Monday 30 November 2020

Familiar Character Designs

Wide open mouths with slit tongue? Huge black pupils? How many Warner Bros. cartoon characters does that describe? Plenty.

There are a bunch in the 1932 Merrie Melodies short Pagan Moon, which features singing and dancing, a villain threatening the hero and the same squeaky falsetto voice you hear on almost all the shorts made by Harman-Ising for the studio.

Look at these way-too-happy fish in the background ecstatic over the trumpet playing of another fish.

In an extended gag, another happy fish (fish with hands?) trips and lands inside a trombone played by another fish.

Want the old caterpillar-parts-separate routine? Here it is as a fish plays a clarinet. The caterpillar is very happy, too.

Ham Hamilton and Norm Blackburn are the credited animators.

Variety of September 29, 1931 has this interesting little story about trying to get the title song into a Warners film.
Fastest campaign on a song ever started by Witmark emanates from local office with coast plugging on ‘Pagan Moon,’ Dubin-Burke tune written about six months ago. Buddy Morris, head of Witmarks and out here to spot numbers in Warner pictures, heard the ditty at the studio and ordered professional copies and vocal arrangements made here [Hollywood]. Number will be started west by Art Schwartz and material shipped east for a swift campaign there.

Sunday 29 November 2020

Victory in Victoria

The Orpheum circuit in the 1910s and 1920s saw troupes stop in Vancouver, take the ferry over to Victoria for performances, then take another ferry to Seattle for a stay before heading down the West Coast on their remaining stops, ending in Los Angeles.

Jack Benny was an Orpheum player and took that route several times over the course of his career. He re-lived it, in a way, in 1944 when his radio cast came to British Columbia to raise money in a Victory Loan drive. Their first stop was in New Westminster, followed by shows in Vancouver (including a radio broadcast) and then chugging over to Victoria to appear on stage yet again.

Instead of reporting on the performance, let’s reprint what amounts to an editorial from the Victoria Times of April 28, 1944. It mainly deals with the Benny cast as people, and treats them warmly. Incidentally, Dennis Day left for military service after the Vancouver shows, hence no mention of him here.

Fred Allen was off the air at the time, so New York-based John Brown and Minerva Pious were added to Benny’s secondary cast (they must have been shooting films in Hollywood at the time). As enjoyable as they are, they always sound like they’ve somehow found their way onto the wrong radio programme. You expect to hear Bea Benaderet or Joe Kearns or Mel Blanc, you don’t expect to hear John Doe and Mrs. Nussbaum.

