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Frosty the Snowman (1969)
Another timeless classic.
This timeless classic is memorable and highly enjoyable. This is one of the many classics that avidly gets broadcasted on CBS every Christmas. I enjoyed the animations, the design and the voices. Especially Paul Frees' voice talent. It is highly entertaining with sweet songs. When I first heard the song, this cartoon special came to mind. Later, I learned that the song came from a cartoon that was made 19 years before this special. It was a UPA cartoon that featured the song and revolved entirely around it. Anyway, I highly recommend watching this cartoon, despite having two sequels that came out decades later. It is timeless. Amusing in 1969, amusing in 1978, amusing in 1986, amusing in 1995, amusing today. Give it a watch, it is fun for the family and it is the kind of special you let the kiddies watch.
Bottom line: Highly enjoyable, but watch the sequels at your own risk.
Prehistoric Pink (1968)
Pink Panther plus Prehistoric Times equals Entertaining fun.
This was in no doubt inspired by the success of ONE MILLION YEARS B.C. (which premiered in 1966) with Rachel Welch and the popularity of THE FLINTSTONES (which ended in 1966). Here the Pink Panther and the pointy-nosed little caveman try to move a slab of rock (perhaps inspired by the then-new film 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY). Along the way, they discover the creation of the wheel, but find out that it is dangerous and reject it. All in all, it is a really entertaining and funny cartoon. Rated G, so it is worth the watch.
Follow That Bird (1985)
An enjoyable classic that both kids and adults will enjoy.
In 1969, "Sesame Street" premiered on PBS. Created by Joan Gantz Cooney, this educational show had puppet skits, animated skits, musical numbers, and filmed skits (that used to be shot on 16 millimeter film). During the show's run, there was merchandising during the seventies and eighties. This gave Joan Gantz Cooney an idea to make a movie out of it! So it did.
I had run-ins with the movie when I was little, I ran into the film's poster in various toy stores in malls. I also ran into the film's video cover in the stores too. One day during a nice vacation in Kentucky, I saw the ending of it on HBO (years before the show itself went there). It was funny. There were a few jabs to the show with an animated sequence showing Big Bird blowing up a balloon of the Warner Bros. logo followed by Big Bird announcing the so-called "sponsors" of the show. The reason why I said that is because that in the show, the episodes were sponsored by the letter of the day and the number of the day as they were commercials for products. Also from the late sixties to the mid seventies, there were animated bumpers made before the show started. This movie is fun and enjoyable. It is one of those movies that kids will enjoy and parents will enjoy, than get annoyed. I enjoyed it and I wouldn't mind watching it again. However, what makes the film different from the TV show, is that it didn't get interrupted by animated sequences, song and dance numbers (OK, there were a few songs in this movie), and short films that talk about letters, numbers, morals, and the world around us. This movie is story-driven with a capital S. Also, this movie had villains! Comical villains that is. Another thing I like to point out that, while it is a fun and happy movie, it flopped in the box-office. That's right, mainly because of such movies as, "The Goonies", "Back to the Future", and "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure". This caused Joan Gantz Cooney to change her mind and go back to the show and ruin it. You see, with the success of "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure" lead to the creation of "Pee-Wee's Playhouse." That show got popular and this caused Joan Gantz Cooney to change it and catered it, not only for those who watch shows like "Pee-Wee's Playhouse" and "You Can't Do That On Television", but cartoons like "Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures", "Dennis the Menace", and "A Pup Named Scooby-Doo". So the more wacky shows that come out, the more "Sesame Street" tries to emulate them.
When I was a younger kid, I asked other kids my age and younger if they have seen this movie and it is watched like "Care Bears", "The Wizard of Oz", or any other Disney movie. However, I see that younger generations are watching another one made 14 years later (i.e. "Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland"), causing this picture to be left in the dust. This movie deserves to be watched by younger generations, because it is rated G for crying out loud! I highly recommend it.
Witch's Night Out (1978)
An underrated, obscure, Halloween classic that needs to be seen.
This is a really interesting cartoon that I remember watching on the Disney Channel back in the 80's and 90's. It even appeared on HBO back in the 80's and a clip of it appeared on THE GREAT SPACE COASTER. Speaking of which (no pun intended) when I watched it for the first time, one title came to mind: SESAME STREET. Now why that? Are the characters Small and Tender like Ernie and Bert? (Because one is orange and one is yellow?) Do you think that the characters Rotten and Malicious are like Oscar the Grouch and Grundgetta? (Because of their negative attitudes?) Does Goodly look like Mr. Johnson, the fat blue guy who gets annoyed by Grover, with a makeover? (Because he is blue and has a mustache?) Does Nicely look like a mixture between Big Bird and Prairie Dawn? (Because she is pink and fluffy looking?) Oh shut up already! While that could be a possibility, the reason why SESAME STREET came to my mind was that because John Leach, created that cartoon as well as various animated segments for SESAME STREET. Going back to the review, I would like to point out that Gilda Radner voiced the title witch in the cartoon. Also, I would like to point out that the music is really cool. Dig that Casio synthesizer! That is my guess. All in all, it is not scary, but the design and animation is no SCOOBY-DOO, so it is trippy. Bottom line: Give it a watch the kids will enjoy it and they won't get scared. This is purely family fun. Not rated, but a TV-G would work. Happy Halloween.
