Friday, 30 May 2014

Dodsworth

Bob McKimson seems to have had hopes he could create another successful new cartoon character in a fat, lazy, con-artist cat named Dodsworth. He even went to the trouble of bringing in Sheldon Leonard to voice the character. But perhaps Dodsworth was too low key for any kind of stardom. He disappeared after two cartoons—“Kiddin’ the Kitten” and “A Peck o’ Trouble,” both copyrighted in 1951. The former has the Rosemary Clooney kids song “Peterkin Pillowby” as the opening theme.

Here are some of Dodsworth’s expressions from “Kiddin’ the Kitten.” He spends about half of the short with his eyes closed. He fumbles his hands and arms around when he’s startled and, below, you can see him cross-eyed when he’s surprised by his owner’s shouting at him.



The “calmed” version of Rod Scribner, Chuck McKimson and Phil De Lara are only ones who get an animation credit on this cartoon. Bea Benaderet and Mel Blanc provide the other voices.

7 comments:

  1. The first cartoon, combined with Leonard's voice work, was effective (certainly moreso than Sheldon's cereal-pitching character from a decade later). The follow-up was basically a re-hash of the basic plot of the original, only taken outdoors. McKimson was smart not to beat a soon-to-be-dead horse into the ground with a series of repetitive efforts (and besides, he already had that base covered with his Sylvester-Hippety Hopper cartoons...)

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  2. Gotta love the defiant mice's finger-snapping.

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  3. Sheldon Leonard would also do a third cartoon for the studio and director, sped-up: the fighting rooster in the Foghorn Leghorn short made a year or two later, "Sock-a-Doodle-Doo". BTW I enjoy Linus the Lionhearted and Leonard's voice for that pitchman..!SteveC

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  4. You know, in retrospect, I think Charles Bronson would've owed a lot to Sheldon Leonard in terms of vocal delivery. The two just sounded so much alike, it's as if they were both raised in the same neighborhood.

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  5. Perhaps Sheldon Leonard's biggest claims to fame are a small part in "It's A Wonderful Life" as Nick the barkeep (who only sounds like Dodsworth in the "Pottersville" alternative reality) and having the two lead characters from "The Big Bang Theory" named after him for some reason.

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  6. Incidentally, notice that Mel Blanc isn't credited on the short -- but he did do a voice?

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  7. Yeah, Spec., he did the kitten. Probably archival meows.

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