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They made 15 or so of these in the late 1930s, when someone had Ye Olde "bright" idea to option the comic strip and make it a cartoon series-just like Fleischer did with Popeye. The concept works better as a strip because the characters are rather one-dimensional, particularly Der Captain. Basically, Der Captain is an idiot studying to be a moron and failing the exams. The character could be held up through the mail. This can work if the character is interesting or funny. Der Captain is neither. The static nature of the character works in one-dimension, but falls flat on screen. He doesn't engage the audience terribly well. I was cheering for the lion at the end. Not a bad cartoon, technically. Just not a terribly entertaining one. The best ones in the series are less focused on Der Captain and more on other characters. Visually very nice. Worth watching, but not great. Recommended.
The appeal of the Katzenjammer Kids is in the universal, undying temptation to oppose authority for the hell of it. As good as we try to be as we mature, the rascal side of our character is always there, tugging at our sleeves, whispering nasty ideas into our ears. Reading the classic comic strip as both kid and adult, there is part of me that roots for them and another part that knows that when punishment time arrives, they are more than deserving. That's definately the case with "What a Lion", a very traditional "Captain and the Kids" cartoon in which the Katzie Brats wreak havoc with the Captain's safari. Oddly enough, the kids do not have German accents in the MGM cartoons. Der Captain does, courtesy of Billy Bletcher. Der Inspector, pretty talkative in the strip, plays the silent partner here and makes an effective second banana.
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