Nice little Peanuts special.
Poor Charlie Brown. He didn't get anything for Valentine's Day. Poor Linus. He is in the same mess too! This special is fun for the family and highly enjoyable. It is kind of normal for children who are in love with older people or adults. This is a good way to teach children to accept the fact that adults go with adults and kids go with kids. The good thing about this cartoon is that we see Snoopy's lovable tomfoolery with Lucy, Charlie Brown and Woodstock which gives out a good laugh (especially with his "pawpet show"). Bottom line: Worth the watch. Rated TV-G because it is fun for the whole family, plus parents can tell their kids the importance of love for their right age and how to accept it.
Happy Valentines Day.
Popeye and Son (1987)
From the department of "What Were They Thinking?"
Back by popular demand, it is time for "Matthew Rants!" Popeye the Sailor. He is one of the most celebrated icons of the 20th century. Now we all know that Popeye has to be modern. He sang the song "Man on the Flying Trapeze" in the 1930's. He fought in World War II in the 1940's. He fought aliens in the 1950's. He went into a Beatnik's club in the 1960's. He danced in a disco with Olive Oyle in the 1970's. So what is he going to happen for the 1980's? Make them yuppies. Have them settle down and have families. Let Popeye and Olive get married and have a son. Have Bluto get a wife and have a son who is a bully for Popeye's son. Now the tradition continues. This has to be the dumbest idea ever made since THE ALL NEW POPEYE SHOW added in two stories where Popeye is living the life of a caveman and Olive Oyle is in the army (!) THE ALL-NEW POPEYE SHOW (which was made by Hanna-Barbera), was known for replacing the violence (which the theatrical cartoons were known for) with the deus-ex-machina. Now this new cartoon has the two rival becoming a family and having kids and put in a few characters here and there such as Professor O.G. Whatasnozzle, Eugene the Jeep, Nana Oyle, Poopdeck Pappy, and the goons. What happened to Sweet-Pea and Popeye's nephews? Anyway, this bobera from Hanna-Barbera aired on CBS (the same channel that aired the 1978 reboot). The stories in the episodes are dumb to begin with. On the plus side the only good thing apart from the music, is when Popeye Jr. takes his spinach he gets disgusted first but through time has to accept it. This teaches kids how to accept food like spinach. All in all, this iteration of the beloved cartoon can make the 1980 movie look like an epic. As a kid, I loved it, so did my mother, but with age comes a new pair of eyes. Looking back, this is stupid with a capital S! When I told about it to my mother, she felt disgusted, or as Popeye would say, "disgustipated". She said that the show is stupid. Somethings work well on paper. No wonder the cartoon had a short run. Around that time the show was on the air, there were Quaker Oatmeal commercials with the beloved hero. This show like those commercials are on YouTube, you have been warned! Poor Popeye, he has gone through the mud just like other great heroes like Batman with his campy show during the sixties, Spider-Man with his skits on the original ELECTRIC COMPANY, The Teen Titans with their jokey cartoon on Cartoon Network (which gets too much air time), and speaking of which, The Powerpuff Girls and their jokey reboot where everything we knew and loved about it, is thrown out the window (because they want make money out of it). Bottom line: Avoid it at all costs. Rated TV-Y, but it contains some cartoon violence that happen to be downplayed.
The Valley of Gwangi (1969)
Cowboys vs. Dinosaurs
In 1942, stop-motion animator Willis H. O'Brien, who was known for doing the special effects work on the original versions of THE LOST WORLD (1925) and KING KONG (1933) faced a tough time between 1933 and 1946. He had an idea for a movie about cowboys catching a dinosaur and bringing it back alive (where it escapes and wreaks havoc and gets killed by the heroes). The project was called GWANGI, he pitched it to RKO with a script, storyboard, diorama and a puppet built by Marcel Delgado. Sadly, the project was left unmade due to how expensive it was. Obie ended up working on the original MIGHTY JOE YOUNG four years later.
