was a guy who grew up on the tough Yancy Street neighborhood , became a top football star, a war hero and craggy test pilot then later becam the muscle of the Fantastic Four as The Thing.

  • “The Cuckoo I.Q.” seems to me to be a bad misfire, and an attempt to parody “Dr. I.Q.,” which had debuted in 1939. I’m going to go out on a limb (possibly to be sawn off by Keith Scott) and say that’s Mel Blanc’s work. I think the problem is the questions, which are played too straight, rather than played for laughs with crazed answers. I take it this cartoon was one of the last made before Tashlin came in.

    If there is a Columbia cartoon I’d fault, it’s “The Case of the Screaming Bishop,” (Swift, 1944) which to me makes absolutely no sense, whereas “I.Q.” at least has a point in having the sap whacked around.

    As for Jones’ early efforts, they may not be my cup of tea, but at least the animation is quite handsome. Even “Good Night, Elmer” has superb drawings.

  • Any of the Terrytoon “Sad Cat” cartoons. UGH.

  • 1). Op Pop Wham and Bop (1966) To me, this is perhaps the most boring cartoon ever made. Made for Drive-In Theatres to allow patrons seven minutes to use the bathroom – or perhaps cause them to use the bathroom. The setting in a Museum of “Way-Out Art” is a fun idea, but the character designs – for Ffat Kat and Ratt Ffink (a poor man’s Herman and Katnip) – are butt ugly, the animation unfunny and I can’t help but watch it and think of ways to make every part of the film better. Even the classic “sea-sick gag” is sad – and literally sickening!

    One thing you can say, at least it was a nice-try for a pantomime short at at time when the studio made too many ‘gabfest’ shorts. At least Marty Taras got some nice animation out of an otherwise pointless cartoon.

    2) Goose in the Rough (1963)
    I honestly like a few of the Beary Family cartoons, but I can’t get past the first minute on this one…. At least it has Paul Frees on the track. Who were these cartoons aimed at?

    Certainly weren’t the ‘general public’. At least it wasn’t a later cartoon when Paul Smith’s eyes gave way to crazy proportions.

    4) A Coy Decoy – REDRAWN version (1941)
    Now, the Korea-redawn Warner cartoons are all pretty bad, but some are way worse than others. This particular one seems to skip a LOT of frames – sometimes the animation seems to be on 4′s or 5′s… Check out that Porky animation at 6:20-6:38. Hoo-boy!

    I knew you would bring this up, I could see it a mile away (that and “The Wole on Wall Street” being another amusing moment for me).

    Somehow I can never think of a worst cartoon in my head, but perhaps because sometimes they’re best forgotten anyway, but here’s a few I can conjure up.

    1. The Cuckoo (Gaumont-British Animation, 1948) one of David Hand’s “Animaland” cartoons where an egg was switched with one from a Cuckoo, leading to the unfortunate hatching of two siblings on opposite ends of the spectrum, and how they deal with a weasel. The Cuckoo character is just too stupid, uncaring and selfish to even be remotely likeable but maybe that was the point.

    2. One of the Family (Paramount, 1962) Not entirely worst, but as bad as they come. A dog becomes discontented with his lot in life and after a visit to a therapist, he is integrated as a member of the family at the unwillingness of the husband to go along with the wife’s plan. After some typical back-and-forth mayhem, the husband uses reverse psychology and wins anyway, I want my 6 minutes back!

    Anything else that’s bad I’m sure have already been commented here anyway, since I could vouch for them too.

  • Here’s three animated feature films that should be listed as worst cartoons
    (1) Pinocchio in Outer Space (Belvision) A idiotic space opera featuring Pinocchio (dressed as a Belgian school boy) traveling to Mars with a space turtle named Nurtle (?) to investigate and stop a marauding “space whale” (or a whale modified by its Martian captors to use as a weapon of war) terrorizing the galaxy. Featuring one of the stupidest song that was ever written for a animated movie “Goody Good Morning”.
    (2) The Wacky World of Mother Goose (Rankin-Bass) a unfunny animated film based on the Mother Goose stories which was at times dark and several scenes could be disturbing to younger children including the “Monster Candlestick” character.
    (3) Titanic: The Legend Lives On, considered as one of the worst animated movies of all times
    Ripping everything off from The Aristocats to An American Tail, rejects from Speedy Gonzalez cartoons and a Rapping dog in 1912 England! This animated nightmare also produced two sequels.