And So Farewell To Jack Benny et al

Victorians can now sit back and think over the two most thrilling days the populace have spent in a long, long time . . . Jack Benny, Mary Livingston, Rochester, Phil Harris, Don Wilson and all the merry crew have sailed from our shores, back to be our good neighbors in the United States. But the Benny visit will live long in the memories of Victorians. Mary's charm, Don's girth, Phil's genial smile and the fact that he received the news of the birth of a 6 1/2 -pound daughter while here . . . Benny's happy manner . . . all these will long be remembered.
The most outstanding thing about the Benny crew is their complete and unadulterated adoration for Jack and Mary. In the fact that some of the troupe have been working together for many years, and have kept working happily all that time lies the real secret of Benny's spectacular success as a radio entertainer. There is no doubt that he would have been equally successful in any other field, for Jack Benny understands human nature, he knows that all human beings have their faults ... he laughingly told reporters that Rochester has a most wonderful disposition, nothing ever flusters Rochester, he's always a regular guy, but he's got one minor fault. He's always late, he finds it irksome to have to be at a certain place at a certain time, "but," said Jack, "when you really get to know Rochester, and what a swell fellow he really is, you'd forgive him for a whale of a lot more than merely being a few minutes late occasionally."
Then take Mary Livingston, a whole lot of adjectives would fit Mary, she's slim, willowy, pretty, and for 13 years she's been heckling her husband on the air. But, according to Sara Bernard [sic] (who is known on the air as Gladys Gybisco) [sic], Mary does more than merely heckle Jack. She helps iron out all sorts of rough spots that crop up. She's willing to listen to the troubles of any of the 23 members of the Benny crew, at any time, whether it has to do with a part that won't just come right, or is of a purely personal nature. She's a real talent scout, too, and has the rare knack of drawing out latent talent and giving people that confidence in themselves which is so vital to those who are continually before the public. Every member of the party had a word of admiration for Jack and Mary.
Phil Harris was so thrilled with the news of his new daughter that he could hardly stand still long enough to talk coherently, but when questioned as to what he thought of the huge crowds he said, "you know it's a most wonderful tribute to see all you people turn out just to see us, we appreciate it tremendously, and we like the way Canadians are so friendly and happy to see us, yet you realize we are just people like any ordinary folks, and are willing to let us be a little private . . . that's considerate and thoughtful."
Don Wilson proved to be just as good natured close up as he sounds over the air. He always seems to stand in a relaxed fashion, with his hands in his pockets, ready with a quip and jest on the slightest provocation.
New to the Benny gang, is John Brown, but those who have followed the long-standing feud between Benny and Allan [sic] are quite familiar with John Brown, for he was with Fred Allen for over 10 years. He takes the part of an odd little character on the Benny program, without much initiative, until he starts to sing, and then he really gives out those who heard his rendition of "Knock 'em In the Old Kent Road" on Tuesday night will not be surprised to learn that John Brown was born in England, in the city of Hull, Yorkshire, and off the air his speaking voice could be matched with many in Victoria.
Rochester was not feeling at all well while in Victoria, and those who saw him perform had him to go through with his jokes and songs, he appeared to be the very essence of vitality and pep, and went into his routine with an engaging grin that sometimes resolved itself into a deep rumbling chuckle that impelled all within hearing to laugh with him. No, no one guessed it, but Rochester had to be rushed back to his hotel after each performance to lie down and rest.
When asked how he goes about producing a program, Jack Benny was quite willing to elucidate. "I have four writers," he said, "and after the performance on Sunday, we all just coast along for a couple of days . . oh, the writers may get together and talk over a few things, but they don't really get down to business until about Wednesday. On Thursdays I sit in on a session and go over the first draft . . . we iron out a few details and the writers do some more work on it. Then about Saturday we get the whole gang together and read over the script, and rehash it some more. We read it over again Sunday morning, and again at about 2 in the afternoon, and make changes each time. We don't actually have what you'd call a rehearsal, it's more alive if we don't get a chance to go stale on it."
Typical of Benny was his insistence that the armed forces get preference over all others at his shows. He came to Canada primarily to help launch the Sixth Victory Loan, to help to give our men the tools to finish the job of war, and secondly he wanted to greet the men who will use those tools. His final message as he boarded the gangplank of his ship was to wish Victorians good luck and godspeed in making their quota in Canada's Sixth Victory Loan.

Saturday 28 November 2020

Paul Terry Wants You To Laugh

Everyone needs laughs, felt Fred McConnell, so he set about to make it happen.

The year was 1925. An executive with Pathé named Elmer Pearson wrote letters saying that one and two-reel films weren’t getting the attention they should. That resulted in a meeting of short subject producers and film trade news publishers at the palatial estate of Universal’s Carl Laemmle on upper Fifth Avenue in New York. It was here that McConnell, who had written and directed short films, proposed a “Laugh Month,” where one and two-reel comedies would be promoted. So it was that January 1926 was picked as “Laugh Month.”

Jumping onto the Laugh Month promotional train was none other than Paul Terry.

These days, Terry is known for Mighty Mouse and Heckle and Jeckle, but he went back into the silent era, attempting to sell his first cartoon in 1915. By 1921, he had a job at a new studio. Exhibitor’s Trade Review wrote in its edition of February 27, 1926:
When Aesop's Film Fables were first produced from the screen a staff of only three artists was employed. At that time Farmer Al Falfa, the cat, dogs, mice, and other animals, jumped about on the screen. But in spite of the imperfection in movement the Fables caught on with the public almost instantly. The producers sensed the need of a more finished product and the force of artists was greatly augmented until now there are two dozen employed by Cartoonist Paul Terry.
The Fables were churned out once a week. Cartoons released during “Laugh Week” were The Gold Push (Jan. 3), Three Blind Mice (Jan. 10), Lighter Than Air (Jan. 17), Little Brown Jug (Jan. 24) and A June Bride (Jan. 31). All were 2/3rds of a reel in in length.

