Engine Co. No. 1 is replacing faithful fire horse Old Smokey with a new engine, which Der Captain is very proud of. He soon gets a chance to test it, when his panicked wife calls; ... See full summary »
Engine Co. No. 1 is replacing faithful fire horse Old Smokey with a new engine, which Der Captain is very proud of. He soon gets a chance to test it, when his panicked wife calls; unfortunately, he's still learning how to use it. As he arrives, the ladder extends to its full range, with the Captain on top and most of the rungs missing. Fortunately, Old Smokey and the Inspector are plodding along nearby; Smokey smells the smoke, which whips him into action. Smokey saves the house, Mama, the Captain, and, in the process, himself. Written by
Jon Reeves <email@example.com>
Interesting, but flawed, as the series was overall
The problems with taking a known source material from one medium and attempting to translate it to another are manifold. Aside from a built-in fan base for the original work ready to pounce with sometimes malicious glee on the adaptation and tear it to shreds with flensing knives, there is the definite prospect that the adaptation doesn't work well between the differing media. From static media to active media (i.e., print to film) the transition requirements are challenging, to say the least. As far as animation goes, Betty Boop and Popeye made the leap successfully and Der Captain and the Kids did not, in part for the same reasons: the Fleischer Studio seemed to understand the source material better than MGM did Der Captain and the Kids, for one thing. But more importantly, Betty Boop and Popeye are more dynamic personalities with greater room to grow in the new medium, while Der Captain and the Kids had characters that were less dynamic and more stereotypical and thus gave the animators and writers less to work with. Ironically, the best proof of this comes from the pre-Code and post-Code changes in Betty Boop. As Betty's personality and trademarks were slowly erased to make her tamer and come in line with the Code, the shorts became more mediocre. Der Captain and the Kids, without that much to work with to begin with (ethnic characters tend to become one-note quickly unless the writers and directors have an excellent feel for the material), forced the studio to resort to other means and materials to make shorts work, as the main characters were limited. The fatal error was focusing all too much on Der Captain, the character who works least well on screen, being more one-dimensional to start with. The horse, Smokey, is a more fully developed character than anyone else in the short and far more interesting than Der Captain, who is more caricature than character and gets what little character he has from Billy Bletcher's voice work. Good, but far from great, short with a few moments. Worth watching, but nothing special.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?