    • A few nominations…
      “Legit” features:
      — “Heidi’s Song” starts out as a reasonable animated version of “Heidi”, then goes off the rails with wildly different tones and story tangents that suggest a lot of people weren’t speaking to each other. What sets it apart from mere cheap junk is the obvious ambition they had, even when executing bizarre and incompatible production numbers.
      Cheesy imports:
      — “Johnny the Giant Killer”, which on top of everything else has a creepy romance between a small boy and a queen bee.
      Raw cynicism:
      — “Foodfight.” Period.

    • A few nominations…
      “Legit” features:
      – “Heidi’s Song” starts out as a reasonable animated version of “Heidi”, then goes off the rails with wildly different tones and story tangents that suggest a lot of people weren’t speaking to each other. What sets it apart from mere cheap junk is the obvious ambition they had, even when executing bizarre and incompatible production numbers.

      That bit with the Sammy Davis Jr. rat does it for me, that always stuck out like a sore thumb since I wasn’t sure if that was Hedi’s imagination taking over or not. There was ambition here surely.

      Cheesy imports:
      – “Johnny the Giant Killer”, which on top of everything else has a creepy romance between a small boy and a queen bee.
      Raw cynicism:
      – “Foodfight.” Period.

      Where you could classify “Hugo the Hippo” and “The Water Babies”? Both are examples of films that were cooked up by American and British producers and farmed out to studios behind the Iron Curtain. In the case of Hugo the Hippo, it’s one of an unusual mix between a story that could’ve worked as a live-action Disney-type film, with this interesting mod pop art style as animated by Hungarians (some of it reminded me of the first season of The Simpsons the way it was executed), while “The Water Babies” is this interesting live action/animated combo that I actually liked a lot as a kid, but going back as an adult to see this, and it just feels very different to me. The animation provided by a studio in Warsaw leaves a bit to be desired I feel and of course both movies have to have songs as well. Just one of those cases you go back on a film you liked as a kid and didn’t realize how odd, dumb or bad/worse they are, of course we could stick “Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure” in this category if we wanted, but I still like that one a lot, warts and all.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhgBke6TSLQ
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WdlQhFNa4c

  • What about Clutch Cargo. That synro vox gave me the willies.

  • If you were a kid older than say eight, and it got known around school that you liked to watch cartoons, you always had to be on the defensive, because everyone knows cartoons are for babies. So what made me cringe more than anything was being in a public arena like a movie theater and something comes on that is technically well-made, but just strains too damn hard, trying to beat you into submission by piling on the sort of strained wackiness that makes you want to quietly slink away, because it proves your enemies were right on some level.

    I only recently discovered it (aren’t we lucky, so many atrocious cartoons laying in wait for us on YouTube), but I have to say, “The Captain’s Christmas”(from the MGM Captain and the Kids series) really bummed me out. It features Pirate John, an utterly irritating character with an insulting Cockney accent, destroying a roomful of toys and making the Kids cry. Then it gets even worse, as John and his three lookalike lackeys (they all have googly eyes and freaky long necks) do this song and dance routine that never seems to end. Entertaining, no, more like traumatic and just wrong on so many levels.

    • I’ve seen The Captian’s Christmas but in LATAM Spanish dubbing which I though it was funny including some of the music on the soundtrack which sounded from a Muzak soundtrack you would hear at your local mall in the late 1970’s-mid 1980’s hearing the voices on John Silver, and Hans & Fritz (both done by male VO actors in a falsetto voice) but the only thing that bugged me was John Silver’s good conscious (or as Homer Simpson would called him “That Pushy Little Weenie”) dresses in a Buster Brown outfit with Shirley Temple curls) who berated John Silver on his behavior and ruining Hans and Fritz’s Christmas . The only English segment of the dubbed cartoon was the song “‘Ang Up de ‘Olly on de Window” (Hang Up The Holly in the Window) was sung in a rather rowdy manner causing the whole throw every thing from Christmas decorations to the kitchen sink! Of course the original voice of John Silver was voiced by the late great Mel Blanc who also did the voice of Granpa Squirell on Peace on Earth. What also weird is when the kids who “pick on us” for liking cartoons are the ones who were into “action/horror flicks” at the time but soon discovered that cartoons are now cool later on. ( and some time you can catch them seeing (or being force by thier parents to take thier younger siblings to see those cartoon movies) at the cinema!)