Terry also took the opportunity of “Laugh Week” to make his first-ever personal appearance. It was reported in Exhibitor’s Trade Review of January 30, 1926. The same article, with the exception of the last line, appeared in Motion Picture World of February 6th. Terry was 38 at the time. I suggest the picture of Terry that accompanied the article is of a somewhat younger man.
Modern Aesop Boosts Laugh Month
PAUL TERRY, cartoonist of Aesop's Film Fables, made his first personal appearance since his entry into the film field on Saturday evening, January 23, to help Sydney Cohen and Felix Feist well known film men, present a Laugh Month movie program at the famous Metropolis Club on West 57th street, New York City, upon the occasion of a special dinner, entertainment and dance.
As vice-president of the Metropolis Club, Sydney Cohen is very active in the entertainment activities, as is befitting this well known New York exhibitor, who is nationally known as former president and now chairman of the board of directors of the Motion) Picture Theatre Owners of America. Cohen has staged several movie nights at the Club, but he wanted something out of the ordinary for Laugh Month movie night. Being a short subject enthusiast, he sought the aid of Paul Terry in making up his program.
"We want you to come up and tell the folks how you make your film fables," Cohen told Terry. The creator of the Pathe cartoon comics explained that that was something he had never attempted before an audience, but Cohen was a good salesman and told Terry that it would be a boost for Laugh Month. That settled it.
"I'll be there!" exclaimed Terry.
Short subjects in general were paid a marked tribute by Mr. Cohen in his remarks on Saturday evening. He explained to the audience that his fellow exhibitors and he do not depend entirely upon so called features for their programs, stating, in part:
"There are many meritorious short subjects which are features in their appeal. We have short comedies, news reels and novelties like Aesop's Fables and Topics, which we are showing here tonight. The shorts are very entertaining and very popular. We in the motion picture business are celebrating Laugh Month, and for our program this evening we have a comedy program with a personal appearance of a different kind of star— the creator of Aesop's Film Fables cartoon movies, Paul Terry, making his first personal appearance."
Before the audience of about eight hundred members of the Metropolis City and Country Club and their friends, Terry explained all the intricacies of making cartoon movies move. After a detailed description of the progressive stages of the work, the cartoonist drew Henry Cat in a sequence of poses. Then, by a clever manipulation of the sheets of drawings, he made Henry do a Charleston that took the house by storm. Terry closed his talk by answering questions of the audience upon various phases of fable filming.
Two pre-release subjects of Aesop's Film Fables, embodying the drawings previously explained by Terry, were thrown on the screen. "Hearts and Showers," in particular, proved a laugh riot with the Metropolis members.
Through the courtesy of Amedee J. Van Beuren, of the Fables and Topics organizations, a special Metropolis Club reel of "Topics of the Day" was shown. This reel was replete with jokes and humor with local appeal, bringing the names of club members into the mirth mentions on the screen. It proved a striking climax to the Laugh Month screen entertainment.
How many of Terry’s Fables have survived isn’t know. They suddenly had value in the late 1940s when TV stations were looking for anything that might appeal to children. Commonwealth Films had acquired the ancient cartoons; Terry had no rights to them as he had been fired from the Fables studio in 1929. Commonwealth slapped some Valentino production music in the background and peddled them to television. No doubt that helped numbers of them survive in some kind of form.

Exhibitor’s Trade Review gave little roundups of some of the shorts—there were so many back then it would have been impossible to review all of them—but here are some for the Fables films mentioned above.
"Lighter Than Air"
Pathe 1 reel
The prolific Paul Terry's latest animated cartoon is one of the funniest of the "Aesop's Film Fables." One wonders at the absence of any signs of strain that seems inevitable when you consider the frequency of issue of this series. Mr. Terry's ideas, however, seem to flow like water from an open faucet. [Note: no spoilers here, right?]

"The Little Brown Jug"
Pathe 1 reel
From the ingenious pen of Paul Terry again emerges a diverting cartoonic that deserves a place on any program. Mr. Terry's animated cartoon creations all go a-fishing and competition is very keen. This, together with the fact that the fish aren't the proverbial "poor fish" as evidenced by their deftness in removing the bait without biting, causes a run of tough luck for the fishermen. A very entertaining bit is a calisthenic class at the bottom of the sea consisting of a number of little fish, with a large fish as the instructor.
By the way, one of the members of the committee in charge of National Laugh Month was a Fox Films executive named Fred C. Quimby. He had nothing to do with cartoons in 1926, but some years later, he hired people named Bill Hanna, Joe Barbera and Tex Avery who provided months and months worth of laughs.

