If you've seen Walter Hill's 48 HRS. (1982), you might remember a scene where James Remar, one of the fugitives being sought by cop Nick Nolte, is in a seedy hotel room watching a cartoon on TV. The cartoon was SPACE KID (1966), produced by Paramount Pictures, which also produced 48 HRS. I was always intrigued by that cartoon and wanted to see the whole thing, but it never played on TV on any of the cartoon shows common on broadcast TV back then. Well, now it's on YouTube and I finally got to see it.
It's a simple tale of a boy on another planet who builds a ray-gun and breaks something in his house and is sent out by his mother to go play in space. So the boy, with space helmet and suit already on, flies down to Earth with his ray-gun and immediately finds useful purposes for his device. When a mother asks him to watch her baby carriage while she goes shopping (something unthinkable today), the Space Kid uses his gun's powers to calm the crying baby and put it to sleep and then eliminate the source of every noise on a busy street in a bustling urban neighborhood.
The cartoon is done in the minimalist style of limited animation that was common in studio animated cartoons of the 1960s, but it has abundant charm and cleverness, even if it's never particularly funny. The Space Kid character is quite a cute creation and I wish they'd made a regular character out of him and put him into other situations. However, this came out at a time when studios did not have much interest in developing and promoting regular characters in theatrical cartoons. Paramount folded up its animation division not long after this. This was the last cartoon credited to director Seymour Kneitel, who had director credits on 312 cartoons and who'd been working in animation for 35 years, first for the Fleischer Bros. and then for Paramount/Famous Studios after they took over the Fleischer unit. He died on July 30, 1964, nearly two years before SPACE KID was released. I suspect that it was unfinished at the time of his death and was eventually completed by someone else.
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