Enter 1967, after the success of Hammer's ON MILLION YEARS B.C. (1966), Ray decided to rework the project with his producer and friend, Charles Schneer. The result was THE VALLEY OF GWANGI (1969). Taking place in the old west, a group of cowboys, lead by Tuck Kirby, played by James Franciscus (who would later appear in BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES in 1970), track down a big blue Allosaurus-Tyrannosaurus Rex hybrid, to bring it back alive, where it wreaks havoc in the city. James Franciscus does a great performance as the film's protagonist. Gila Golan as the lovely T.J. is added for the film's sex appeal akin to Rachel Welch with ONE MILLION YEARS B.C. Laurence Naismith as the quirky old Englishman, Professor Bromley, is enough to supply some laughs and chuckles. Curtis Arden as Lope is a nice addition for the kids, and horror actress Freda Jackson (you might remember her on 1965's DIE MONSTER DIE with Boris Karloff) as Tia Zorina, The Witch, giving the film a chilling and eerie feel to it. If there is anything that steals the picture and attracts audiences, it is Ray Harryhausen's wonderful special effects and animation! Gwangi the Big Blue Allosaurus is one thing, but the other monsters are another. There is a Styracosaurus that fights and looses to the prehistoric blue meanie. An Ornithiomimus, which as the protagonists best describe it as, "a plucked ostrich." A pterodactyl that take Lope and gets lassoed down. Plus, an Eohippus, the prehistoric ancestor to the modern horse to add cuteness factor to it. There were a lot of changes in this production. Obie's unmade version had a Triceratops, a lion fight in the arena (which got used in MIGHTY JOE YOUNG), and gets knocked off a cliff by a truck (which predated the death of the T-Rex in DINOSAURUS (1960) where the beast gets knocked off a cliff by a crane). In this version, there is a Styracosaurus, an elephant fight in the arena (a throwback to 20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH), and Gwangi meets his fate inside a burning cathedral, (taking a page out of FRANKENSTEIN). This monster, like King Kong and the Rhedosaurs in THE BEAST FROM 20'00 FATHOMS (1953), caused people to tear up when dying a horrible death.
While the film did have a lot of good merchandising and promotion like any blockbuster film, this movie flopped in the box-office! Why? First of all, most people are not into this whole escapism films. Most of the films at that time consisted on sex, drugs, and rock n' roll. According to Ray Harrhausen, he said that no one wanted to see a naked dinosaur. Well guess what? This movie gained a cult following. Joseph Laudati, who is a stop-motion animator and Harryhausen fan, made an animated amateur super-8 film in 1976 called THE PRIMEVAL KINGS. Tony Luke's animated amateur films from the 80's featured Titanus, and he is modeled after Gwangi. One time someone asked me if I heard of THE VALLEY OF GWANGI and seen it. I replied that I did, and the person who asked was relived because most people never heard of it. What does it come to show? Two things: It is an underrated classic and a cult classic. Bottom line: Worth the watch so give it one. Rated G, but it contains violence and some gore. Best watched for children over the age of seven.
Pre-Hysterical Hare (1958)
Bugs Bunny vs. Elmer Fudd (Prehistoric Style)
With footage taken from CAVEMAN INKI, it is basically the same old Bugs Bunny versus Elmer Fudd story, only this time it is set in prehistoric times. While Elmer Fudd has hair and a unibrow, Bugs Bunny has a long buck tooth. Here is a fact, there is such thing as a prehistoric rabbit. It is called a Palaeolagus, which looks like a rabbit, but smaller on the years. It is pretty fun to watch and it is directed by Robert McKimson. In one scene there is a narrator that sounds like Hanna-Barbera cartoon character, Captain Caveman. All in all, give it a watch, it is highly enjoyable. Not rated, but a G-rating will work.
The one that started it all.
Before GODZILLA and before THEM! there was THE BEAST FROM 20'000 FATHOMS. It was the first atomic-blast-brings-giant-monster-to-attack-civilization movies ever made. Underrated? It sure is because people think that GODZILLA was the one that started it all, but really it was inspired by this movie. This was (loosely) based on a short story by Ray Bradbury under the same name (which later got changed as "The Foghorn") and this movie was Ray Harryhaussen's first spot on the stop-motion animation (since Willis O'Brien turned it town). The music purely defines the decade, tone and feel of this movie. While this movie with amazing special effects is impressive, the film as a whole is underrated, when I bring it up, only a few people heard of it, but when someone brings it up, I tell them that I heard of this movie. It would be great if this movie got remade, just like the way Peter Jackson remade KING KONG. Have the story be set in the 1950's and have the whole atomic-age paranoia be the subject. (Say, wasn't it remade in 1998 as GODZILLA? Well, I guess that the filmmakers got their monsters and story lines all mixed up.) In the 1950's Americans worried about two things: The atomic bomb and the communist threat. The giant monsters are an allegory to the bomb, while the aliens are an allegory to communism. So give it a watch, I highly recommend it. Not rated, but a PG will work due to some violence and gore there.