Friday 27 November 2020

Bluegrass Banjo Bear

Some nice positions highlight a scene in The Ragtime Bear (1949) where Waldo’s banjo lands in the hands of the aforementioned bear, who curiously pulls on a string, realises he’s making music and starts playing bluegrass (not ragtime).

The strings don’t move while the bear is strumming the instrument. There’s some very fluid animation of the bear in the previous scene. Rudy Larriva, Willie Pyle, Art Babbitt and Pat Matthews are the animators in what was the first Mr. Magoo short.

Thursday 26 November 2020

Accessories Cost a Bit Extra

Tex Avery once remarked that in spot gag cartoons, his idea was to put the strongest gag at the end, if possible. Evidently it wasn’t possible in Car of Tomorrow (1951).

In fact, Tex and his two gagmen came up with the cheapest ending imaginable. There’s no animation. One drawing fades overtop of another.

Narrator Gil Warren says: “Last, but not, least, here’s something this country has always needed—a good, low-priced car that will fit the working man’s pocketbook. Priced very reasonably. Only $545. Of course, with accessories, it’s a bit higher.”

Fade in the next drawing.

“Good night,” says Warren. And that ends the cartoon.

Even the previous gag involving shaving and the driver tipping his head would have been stronger (and “Good night!” as he tipped would have fit the dialogue). Or maybe adding each outrageous accessory and the cost keeps rising (Henry Morgan did that routine on radio once).

Mike Lah, Grant Simmons and Walt Clinton are the animators.

Wednesday 25 November 2020

Stardom Awaits Carol

Tickets went on sale on April 12, 1954 for the fourth annual UCLA varsity show called “Love Thy Coach.” It was about a female football coach who led her team to the national finals. You could easily picture this as a sketch on the old Carol Burnett variety show. That shouldn’t be a surprise because the star of that on-campus musical comedy was a student named Carol Burnett.

She wasn’t exactly an overnight sensation but she certainly grabbed people’s attention while she was still in school. Within five years she was cavorting on Garry Moore’s prime-time variety show. In between were stops on a puppet show, a sitcom and New York nightclubs where critics loved her zany satiric songs. Here’s a story from the TV Key syndicated news service from December 23, 1956.
Stanley's Girl Friend is Burnett

