Friday, 21 March 2014

Kitchen of Tomorrow

An MGM cartoon featured the house of tomorrow, today. No, it wasn’t Tex Avery’s “The House of Tomorrow” (1949). It was “Inside Cackle Corners,” released by the studio on November 10, 1951. Strictly speaking, it wasn’t an MGM cartoon. It was produced by the John Sutherland studio and made for Harding College as an educational film to tell Americans how great capitalism was, with wealth and happiness for all.

Boxoffice magazine reviewed it thusly in its edition a week after the release:

Inside Cackle Corners
MGM (Cartoon) 9 Mins.
Very good. The law of supply and demand is examined in a humorous vein. Mrs. Consumer is a steady customer in one shop until she is lured away by more progressive merchandise and lower prices in the store across the street. The first merchant discovers that his competitor’s success is due to re-investing profits. He does the same thing and wins Mrs. Consumer back. In Technicolor.

At the end, we see Mrs. Consumer’s modern home (part of the foreground is on an overlay), where a piping-hot dinner for the whole family automatically. An electronic gadget decides on its own that a dinner for three is in order. It beams a light to a box on the wall, a table comes out from a cupboard, stops under something that automatically drops place settings and food on it, then scoots into a cooker, then into the living room where, in an end gag, the family is watching wrestling on TV.

Art direction is by Gerry Nevius and Ed Starr. Animation credits go to Phil Monroe, late of Warner Bros., Arnold Gillespie, Bob Bemiller and Armin Shaffer, formerly of Disney. More top radio talent is in the cast; Herb Vigran (who narrates) and Frank Nelson should be easily recognisable. So should the other two voices but I can’t name them.

“Inside Cackle Corners” isn’t really as fun as some of the other Sutherland entries for Metro; “Make Mine Freedom” (1948) is far more visually interesting. This was the final cartoon from the studio released by MGM. Sutherland carried on to make some stellar industrial films.

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