Thursday, 25 June 2015

Telescope Eyes

Screen Gems cartoons of the mid-‘40s were, at best, watered down versions of Warner Bros. or MGM shorts, complete with pirated characters. At worst, they were just plain bizarre.

Here’s a telescope-eye take from Bob Wickersham’s “Snap Happy Traps”; it’s the kind you’d find in a Woody Woodpecker cartoon. A young mountain lion—at least, I think that’s what it is—doesn’t like milk fed to it by a Barney Bear stand-in. Why? Who knows. Columbia cartoons don’t make a lot of sense at times.

The animation can be pretty good in these Columbias—Chick Otterstrom and Ben Lloyd get the credits on this one—but Cal Howard’s stories are all over the place. Why does the bear dress up like a mouse? Howard doesn’t seem to care as long as there’s a gag in there (when the gags fit, they’re not too bad. There’s a funny one about a mousie cheering squad that zips into the scene, complete with bleachers).

The guy who does the dopey dog voice on “Kitty Caddy” and Meathead in the MGM cartoons makes an appearance in this one as the bear.


  1. The mountain lion cub doesn't like cow's milk, because he is used to mountain lion milk and wild caught game. The bear dresses up like a mouse because he's trying to teach the cub to hunt mice. The bear's house is over-run with mice, and he thinks the cub is a domestic "kittie". I think you are pretty unfair to "Snap Happy Traps", it's one of my favorite Phantasy cartoons, and the story makes a great deal of sense if you just pay attention to it.

  2. Eh....the 'Color Rhapsodies' have always been my favorite of the Columbia batch (still waiting for a DVD release). But, of course, nothing can beat "Kongo Roo" in sheer bizarreness.....

  3. The cub looks like a tiger to me.SC

  4. I'd argue that the animation quality of Screen Gems can more often than not ALMOST compete with Disney, but yeah in general, the studio's stories are either bizarre or underwhelming to say the least. Although this short itself is nowhere near the worst (let alone bad) compared to some of the others (*cough*Mass Mouse Meeting*cough*).