This cartoon is based on Universal's Maw and Paw Kettle features. Maw and Paw and their kids live on a farm and can be described as a rural family with below average intelligence (their pet...
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This cartoon is based on Universal's Maw and Paw Kettle features. Maw and Paw and their kids live on a farm and can be described as a rural family with below average intelligence (their pet pig, Milford, is regarded in the opening titles as the "Smart One"). At dinner, Milford answers a phone-in quiz contest correctly and wins a new car for the family. The problem is no one in the family knows how to drive it (Maw thinks the antenna is a "new fangled clothesline"). Eventually, Milford goes for a joyride around the farm chasing most of the residents before finally crashing into a tree reducing it to the size of a Model-T. It is now the right size for the family!Written by
Matt Yorston <email@example.com>
The less than inspiring debut cartoon of Maw and Paw
Paul J. Smith is best known to me for his Chilly Willy and Woody Woodpecker cartoons. Both cartoons series saw a mix of good (great in the case, as far as he goes, of Chilly Willy's debut and Woody's 'Niagara Fools', two of the better "Walter Lantz Studios" cartoons of the 50s) cartoons, average ones and less than average ones.
Was curiously interested in seeing other cartoons of his and Walter Lantz studios not featuring either character, including lesser-known and short-lived characters like Sugarfoot the horse and Maw and Paw. Mainly to see if their cartoons were as bad as heard and whether one could see why the characters didn't last long. Saying that 'Maw and Paw' is one of the better "Lantz Studios" Maw and Paw cartoons is hardly an endorsement and one can see from their five cartoons why the characters and series were short-lived.
The best character in 'Maw and Paw' is actually the pig Milford, proof that one can say little or nothing and still compel and entertain in a scene-stealing sense. Milford is by far the most, the only in fact, interesting and funniest character here, also the most educated and intelligent (again the only one), and although he is a supporting character he felt much more like a lead.
He too has the best gag, where he pretends to drive a car in the kitchen. The telephone moment also comes off reasonably. The early barnyard setting is very detailed and beautiful-looking, while Clarence Wheeler's music score is very characterful with lots of energy and lush, clever use of orchestration. The voice actors do their best and do a professional job.
On the other hand, the character designs are scrappy and pretty ugly, sometimes repetitive too, particularly in the titular characters. Neither of the titular characters are particularly compelling, Paw's absent-mindedness and clumsiness is overdone while Maw is annoying and over-bearing, really disliked her over-the-top treatment of the rest of the characters. The children don't engage either and don't have an awful lot interesting to do.
Excepting a couple of amusing parts with Milford, the numerous gags suffer from less-than-sharp timing and not being very funny, not even reaching raise-a-small-smile-territory. The gag with Paw's nose getting stuck was repeated throughout the series and it wore well thin, especially when it was not funny the first time. 'Maw and Paw' is virtually plot-less, and that the cartoon is dull and mostly unfunny with unappealing characters (apart from one) makes it very difficult to get any kind of enjoyment out of it.
In conclusion, less than inspiring but not a complete mess. Milford saves it from being worse. 5/10 Bethany Cox
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