Friday, 17 February 2017

Little Cesario

A little animal doesn’t get the respect of the big animals until he saves one and becomes a hero. Sounds like a Disney short, doesn’t it? Only it’s not. It’s from faux Disney producer Rudy Ising and the cartoon is Little Cesario.

The dogs have way too much ruffed fur, run around way too much, are in a land loaded with effects animation (blowing snow, splashes of alcoholic liquid from broken barrels), and the title character leaves you with that aw-shucks-gee feeling you get in some Disney cartoons. But very un-Disneylike is a gag straight out of Tex Avery.

“Even Little Cesario didn’t miss a thing,” says narrator Frank Bingman. It turns out to be a dog/tree gag.

The narrator clears his throat. Little Cesario looks ashamed. There’s a little cycle of the dog’s tail banging against the ground bringing up puffs of snow. You can’t see it too well in the frame grab below.

There’s a literal gag later in the cartoon. “Then, suddenly, he froze,” says the narrator.

“Deep inside Little Cesario, something snapped.” Fred McAlpin lays down a “snap” sound effect and the uncredited animator gives us some multiples, with more effect brushwork by the MGM ink and paint department.

The cartoon reaches its climax as Little Cesario saves the day through his own clumsiness and good intentions. He then disappears into the Home For Retired One-Shot Cartoon characters after a stop at Dell Publishing where his story was adapted into a comic book in 1943 (and reprinted in 1952).

Bob Allen directed this cartoon for Ising. Some model sheets for this short are dated September 17, 1940. The cartoon was copyrighted the following September 4th.


  1. AMongst other things, this blog's excellent,Yowp, for finding about previously uncelebrated theatrical voices, who were uncredited, like this Frank Bingman. I'd first misread as Bingham, then saw again, Bingman, never even heard of him..SC

  2. There's a dog/tree gag in Disney's Alpine Climbers (1936), courtesy of Happy Homer Brightman.

    1. TCJ, thanks for the info.
      I wonder if dog/tree dates back to silents.
      Avery sure loved the gag in the '30s.

  3. Steve, Bingman was the announcer for Gildersleeve (until he went into the Signal Corps in WW2), Joan Davis and My Friend Irma, and was a newscaster on NBC. He did some of the hitchhikes for Wheat Meal on the Benny show and was even identified by name on one or two of them.
    Disney hired him for a Navy short during the war but I don't know which one it was.