Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Famous Studios: The Plot Sickens (1961)

Over at Cartoon Brew, Jerry has posted one of my dad's very early sixties Famous Studios cartoon, The Plot Sickens. I wish I had some exciting additional items to accompany it, but mostly all I have is this entry from his personal ledger. In it, you can see that he thought of it as a "Hicthcockian(sic) type story." What a cartoon's title would eventually become was usually different than my dad's working title. Here he calls it "The Plot Thickens". Somewhere I have a couple of his billing invoices that he sent to Paramount, pay-as-you-go. I'd never locate them quickly enough to make this post timely, but in them you would see that at one time the title was referred to as "The Plot Quickens". Any which way - thickens, quickens, sickens -- you might want to go over there and take a look.


Bob Cowan said...

It's really too bad you can't acquire more of your dad's work... I have really enjoyed taking a look at your postings! Thanks -Bob

p spector said...

Thanks, Bob. In many ways I'm grateful for what I have. Often a journeyman cartoonist's life is (was) like, punch the clock in the morning, punch out, go home and eat dinner. Who knew then what we know now?

Of course, I'd always love to be able to run my own hands through it, but often can be satisfied if I can just view a finished cartoon, knowing which part(s) he worked on. In that respect, probably the biggest gap, and my biggest lament, is in his pre-WWII work. No need to tell you about how credits were doled out in those days, especially for a young animator just cutting his teeth, beginning in 1930. - Paul

Dave Mackey said...

If credits were even doled out at all back then. Usually, it was the Big Cheese who got all (or most of) the credit and back then was perceived as the ONE who did all the work, be it Walt Disney, or Ub Iwerks, or Leon Schlesinger, or Dave Fleischer, or Amedee Van Beuren, or Paul Terry. I'm sure it was a revelation to many filmgoers to hear that it literally took hundreds of people to make a cartoon.

"The Plot Sickens" is a very interesting film - your dad seemed to shine on these more "adult" stories, far removed from the Caspers and Popeyes.

It also shows that the directors like Seymour Kneitel and Izzy Sparber and Dave Tendlar exerted very little influence over the content of a film, just leaving those things to the head animators and the writers. That's how things like this and "Chew Chew Baby" could get made alongside the more kiddieish cartoons like, say, "Abner The Baseball".