Sunday, January 11, 2009

Paramount/Famous Storyboard: Top Cat

Here is the first half of my father's storyboard for the Paramount Modern Madcap cartoon Top Cat (1960). These boards and the couple of others I have lead me to believe that it is not the exact finished version that was ultimately turned in. Why? For one reason, it is drawn on a combination of self-formatted board stationary, with inserted revisions drawn on standard board stationary. Also, you might notice (mostly when I post the second half) that the name J. Caesar Bandwagon is interchangeable with Barney Bandwagon, as is Fairmount Pictures with Blockbuster Pictures, and that the word Priemere (sic) is later spelled correctly. Also, the page numbering occasionally skips, although there seems to be no gap in continuity. Anyway, we'll discuss this fascinatingly irrelevant topic later. Here it is in oversized scans:

Remainder of boards to follow.

In the meantime, you might:

Watch Top Cat on The (In)Complete Harveytoons DVD set, found on Disc 1 - Side B, Show 13, 3rd cartoon.

See two other online Spector storyboards. Before Spectorphile, Michael Sporn graciously offered me several guest posts on his Splog. Click HERE to bring up the two posts which comprise the complete boards for Galaxia, plus extra goodies; At Cartoon Brew, Jerry Beck surprisingly posted (well, I was surprised) Fido Beta Kappa HERE as an announcement for Spectorphile's start-up.


Anonymous said...

I have been alone, for many years, in my appreciation of the 1960s Paramount cartoons. A few duds, yes. Low budget, absolutely. But the talents involved - particularly Irv Spector, Eddie Lawrence, Marty Taras and the remnants of the Famous/Fleischer crew - had an insurmountable task of filling a slate of theatrical cartoon shorts without the benefit of "star" characters. They had constantly come up with new ideas, characters, designs. Each one is a surprise, several of them turned out pretty good.

Dave Mackey said...

While Jerry Beck sometimes fancies himself as the lone voice in the wilderness, I too have always liked the post-Famous Paramount vibe, in the days after they sold off all their characters. There were a lot of outer space themes, attempts at new characters like The Cat and Swifty and Shorty, and then about '62 or '63, the King Features shorts which started to dominate the release schedule. It was as if Seymour Kneitel and his successors - Howard Post, Shamus Culhane and Ralph Bakshi - were trying to find new ways of doing cartoons. I think Culhane was most successful and he had some very talented designers who shook the cage and got Paramount into a new groove about '65-'66.

"Top Cat" was one of the more interesting early 60's Paramount cartoons. I will have to pull out my Harveytoons disk and check it out again. (Of course, I have to put up with the 5% speed increase. Yecch.) I liked the little mini-series that ensued (with films like "Cane and Able"), with its own opening titles and theme music (thanks Winston), and the utter insouciance of the Cat character as voiced by Dayton Allen.

p spector said...

Okay, I make three who like the cartoons, and I know of a few more. I'm hoping we'll soon get enough for a minyan.

Martin Juneau said...

I loved your fathers' drawing style for this cartoon. It's lookin alive and very refreshing than the final cartoon.

Yeldarb86 said...

Irv loved to play with squares in these Madcaps.