"Stanley's" got a girl friend. Her name is Carol Burnett and, though she plays it rough and ready when she appears opposite Buddy Hackett, off-camera the girl's really very quiet and well behaved. What's more important, she's apparently both lucky and determined. Maybe that's why Max Liebman hired her. He's determined to be lucky with "Stanley." And, let's face it, luck is often cheaper than hiring good writers and is sometimes more effective.
" 'Stanley' is the first non-musical thing I've ever done," Carol told me, as if she could still hardly believe it. "I've always wanted to be a musical-comedy performer. But I'm glad to be doing 'Stanley.' Now I won't get typed as just a musical performer." She thought for a moment. "Maybe I'll get typed as a straight comedy performer."
IF YOU'RE wondering where you might have seen Carol in musical comedy, she was the one who did such a good job of impersonating Ethel Merman on the recent Omnibus which traced the development of musical comedy. And on December 17, 1955, she began a series of appearances on the Paul Winchell show.
"I'll always remember that date," Carol told me "On the first day I appeared on the show, I married Don (Husband Don Saroyan). That was only a year ago," she mulled. "To hear him tell it, you'd think it was ten."
Carol Burnett's career began when she and Don were attending UCLA. "I wanted to be a journalist," she said, "but they didn't have an undergraduate school of journalism. So I took some theater courses as the closest thing to journalism and the bug bit. My career dates from the time Don and I worked up a scene from 'Annie Get Your Gun' to do at a party.
"ONE OF the guests approached us afterward and asked why we weren't in New York. When we explained it was a matter of finances, he told us to contact him the following week and he'd take care of our expenses. We were sure he was drunk, but we didn't take any chances. We called him and he told us to come to his office.
"Believe it or not, he handed us a check each for $1,000, told us it was a five-year loan, made us promise to use it exclusively for our careers. He made us promise to help someone else later on if we could afford to." Carol swears that's the true story.
After arriving in New York, Carol moved into the Rehearsal Club, a theatrical residence for girls and, when things didn't start humming immediately, organized a revue featuring the Club's members and directed by future hubby Don.
NATURALLY, the show was covered by agents, got her summer bookings and led to her being used on Omnibus and hired for "Stanley."
"Buddy's fun to work with," she volunteered. "You never know what's going to come out of his mouth. He'll make up words and stray from the script. (Ed note: This helps). I love his spontaneity."
In case you're wondering what sort of a struggle Carol went through to get the part, here's how she tells it: "I had about fifteen minutes warning that I was going to read for Mr. Liebman. He pushed me right in with Buddy Hackett and an hour and a half later they called me at home to say I was hired for the first show. Since then, they've picked up my option. I hate auditions, but this one happened so fast, I hardly knew what hit me."
Burnett headed to New York. She appeared on Garry Moore’s daytime show and in one of the city’s big cabarets. Maybe the biggest rave she got in print was in Robert C. Ruark’s column for the United Features Syndicate. He wasn’t an entertainment reporter, he was found in the editorial section. This appeared in papers starting around June 25, 1957. Interestingly, the song Burnett did in her act that got her all kinds of attention (and TV appearances) is not mentioned in the column. In any case, she sang “I Made a Fool of Myself Over John Foster Dulles” on Jack Paar’s show on August 6, 1957 and got a call two days later from Secretary Dulles at the State Department asking her to fly to Washington and sing it for him.
New Singing Star
NEW YORK—I have a very peculiar talent, involving no effort on my part, of stumbling onto talent. So it involves no personal braggadocio when I say I came all the way from Tanganyika to catch a lass named Carol Burnett on her first night at a popular club called the Blue Angel in this wicked city.
You will be hearing Miss Burnett, who is young, redheaded, personable, possessed of a vicious sense of humor, and who can sing real good, too, when I am old and gray and possibly gone. The Blue Angel is infallible that way, or how else would this particular saloon have kicked off a list which includes Eartha Kitt, Harry Belafonte, Judy Holliday, Andy Griffith, Yul Brynner, Eddie Mayehoff and a muckle of others when nobody knew them but their mothers and me?
SISTER BURNETT IS A Texas gal who was brought up in California, and she got into show business by guess, luck and a borrowed thousand bucks to come to New York.
The borrowed thousand came from a slightly-loaded gentleman who caught her final exam at a private party at UCLA. The party was given by her professor in something called the Opera Workshop, and also embraced popular stuff. Carol and her husband, Don Saroyan, did a couple of scenes from “Annie Get Your Gun” and the loaded gentleman advanced the money for the Eastward Ho! on grounds that they'd not tell his name and would also pay the dough back by 1959.
She was hit with a crash, so the money will get paid back by the end of this year, but the point is that her first night-club singing engagement also marked her first actual entrance into a New York night club.
While she was starving slightly at the Rehearsal Club here, she and the other kids hired a hall, put on a review, and my red-headed friend suddenly found herself signed by Martin Goodman, one of the better flesh-peddlers, and saw herself shoved immediately into TV, with the likes of Garry Moore and Ed Sullivan—while still never having done a night-club turn. Enough of that. She’s signed for a solid six.
This gal is so new to the racket that she’s afraid to sing straight and is relying on satire—satire which is more devastating than that of Florence Desmond at her best. (And I should love to see her doing Flossie Desmond at her best.)
This is treason, but she can even carve up my gal, Lena Horne. Carol does a thing which she calls, “The girl with the wet teeth,” in which she sings “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” in the best Horne fashion. And she manages to make it sound sexier than Lena singing “I Love to Love,” and in the precise Horne glissando. Lena should sue.
Carol has kidded the current hillbilly nonsense with a song called “Puppy Love”—and kidded it so well that Decca, which issues it shortly, is undecided as to whether to present it straight or satirical. She has managed to murder Marlene in her bit about the beautiful doll in the lovely dress who sings on one note and who manages to hit the flattest flat ever contrived by palate of woman.
SHE HAS TAKEN LADY weather forecasters and reduced them to shreds, including the Tennessee Williams fan who doesn't know why the sun has to sink and why everything must end this way.
She has assassinated the musical comedy stars who sing high, low and overdrive, and the girl who has sung with a band so long that all she can do is smile, even when she’s singing “The Man Who Got Away.”
She has wrecked the movie star who turns up at Vegas (with four of the hardest-working chorus boys ever seen) who concludes her act with a simpering bow and the statement: “In all humility, if I don’t win the Academy Award this year—it’s fixed.”
And on top of it all she can sing, act, and sell. Remember Miss Carol Burnett. If a truck doesn't scrag her crossing streets, she will adorn a lot of theater marquees and magazine covers as time wears on.
No, a truck didn’t “scrag” her. I’m sure you know where her career went from here. Robert Ruark died in 1965. His prediction came true after all. That shouldn’t be a surprise, either.

