Friday, 12 May 2017

A Lantz Cow

People love laughing at yokels. Universal discovered that with The Egg and I, a 1947 film stolen by Percy Kilbride and Marjorie Main as Pa and Ma Kettle (the leads were actually Fred MacMurray and Claudette Colbert). The studio decided to build a series of films around the supporting players, which proved to be a very profitable decision.

Universal distributed cartoons by Walter Lantz, who decided what was good enough for feature films was good enough for him. So he came up with a Maw and Paw series in 1953, with Dal McKennon sounding more like Parker Fennelly’s Titus Moody than Kilbride.

Unfortunately, the Lantz cartoons, with very few exceptions, stopped being funny in the ‘50s. The first Maw and Paw short may have had laughs in Homer Brightman’s story meeting, but there probably weren’t many in theatres. The presence of a “smart pig” in the cartoon brings to mind comparisons with the later TV series Green Acres. The difference is Green Acres had surrealism and subtle satire. This cartoon had Brightman and Paul J. Smith.

Here are some of the drawings of a take by a cow which sees it’s about to be run over by a modern, streamlined car driven by the pig.

Ken Southworth, Gil Turner and Bob Bentley are the animators in this cartoon.

1 comment:

  1. Maybe McKennon was psychic. Fennelly ended up taking over for Kilbride in the last Ma & Pa film, 1957's The Kettles on Old MacDonald's Farm.