Friday, 2 January 2015

A Devil of a Cartoon

The devil disguises himself as a tycoon at a swank dinner between a business baron and John Q. Public in “The Devil and John Q,” a 1952 John Sutherland anti-Communism short.

Here are some poses as the devil (devil = Godless Communism) tries to con the pair into keeping profits high (“and keep labour right under our thumb”), then reacts to John Q’s counter argument about high prices causing inflation. See the eye stretch as the businessman is shocked.

Variety explained a little about Sutherland’s operation at the time this short was made. MGM had released six of Sutherland’s shorts before their deal was quietly ended. The last Sutherland cartoon put into theatres by Metro was “Inside Cackle Corners” as of November 10, 1951. This story was published on February 28, 1952.
Industrial Film Prod’n Booms For Sutherland
In an expansion of industrial film activities, John Sutherland Productions is prepping a 45-minute feature for National Carbon Co., and a 30-minute feature for Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Co. Carbon Co. picture will be filmed in color, on subject of industrial public relations, and is for use by its sponsor both on TV and before groups. Kaiser film will be in 16m Kodachrome, and combo live-action and animation.
Sutherland is now doing final editing on an animated film turned out in Technicolor for the NY Stock Exchange, tagged “What Makes Us Tick.” Two additional Technicolor animation shorts also are being started for program which Metro in the past has released. First is “Dear Uncle,” dealing with taxes, and second, “The Devil and John Q,” on inflation.
Three previous shorts in this series received awards from Freedom’s Foundation in Valley Forge, for achievements showing the American way of life. Trio included “Make Mine Freedom,” which won the award in 1949; “Albert in Blunderland,” 1950 winner; and “Why Play Leapfrog,” 1951 winner.
The animation in this short was handled by Arnold Gillespie, Emery Hawkins, Bill Higgins and Russ Van Neida. There’s a great opening theme with blaring trumpets by Les Baxter. Sutherland seems to have had a stock company of voice actors around this time. Frank Nelson is terrific as the devil. I don’t know who is voicing John Q, but you can hear Bud Hiestand, Herb Vigran and someone I’m pretty sure is Harry Morgan (as Abe Lincoln) on the soundtrack.


  1. That's Emery Hawkins's scene you've featured in this post.