    • If you were a kid older than say eight, and it got known around school that you liked to watch cartoons, you always had to be on the defensive, because everyone knows cartoons are for babies. So what made me cringe more than anything was being in a public arena like a movie theater and something comes on that is technically well-made, but just strains too damn hard, trying to beat you into submission by piling on the sort of strained wackiness that makes you want to quietly slink away, because it proves your enemies were right on some level.

      And that’s why I had to watch cartoons privately. Those were trying times. We all grow out of it eventually but then, it was like a test of endurance to act like you were above that stuff.

  • Pre-Hysterical Hare is still probably the worst WB cartoon made at the original studio. And while I find the Columbia cartoons something of a guilty pleasure (the art is good and the humor almost Wiseauian), I think Mass Mouse Meeting is as dull and lifeless as a cartoon can get.

  • Reading these comments has been an alternately amusing and traumatic trip down memory lane. While it’s easy to point to such epic misfires as the Daffy/Speedy series and (most of) the Deitch Tom and Jerrys, it’s been more interesting to read people’s complaints about cartoons that I actually like, or at least don’t dislike. In that spirit, here’s a few that may have fans on this board; if you happen to like one of ’em, that’s OK, different people have different tastes!

    “Poor Little Me”: Start with a moping, self-pitying skunk child, add on a ridiculously pathetic song, throw in a dash of really out-of-place spastic animation when the villain smells the skunk, and wrap it up with a horribly misconceived ending where the skunk, rejected by the family of his one friend, finds his happy ending cocooned with his own family, and you end up with my choice for the worst MGM cartoon.

    “Plane Dumb”: The Van Buren Tom and Jerry cartoons can be entertaining, especially when they get musical and/or surreal, but this oddity featuring the title characters donning blackface and adopting minstrel accents in order to blend in when they crash-land off the coast of Africa is so leaden and plodding in execution that it’s boring rather than offensive.

    “Tot Watchers”: This most un-Tom-and-Jerry-like Tom and Jerry cartoon, in which they abandon their perpetual chase in order to protect a wandering baby while its blissfully inattentive sitter gabs away on the phone, ended Hanna and Barbera’s MGM run with a wet thud. Honestly, I’d rather watch a good 2/3 of the Deitch T&J shorts than this one.

    “Every Child”: Speaking of bathetic cartoons, this maudlin example from the National Film Board of Canada follows an abandoned baby as a series of upper- or middle-class households neglect it or turn it away for various reasons, until it’s adopted by a homeless couple. As strongly as I agree with this cartoon’s message, I disagree with its preachy, cliched delivery.

    • “Poor Little Me”: Start with a moping, self-pitying skunk child, add on a ridiculously pathetic song, throw in a dash of really out-of-place spastic animation when the villain smells the skunk, and wrap it up with a horribly misconceived ending where the skunk, rejected by the family of his one friend, finds his happy ending cocooned with his own family, and you end up with my choice for the worst MGM cartoon.

      Oh, I hated that the first time I saw it, as I thought of that as basically enforcing certain beliefs that we can’t be equal in society the way it’s presented here (and I probably read into it too far on a human level of seeing skunks as representing a non-Caucasian race). A later Hugh Harman cartoon that also gets to me on a similar level is “The Little Mole”. It seemed like the moral of that one is to stay ignorant of the world around you.

      “Tot Watchers”: This most un-Tom-and-Jerry-like Tom and Jerry cartoon, in which they abandon their perpetual chase in order to protect a wandering baby while its blissfully inattentive sitter gabs away on the phone, ended Hanna and Barbera’s MGM run with a wet thud. Honestly, I’d rather watch a good 2/3 of the Deitch T&J shorts than this one.

      It was depressing.

      “Every Child”: Speaking of bathetic cartoons, this maudlin example from the National Film Board of Canada follows an abandoned baby as a series of upper- or middle-class households neglect it or turn it away for various reasons, until it’s adopted by a homeless couple. As strongly as I agree with this cartoon’s message, I disagree with its preachy, cliched delivery.

      At least they didn’t have to come out and say it (the sounds coming from two performers doing a sort of double-talk bit with sound effects and whatever noises comes out of the people around the child). I usually let this one pass for being a UNICEF initiative.

