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Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Silver Bullet....

I have been obsessing over a cartoon. I have written of it before. Format Films' The Lone Ranger keeps coming back, and I have been watching it during late-night print runs. It goes far beyond other 1966 kidvid drek. The animation was done by the venerable Halas and Batchelor studio in Merrie Olde, they of the first animated Animal Farm from the '50s. This is animation for Saturday Morning, so don't expect Studio Ghibli, here, but stylistically, TLR easily transcends its humble setting, a gem in a dimestore ring. 

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The background work is worth the price of admission, ranging from watercolor washes to torn construction paper for texture. The characters are spare, with the dispassionate faces of Greek statuary. The villains, well, they are superb, from Mephisto to the Warlock, to Mr. Happy (voiced by Gildersleeve his own self!) to Terrible Tiny Tom, the Doctor Loveless of the piece. Screenshots later.
The grandiose weaponry presages the steampunk enthusiasm four decades ahead.

Here is the open, and an episode. Revel in Vic Schoen's score!

More to come!

Is the boss outlaw's voice Jonathan Winters, or a subdued Jim Backus? He is not credited. I'm leaning toward Backus.


Michael W said...

I like to think I stand next to no one in my appreciation of the H&B Studio "Lone Ranger", but you just might beat me in that category. The series was very stylish, and Vic Schoen's version of the "William Tell Overture" is my absolute favorite version. And apologies to Kenneth Branagh, but Tiny Tom was a heck of a lot closer to Dr. Loveless (although, to give Branagh credit, he did manage a good white trash Southern accent).

This cartoon series is one of those which absolutely needs a decent video release, just to show these lame-oids making so-called cartoons today how it should be done.

The Aardvark said...

I emailed H&B a few years ago re: a release. I believe a Ms. Halas responded (I lost that email in a crash. Meh.) They merely(!) animated the thing, CBS is likely who would be responsible for a release.

When bricks fly.
Halas and Batchelor do amazing little things, like wonderful hand movements, and facial expressions. Mr. Happy and Mr. Crystal (voiced by Willard Waterman and Howard Morris, respectively) are two such faces. I will have to do screen shots.

Can you discern the voice I brought up? I have heard a LOT of Vic Perrin, and Paul Winchell did at least three voices. Herb Vigran shows up as well.

Dick Beals does SUCH a great turn as Tiny Tom. Forget Branagh...Beals could give Michael Dunn a run for his money!

I just ordered a set that is more complete than what I have. I'll let you know if it is reasonably good.

Michael W said...

The Boss Ghost Rider isn't Jonathan Winters, and I'm not enough of a betting man to go with Perrin. I'm going to have to forfeit this one.

Doom said...

Merry Christmas. OT, but... hey... It's that time of the year.