Guess Who?

Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny took away stardom from mild Porky Pig. Donald Duck took away stardom from mild Mickey Mouse. And so it was Woody Woodpecker took away stardom from mild Andy Panda.

It was just in time for the Walter Lantz studio, too.

Lantz toodled along through the ‘30s as Oswald the Lucky Rabbit became, well, mild. He tried cartoons with monkeys. He tried cartoons with a Great Dane. He tried a kid mouse. He tried a stereotyped black boy. Finally, he hit on a panda. So it was cartoons were made with a boy panda and a slow-burning, somewhat clumsy father.

Enter Bugs Hardaway.

Hardaway had quit Leon Schlesinger’s studio in 1940 but brought with him an idea which was with a heckling, insane rabbit. Hardaway put a bird suit on him, and Woody Woodpecker was born. He stole the show from the pandas in his debut, Knock Knock, which was released 80 years ago today. Lantz had signed a deal with Universal on August 27, 1940 and Variety reported on September 4th that one of 13 proposed cartoons was Knock Knock. Evidently it had been in the planning stages.

Here are some frames of Woody making his entrance. Daddy Panda fails to swat him with a two-by-four and Woody responds with a cartoon nose honk.

And, because I like looking for these, here are two consecutive frames. Where did the sawdust go?

Don’t buy the story that Woody was invented because of Walter Lantz’s honeymoon with Grace Stafford. They were even married yet. That tale started surfacing some time in the 1960s. Hardaway and long-time Lantzer Lowell Elliot get the story credit in this short. Alex Lovy and his brother-in-law Frank Tipper are credited as “artists” and former Harman-Ising musical director Frank Marsales is credited with the score. Darrell Calker wasn’t signed by the studio until December. By then, Lantz was having trouble with the Hays Office, which rejected the title Crumbs Along the Mohawk and he had to change it to Syncopated Sioux.

Sara Berner is Andy Panda and Mel Blanc plays Woody and Daddy Panda. Background artist Edgar Kiechle is uncredited.

Woody went through several designs—I still like the gooney design in this cartoon—and starred in some pretty fair cartoons in the 1940s. Lantz was forced to shut down for a couple of years, then cheapened out when he re-opened in the ‘50s. Woody went through a slow decline until he was as unfunny as he was unwatchable in the early ‘70s. He was revived for television some years later but remains one of the big stars of the theatrical cartoon era.

Tuesday 24 November 2020

How To Murder a Cuckoo

The Cuckoo Murder Case was the fourth Flip the Frog cartoon released by MGM and it’s miles ahead of the first one that hit theatres earlier in 1930. There’s atmosphere as the cartoon opens with a storm with flashes of light in a living room.

Cut to a close-up of the cuckoo clock with a gag involving (what else?) the hand of the clock stabbing the cuckoo in the butt.

Cut to a shadow of a gun, then the murder. A bullet misses the bird, but reverses course and puts a hole in its target. In the absence of a lily, the bird uses a daisy as it dies and falls out of the cartoon.

The Motion Picture News from November 1, 1930 gives these as the Flip release dates:
Fiddlesticks, Aug. 16, 1930
Flying Fists, Sept. 6, 1930
The Village Barber, Sept. 27, 1930
The Cuckoo Murder Case, Oct. 18, 1930

The trade paper’s review:

Cuckoo Murder Mystery
FIFTEEN or more of animated cartoons on the market at one time make the going tough for this short. That is, unless they’re turned out with the cleverness of “Cuckoo Murder Case,” of the “Flip the Frog” subjects produced by Ub Iwerks. Here, the cartoonist takes the usual mystery slant but send it over with loads to spare. The answer is in the treatment. Iwerks has Flip go through the most amazing contortions. This shows real thought.