    • @Chris Sobieniak:

      A later Hugh Harman cartoon that also gets to me on a similar level is “The Little Mole”. It seemed like the moral of that one is to stay ignorant of the world around you.

      I agree about finding the apparent moral of “The Little Mole” to be repellant, but it’s otherwise such a well-made cartoon that I can’t hate it. And as with “Poor Little Me”, I don’t think Harmon/Ising and their crew were trying to make regressive fables; I suspect they were just trying to make cartoons to entertain children without really paying attention to what the final message could be interpreted as.

      At least they didn’t have to come out and say it (the sounds coming from two performers doing a sort of double-talk bit with sound effects and whatever noises comes out of the people around the child). I usually let [“Every Child”] pass for being a UNICEF initiative.

      I will freely and gladly say that Les Mimes Électriques did an excellent job recording the soundtrack for that cartoon. And I can fully understand giving it a pass due to its message or its origins; that’s just something I can’t quite do myself.

    • Yeah, best not to read too much into Harman/Ising morals as it’s pretty obvious they were aiming for young children with these shorts. Though compared to “Poor Little Me”, “The Little Mole” is a masterpiece. PLM is definitely a misfire.

    • I usted to say a little rhyme when that cry baby Stinky Skunk came on Poor Lil Me “Stinky Skunk, Stinky Skunk he is such a crybaby, Stinky Skunk, Stinky Skunk he is such a sissy wimp!” Guess you know how much a abhorred Poor Lil Me! And as for Tot Watchers aka known as Busy Buddies The baby sitter in charge was a careless idiot and if this happen today she would of have been arrested for Child Negligence and Child Endangerment charges.

    • Add on the Christian hymnal Yes Jesus Loves Me changing it into Yes Mama Loves Me with the Skunk family singing “Yes Mama Loves Me, Yes Mama Loves Me,Yes Mama Loves,Because She Told Me So” can make a pastor or priest cringe!

  • Methinx NOTHING can outdo a 60s Popeye in the “worst” division!!!

    • I agree that the King Features Popeye cartoons were bad but I remember one point in an episode where Olive Oyl and Brutus were beatniks. Something happens to Olive and Brutus says “Serves her right, the useless non-entity!” to which Popeye replies “Hey, you can’t call Olive a, a……. well, whatever it is you called her!”. I thought that was funny!

    • Oh Gawd yes with Brutus replacing Bluto and Olive Oyl looking like a Frankensteinish nightmare with her having her Famous Studio head on top of the classic Segar inspired torso was truly the worse!

  • The Screen Gems cartoons, particularly those made just before and right after Frank Tashlin ran the studio, ran the gamut from fairly amusing to incomprehensibly dull and pointless. It’s especially painful with the post-Tashlin cartoons, considering all the fine Disney and Warner talent at the studio at the time. (They had Bob Clampett for a while as a gag writer; how a studio can have one of the greatest cartoon directors on their payroll and not have him direct a single cartoon is unconscionable.) Two in particular come to mind. “Mr. Elephant Goes to Town”, in which Mr. Elephant does NOT go to town, he just stays on someone’s cellar and gets drunk.; and “Cat-Tastrophe” about a cat imagining what a puppy will do to him when he grows up – it would have been fine for a scene or two, but this is stretched out for the full length of the cartoon. Both set up a potentially fun situation and fail to deliver.

    Asj for other cartoons: I’m a fan of UPA, but the Ham and Hattie shorts always left me cold (although I appreciate Fred Crippen’s snappy timing on the Ham segments). The sixties Paramount Noveltoons were always a dull lot, both visually and storywise, although Culhane and Bakshi manage to juice things up a little near the end. And last but not least, the Larriva Roadrunner cartoons for DePathie-Freleng, paling in comparison to not only the Chuck Jones originals but Bob McKimson’s two entries, “Rushin’ Roulette” and “Sugar and Spies”, which were done with many of the same people in Larriva’s team and possibly on the same low budgets.

  • I am limiting myself to just theatrical cartoons, as the number of truly bad tv animation is too large to single anything out.

    I really dislike the Tom and Jerrys by Gene Deitch, which seems to be common here. I just can’t stand to watch them, poorly animated, bad music, and those weird sound effects get on my nerves.

    I may be breaking my own rule here, as I don’t know if these were theatrical or tv, but the DePatie Freling Hoot Kaloot cartoons from the 70s were just completely unfunny to me. I don’t think I ever laughed at one, and the characters have very little appeal.

