Monday, 30 April 2012

Mr Jinks Pretzel

The Hanna-Barbera TV cartoon studio will never be accused of fluid animation. But when the studio opened in 1957, it had the most elaborate for-TV animation seen to date. And there were some funny poses, too, at least for a few years after ‘The Huckleberry Hound Show’ made its debut the following year.

Huck had three main animators—Ken Muse, Lew Marshall and Carlo Vinci, who had all been in the Hanna-Barbera unit at MGM. But some of the earliest cartoons on the show (which also featured Yogi Bear and Pixie and Dixie), Mike Lah took care of maybe a minute’s worth of footage. Lah’s drawings don’t look all that polished; odd considering he went from Disney to MGM. But he seems to have been given some of the funniest poses to do.

Lah takes care of some of the action in ‘Judo Jack’ (1958), including a scene where the stereotype Japanese mouse puts Mr. Jinks in an airplane spin. Lah has a couple of swirl drawings shot on twos and then the gag pose.

The credited animator is Muse.

Lah was working at Quartet Films, a commercial house, at the time, so I can only presume he was freelancing at Hanna-Barbera. He animated a couple of cartoons on his own with his distinctive drawing style. It’s a shame he didn’t stay longer.

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