Saturday Morning Toons: The Tell-Tale Heart (1953)

As we near Halloween, what better way to prepare than with one of the most effectively creepy and disturbing cartoons of the classic era. The fact that The Tell-Tale Heart was made at all during the classic era is amazing, but UPA was one of the most adventurous and forward-thinking animation producers in the 1950s, both in terms of content and animation style,...

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Saturday Morning Toons: Jeepers Creepers (1939)

Keeping with our creepy cartoon vibes for the month of October, here’s an early Looney Tunes entry featuring Porky Pig as a cop dispatched to investigate an old house that may be haunted. And in fact, it is, with a very groovy ghost who gets great kicks out of scaring the pants off poor Porky. There are a lot of great visual and timing gags, with the kind...

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Saturday Morning Toons: The Mad Doctor (1933)

Here we are again in October, so I’m giving this column over to horror-themed cartoons. As you might expect, horror cartoons, at least from the studio era, tend to undercut the horror with comedy and end up being pretty innocuous overall. Still, there are some that have a surprisingly high creep factor, and today’s short is one of those – and...

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Saturday Morning Toons: Chuck Jones Top Ten

Yesterday would have been legendary animation director Chuck Jones’s 100th birthday, and as you might expect, there are lots of celebrations going on for him. Here in Los Angeles alone, at least two different theatres have planned tribute screenings, showing just a few of his best shorts. Meanwhile, classic film blogs like True Classics have devoted past...

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Saturday Morning Toons: Feed the Kitty

There are few animation directors who can get as much out of a simple set-up, or wring as many well-earned laughs and genuine emotions out of the same scenario as Chuck Jones. There’s a reason he’s my favorite cartoon director, and shorts like Feed the Kitty showcase that perfectly. It’s an easy concept – a dog starts to chase a kitten,...

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Saturday Morning Toons: Rooty Toot Toot

You’ll have to forgive me if I get a little UPA happy in the future; I picked up TCM’s new box set of UPA Jolly Frolics and have been really enjoying going through it. Most of these cartoons are new to me, because UPA cartoons rarely get the kind of play that Looney Tunes or Disney cartoons get, even though UPA was the site of some of the most...

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Saturday Morning Toons

I‘ll state right off the bat that I haven’t actually watched this cartoon yet, except for the first several seconds to check quality and sound and that sort of thing on the YouTube upload. I will be watching it in full later today as part of a special program of 3D shorts put on at the TCM Film Festival (I’ll have a full write-up on the...

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Saturday Morning Toons: The Cat Came Back (1988)

With the friendly debates over Canadian accents going on in the comments of the latest Cinecast episode, I figured I’d bring a little classic Canadian animation to the fore this week. “The Cat Came Back” was originally a comic children’s song written by Harry S. Miller way back in 1893. It has remained popular throughout the 20th...

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Saturday Morning Toons: Working for Peanuts (1953)

As I expect is true for many of my generation, my first exposure to Chip and Dale was via the TV series Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers, where the chipmunk duo leads a detective agency/crime-fighting squad. But the characters have been around since the 1940s, sans the crime element. Debuting in a Pluto-centric cartoon in 1943 (and appearing in one more...

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Saturday Morning Toons: Out of the Inkwell – Modeling

Let’s go back in time even a bit more than usual, back to 1921, when films were silent and animation was just starting to grab hold. Winsor McCay had already brought character to animation with his 1914 short Gertie the Dinosaur, and by 1921 animators like Max and Dave Fleischer (Dave later famous for Betty Boop, Popeye, Superman, and more) were making...

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