    As much as I enjoy the work of Chuck Jones, all the Sniffles cartoons are painful for me to watch, Way too cloyingly cute, and a far cry from what he would later achieve.

    Lastly, pretty much any WB cartoon from their final years. Even the good characters like Daffy were reduced to being unfunny and annoying. The Road Runners were just painful to watch.

  • My Worst

    Boulder Wham- BOOORING!

    Candy Cabereat- The original Fleischer “Ain’t She Sweet” should’ve been the only one made

    (Sort of) The Big Flame-Up: Wouldn’t it have been better to make the cartoon center around firefighting to “The Merry Wives of Windsor Overture” and forget the sing-along (though the Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight song is good)?……….

    Out of The MIlk Bottle/Skinny and Husky in a Day At Coney Island (sort of): This is one of the weirdest advertising cartoons I’ve seen. If you want to see a milk commercial done right watch Van Bueren’s “Sunshine Makers” or see (most of) the California Milk Processor Board-sponsored “Got Milk?” commercials where people run out of milk (with the name of the original board intact, none of that “America’s Dairy Farmers” baloney). However it’s great for research on milk marketing history as well as for the die-hard Jam Handy fans……

    Tea Pot Town- With what I’ve said about generic marketing cartoons for the above cartoon, I really don’t like the idea of selling just tea. Maybe if it had Lipton logos on the original instead of National Tea Growers. I’m also creeped out by that 50s “Take Tea And See” commercial…….

    Pudgy the Watchman- Most Fleischer fans aren’t fans of the post-Code Bettys, and with this one I can see why…..a cat getting drunk on the job for no apparent reason is just troubling.

    As for TV cartoons—-

    Any Animaniacs short animated by Freelance, some AKOM or further subcontracted from TMS….Is it that hard to draw Yakko, Wakko, and Dot?

    • And don’t forget the Tiny Toon episodes that were animated by Kennedy Cartoons/Fil Cartoons and Freelancers of New Zealand in Season 1 no wonder why they were replaced by Startoons of Chicago in season 2.

  • You know its weird, I like the Larriva Roadrunners, w the big robot coyote etc. Mostly as I saw them at the right age. Some of the Baby Hueys are awful. And the King Feature early 60’s Popeyes basicly suck.

    • *chuckle chuckle* Those RRs did get under my skin a little bit, which is why I mentioned them above in a post. At least the Speedy vs. Daffy shorts of that period had a bit more “variety” for me, even though MUCHO LOCOS and others were still pretty awful. When all of these 60s shorts would pop up on the Bug Bunny/Roadrunner Show Saturday morning (in the 1970s), I would instantly moan. Yet it all has to do with “timing” and what we, as cartoon buffs, can take at a certain age. Heck, I even sat through THE SECRET LIVES OF WALDO KITTY, so it wasn’t that I didn’t have a strong tummy.

      Poor Sniffles has come under attack here quite a bit, but I actually enjoy him since the animation was always quite polished. I particularly like THE UNBEARABLE BEAR with its pre-UPA graphics… and the goofy buzzard in LOST AND FOUNDLING…. and… Oh! Yes!… that hilarious spoof on “Daffy’s Tavern” with an all-feline cast, HUSH MY MOUSE. (That last one is guilty pleasure that keeps on giving each time I watch it.) The earlier Sniffles had a nice noir-ish quality about them (i.e. many night-time scenes) combined with Carl Stalling’s ominous scores. At least they and the Inkis were an interesting contrast to the “funny” toons that Warner specialized in.

      I also liked David Hand’s THE CUCKOO since it is so odd-ball. Sometimes the age of the film… its “vintage” appeal, I guess you can call it… makes the difference.

    • Duffy’s Tavern, that is. Mus have Daffy Duck on my brain.

    • Why “Mucho Locos” was so bad – not only was it a cheater, it had a sorry idea for the framing footage (“let’s pretend we’rte watching Daffy on this broken TV set”).
      And perhaps Sniffles’ talkativeness in “Hush My Mouse” was inspired by Teeny in “Fibber McGee & Molly” – I don’t recall a similar character on “Duffy’s Tavern.”

