Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Animated Little Rascals

This was posted on Cartoon Brew back in May last year. I saw it at the time, but for some reason it didn't click as something I should be blogging about until now...

The film is a stop-motion remake of the Little Rascals short Our Gang Follies of 1936. Here is Jerry Beck's summary:
In the days before computer colorization, after Fred Ladd found success re-painting and refilming the old black and white Porky Pig cartoons in color, another enterprising producer – Charles King of King-World (the syndicator of the Little Rascals shorts) – decided to re-film the live action Our Gang shorts – in color, using stop-motion clay models and miniature sets. Hal Roach historian Richard Bann tells me that ten (!!) of these were produced by a studio in England.
The print is lacking any animation credits so it is not clear exactly who made the short. In the comments to the post Peter H makes the following observation:
The plodding walks, head moves and hand gestures are very like the work of Bura & Hardwick (Camberwick Green etc) and the models a little similar to the ones in this Road Safety film animated by Pasquale Ferrari, who worked with Bura & Hardwick. Bura & Hardwick set up a company (Stop Motion Films) to make films for Gordon Murray, Producer of puppet shows for the BBC. I think a contract with King may have been a way of keeping the studio open between productions. Unfortunately the simple dumbshow nods and gestures that worked so well against the narration in the Trumptonshire series were not enough to provide the personality performance necessary to work with real dialogue and situational comedy!
The animation in the road safety film in question (The Tale of Elsie Bossing, from 1970) is almost identical to that of the Little Rascals film, so I think we have our studio.

1 comment:

  1. I should've noticed that back when I first saw it, of course hardly much of Gordon Murray's work was ever seen in the US. In the end, it was pretty much a waste of a TV distributor's cash trying to placate broadcasters with more color programming.