The film presents how the human body recognizes and becomes aware of its surroundings. The various information pathways to the brain such as sight, sound, smell, taste and touch are ...
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The film presents how the human body recognizes and becomes aware of its surroundings. The various information pathways to the brain such as sight, sound, smell, taste and touch are explored in a accurate but simple manner via human impression and cartoon characters!
Bell Science Special #5 and the first from Warner Bros. in Burbank
Frank Capra, with UPA and Shamus Culhane Productions providing animation, directed the first four Bell Science programs (Our Mr. Sun, Hemo The Magnificent, The Strange Case Of The Cosmic Rays & The Unchained Goddess). These were beautifully produced, but fairly simple affairs. Much of the "action", cartoon and film-clip wise, occurred on the "Imagination Screen". Frank "Mr. Research" Baxter was the always smiling host, educating Eddie Albert, Richard Carlson or Bil Baird's pre-"Sound Of Music" puppets from a comfortable roost and conversing with various toon-critters on the "Screen".
Sometime in 1957, Warner Brothers stepped in to take over the series with Owen Crump as director and its in-house animation staff (Chuck Jones and Maurice Noble getting first dibs). Earlier that year, the studio had stopped producing live-action shorts for theatrical release, including a final crop of CinemaScope "Gems" travelogues co-directed by Crump. Starting with "Gateways To The Mind", the sets that surround Dr. Frank Baxter got bigger and more spectacular... he was now educating us all amidst costumed Greek philosophers, circus clowns, an entire movie crew, giant library books ("The Alphabet Conspiracy" showcased Hans Conried as the Mad Hatter in a Lewis Carroll spoof) and with Planet Q's royal court (About Time). ("Thread Of Life" was a notable throw-back to the Capra era, but with multiple TV screens this time... the effect is a bit too weird, which may explain why it is the least viewed of the bunch.)
"Gateways To The Mind" was first shown on October 23, 1958. It cleverly exploits the Burbank studio in all of its glory as an excuse to compare the film-making process with the human senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste, etc. One optical illusion involving windows of different sizes reminds me of a back-story about the making of "Casablanca" with kids/dwarfs being used in the airport scene... all aimed at fooling our eyes. Apart from the ancient Greek recreation and a circus act, there are two great cartoon segments bearing the definitive Jones-Noble "look". In one, a man is operated by a Who-villain (aka Horton Hears Who) and an elf messenger that "wires" the body actions with the brain "head quarters" as the man leaves for work, testing the strawberries along the way. The other is a very trippy (and scary) portrait of an experiment with students devoid of their senses and the walking eyeglasses and imaginary alien forms created in their minds.
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