Tuesday, 30 October 2018

A Witch's Tale to Tom

Tom is deathly afraid as he listens to “The Witch’s Tale” on his radio in Fraidy Cat. It’s perhaps even scarier because “The Witch’s Tale” went off the air in 1938 and the cartoon was released in 1942. An unexplained, chilling voice from the past coming out of the radio! Bwaa-ha-haaaa!

“The Witch’s Tale” starred Martha Wentworth as Old Nancy, the elderly witch. Wentworth reprised her role in Fraidy Cat, cackling and relating a tale of mocking, echoing laughter as a girl is trapped in a lonely tower.

Joe Barbera (with an assist from his gag writer, perhaps) comes up with visual puns narrated by the witch. Tom acts them out as he listens.

“The helpless girl feels her hair stand on end.”

“Icy chills race down her spine.” A large ice cube eventually forms and clunks to the floor.

“Her heart leaps into her throat.”

A scream is heard on the radio. Tom races out in fear (after his feet rotate in mid-air for about two seconds). Notice how Tom still has his eyes on the radio.

No animators are credited. Barbera and Bill Hanna get the only credit. Scott Bradley contributes an appropriate score with woodwinds during the witch’s frightening story.


  1. This is all animated by George Gordon. His cutesy 30's-esque drawing style actually starts this cartoon really fittingly, like a more modern Silly Symphony.

  2. Hugh Harman used the same line with Wentworth in his 1936 Happy Harmonies effort "Bottles", when the show was still on the air. Joe Barbera was still off at Terrytoons at the time, but Bill Hanna may have remembered the line and thought it would be a good way to start off this cartoon.