Thursday, April 23, 2009

Paramount: Abner The Baseball - Script by Eddie Lawrence

Here's Eddie Lawrence's complete script for Paramount's Abner The Baseball. You'll be better served by clicking on his name (above) to learn about his career than whatever I can tell you, although I do know of several Spectorphiles who will likely be leaving additional comments about him and Abner.

I'll include Wiki's entry on the cartoon below. Wiki states the cartoon is actually sixteen minutes; certainly it's a two-reeler -- but not a full two reels -- it clocks in at 12:30 (as shown in the Academy's screening list at the end of this post):
The extended-length title was among the earliest, Abner the Baseball, a 16-minute special seen in November 1961, based upon a tale which was among the tracks on The Kingdom of Eddie Lawrence LP. It is a first-person account by an anthropomorphized baseball describing its experience of being hit out of Briggs Stadium by Mickey Mantle in a September 10, 1960 home run against the Detroit Tigers. Bizarre whimsy, as usual, was the order of the day.
















By 1961 my father was freelancing cartoons for Paramount. In the cartoon's credits he's listed under animation design. However, in his personal ledger he billed and received for $1,950. I believe that would have been an unusally high amount just for the animation design, even for the abbreviated two-reller. Unfortunately, he didn't itemize his billing.

Addtionally, here's a letter that animator Johnny Gentilella wrote to my father, in which the final paragraph refers to Abner.


Abner was Paramount's submission for an Academy Award, although I don't know if it actually made the final list of nominees.

9 comments:

Dave Mackey said...

"Abner" did not get nominated for an Oscar. In fact, no Paramount or Famous cartoon ever was. 25 years and not even a nomination.

For the record, the Oscar winner in 1962 was "Ersatz" (a/k/a "Surogat" or "Substitute"), and the other nominees were "Beep Prepared", "Nelly's Folly", "the Pied Piper of Guadalupe" (all three WB) and "Aquamania" (Disney).

"Abner" was part of the Paramount cartoon syndication package, and I wish I could remember if it was the New York or Philadelphia station that deemed it necessary to only show Reel 2 of "Abner" whenever it decided to show it. Like the Popeye two-reel specials, it was a hard cartoon to include in a local compilation show.

J Lee said...

IIRC, when it aired on ABC they did knock out the spot where the normal second made-for-TV Casper short went to air the entire cartoon (given the quality level of the Caspers done for Saturday morning, even at age 7 I thought this was a double-blessing, since I could tell the difference between those and the UM&M/Harvey ones airing on Ch. 5, and living in New York I could relate to the cartoon -- Mantle was still the Yanks' centerfielder when "Abner" debuted on TV, so it was a rare contemporary pop-culture reference on a Saturday morning show).

Yowp said...

I've never seen the cartoon, but here's a link to a theme:

http://yourpaldoug.com/10_Theme_from_Abner_The_Baseball.mp3

Yowp

p spector said...

Yowp, thanks for the link, and for stopping in. Abner was not included on the Harveytoons DVD. I do have it on a disc however, and in the event that I upgrade my 10-year-old computer I'll rip it and post it.

selin said...

Thanks for your comment and additional information. I was really glad I could find the script and what the phrase really was. It's strange how such things get stuck with you, even after so many years. Abner was on air in late 80's in Turkey though there is no baseball culture there at all and it played tens of times each day for quite a time. Thanks again...

wendy said...

Dave Mackey says it was either New York or Philadelphia that showed only Reel 2 of "Abner". This must have been Philadelphia, because I saw "Abner" several times on TV in New York and it was always shown complete.

p spector said...

Wendy, thanks for the info. Quite coincidentally, there have been some Abner inquiries lately about this post, so don't be surprised if the actual full cartoon pops up here in the near future.

Sandyhook said...

You probably wont read this, as you blog seems to have been abandoned, but I had post that I had a lot of fun reading the Abner script. I have to admit that, being a fair mimic, I read it in Abner's voice...as well as the other voices I remember from the cartoon, while I saw the images from the film in my mind. I remember Abner quite vividly because my dad and brother were very big into baseball and it was natural that I should follow their lead, which I have for the past 50 years. I did see Abner on TV in its entirety Iwhen I was a kid but later on when it was showed, it was always edited...there were a few Harveytoons that were condemned to that fate when broadcast. I would love to see Abner again someday. Thanks for sharing this with everyone!

p spector said...

Thanks for commenting. Glad you enjoyed the script. Not sure if you know that the unedited Abner is elsewhere on the blog. If you type Abner The Basball in the search box scroll to the second post.

Uh, the blog is not abandoned -- I don't think -- only on a very extended sabatical.