  • I forget the name of the Chuck Jones-produced T&J cartoon, but the one where the bulldog grinds Tom’s body into link sausages (actually, I think this may have happened in TWO Jones T&Js). Very disturbing…

    • It was first The Cat’s Me-Ouch where the teeny Tiny bulldog that Jerry gets in a catalogue to protect himself from Tom mauls Tom’s Tail into sausage links and Purr-Chance to Dream where Teeny Jerry’s pet Bulldog grinds Tom into sausage links and pounds him into the ground.

  • I had never heard of, nor ever seen, OP POP WHAM AND BOP, until just a few moments ago. I actually kinda like how weird it is. And I dig the jaunty big band music on the soundtrack.
    Is Winston Sharples recycling old Popeye underscore at 04:25 – 04:40?

    Anyone else think of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim with that establishing shot of the museum?

    • I agree that the band music soundtrack is great. That alone keeps this off my “worst” list.

  • 5/20/15
    RobGems.ca Wrote:

    Re: Robeb: The two Chuck Jones Tom & Jerry Cartoons with Tom being ground up into sausages by a (tiny) bulldog were from “The Cat’s Me-ouch”(1965) and “Purr Chance To Dream” (a sequel to the tiny bulldog theme from 1967.)

    “Purr-Chance To Dream” was noticeable as the last theatrical cartoon of Tom & Jerry from MGM until 1993 when Tom & Jerry returned to the big screen for their abysmal full-length feature film. It was also the last T&J from Chuck Jones, who would go on to three more projects for MGM: A Pogo Birthday Special (1969), Dr. Suess’ “Horton Hears A Who” (1970) both TV projects, and a feature length movie by MGM (“The Phantom Tollbooth”) issued in 1970.

    Here are my 5 worst ‘classic” cartoons from the theatrical years:

    1) Hassle In a Castle (Woody Woodpecker-1966-directed by Paul J. Smith.- Really ugly scene at the end when the beautiful princess transforms into a hideous ogre.)

    2) Broadway’s Bow Wows – 1954 (a one-shot cartoon based on a rather lame idea stolen from the late Stan Freberg’s “John & Marsha” gag about a cute pooch named Mary and a jerkass mutt who cheats on her wedding day named John.)

    3) Popeye’s King Features cartoons from 1960-62 made by Al Brodax (most of these cheap-ass cartoons were released to television, but a few got out to theaters, via Paramount Pictures. Makes the Famous studio Popeyes of the 1950’s look like high-class animation by comparison.)

    4) Bugs Bunny’s Hold The Lion, Please (somewhat enjoyable, but the ending is all wrong. The devil-may-care wascally wabbit as a henpecked father figure? No Thanks. If they pulled this gag today, Lola Bunny would be playing the nagging wife. This gag would even be lame in a re-make on the recent “Loony Tunes Show” from Cartoon Network.)

    5) The Bugs Bunny Vs. Cecil Turtle Trilogy (Cecil’s a real asshole in these pictures; Even in “The New Loony Tunes Show”, where he played an asinine cable service operator, he hasn’t changed much from his dickishness, but at least finally, Bugs Bunny got the last laugh with Cecil in the end.) (there were really three pictures in this series, so I’m cheating somewhat.)

  • Has anyone ever heard of a spanish thing called “The Frootis? I saw one once on an airplane a couple of dozen years ago and it was horrid.

  • There is no such thing as “a poor man’s Herman and Katnip.” Herman and Katnip are the nadir.

  • I would nominate the Famous Studios Popeye cartoon Barking Dogs Don’t Fite as the stinker of stinkers. It’s a remake of a lousy Fleischer Popeye cartoon, Proteck The Weakerist. I find it unwatchable – violent, sadistic and, unlike cartoons made by Avery, Clampett, Tashlin, Freleng, Jones, Shamus Culhane, Jack Kinney and others lacking in anything remotely resembling humor. Even though it is well-drawn and animated, I even take the absolute worst Screen Gems cartoons (yes, even those Allen Rose-Harry Love-Lou Lilly and Alec Geiss ones) over this any day of the week. Actual comedy in Famous Studios cartoons became about as easy to find as Claude Rains in The Invisible Man once Jim Tyer (who could pull off dark humor successfully) and Vladimir “Bill” Tytla left. IMHO, not even the dynamic animation of John Gentilella can save these terrible cartoons – they are textbook cases in how not to stage and time a sight gag. At least things started looking up finally when Irving Spector was hired.

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