Pre-Hysterical Man (1948)
Popeye and Olive get lost in a lost world.
This short plays out like something straight out of a science-fiction/fantasy story. Popeye and Olive go into a cave and encounter a dinosaur and a caveman, who happens to be Bluto. It is up to Popeye to save Olive from Bluto's ancestor. The gags are funny. For instance, when Popeye beats up the dinosaur, it flies out of frame and lands in frame as a skeleton with a sign that reads "Dinosaur. Now Extinct." I highly recommend this cartoon as a short subject to play if you are having a screening party with friends and the main feature is a creature-from-lost-world movie such as UNKNOWN ISLAND (1948) or LAND UNKNOWN (1957). Not rated, but a G-rating would be nice, despite the silly cartoon violence that would strike nerves on the politically correct snot-balls who overreact at a drop of hat. On the bright side, the animation is nice, not to mention the music.
Caveman Inki (1950)
Chuck Jones goes walking with dinosaurs again!
In the tradition of Wille E. Coyote and Roadrunner, there is no dialogue and the action speaks louder than words. Inki the hunter was going to hunt a dinosaur, but instead goes after the Mynah Bird leading them in a series of wacky events. It is a great cartoon, the dinosaurs are interesting to look at and the animation is great, not to mention the music. But with every up there is a down. It is politically incorrect. First of all, the character is offensive to look at and is bound to cause an uproar. There are some running gags there. It must be seen to be believed. Give it a watch. Although it is not rated, but a G-rating would be nice.
The Arctic Giant (1942)
Superman versus Godzilla.
From the team responsible for bring characters like Betty Boop and Popeye to life, were the first to bring Superman to the screen. The story is about a report of a giant prehistoric monster that was found frozen in ice, when it got defrosted, the monster is loose and it is up to the Man of Steel to stop him. This film, must of sparked the imagination of various film-makers and writers such as Ray Harryhausen, Ray Bradbury, Inshiro Honda, Eiji Tsuburaya, and Gianfranco Parolini (Frank Kramer) (creator of (read my review) YETI: GIANT OF THE 20TH CENTURY). The animation is great, the story is awesome and the visuals are thrillingly wonderful. The dinosaur looks like a precursor to Godzilla. This cartoon is worth the watch and would be a great short to play in a screening party as an appetizer to your main course, which is a Godzilla-type monster movie. Highly recommended, so give it a watch. Not rated so a G-rating will work. By the way, I think this is in the public domain.
The Ugly Dino (1940)
A prehistoric iteration of "The Ugly Duckling."
Yup that's what it is. It is one of their Stone-Age cartoons that came out in 1940 inspired by the success of ONE MILLION B.C. They were created by Max Fleicher's animation team. Their cartoons predate THE FLINTSTONES so expect to see a lot of modern stone-age humor. In a nutshell, this cartoon is a prehistory retelling of The Ugly Duckling, except it had dinosaurs and had saber-toothed tiger as the villain. While the gags are good, it is a great cartoon worth watching. Not rated, but a G will work.
Prehistoric Porky (1940)
Bob Clampett goes wackily walking with dinosaurs.
With the success of the film, ONE MILLION B.C., it is no wonder that Looney Tunes finds this movie fresh meat for it to lampoon. Boy and how! Pop-culture nut Bob Clampett takes on the movie with Porky Pig and his pet brontosaurus named Rover. (Do you think he was inspired by Chuck Jones' DAFFY AND THE DINOSAUR? Or was it a coincidence?) In this cartoon, we see Porky Pig trying to find a fur coat he got from a magazine, but it won't be easy. We see some jokes and gags that are highly dated with a capital D! Reference to Ned Sparks, an Irish vocal quartet, "Esquire" (spoofed as "Expire"), the NBC chimes (back when it was a radio station), and famous boxer Tony Galento. The gags are good, the dinosaurs are fun to look at, and it is in black and white, so all in all it is a good cartoon.
One Million B.C. (1940)
Clunky Caveman Epic.
I read about it on the book "When Dinosaurs Ruled the Screen" by Marc Shapiro. I saw it on Turner Classic Movies and I took a kick out of it. While the acting is great, the music is awesome, the sound effects are imaginative and the cinematography is wonderful, there is one mammoth problem (pun intended), the special effects. While I don't mind the men in dinosaur suits, the lizards, alligators and armadillos, whether they have horns and spikes glued on their bodies or not, and elephants with fur coats on their bodies look super fake. I know, audiences were not sophisticated back then as they are now, but hey, that was the 1940's. Who can not forget the infamous scene where the Dimetrodon and Lystrosaurs (or should I say, dwarf alligator with a fake fin on his back and tegu lizard) fight. In the years that followed, footage and outtakes from this movie was used in other movies (even in foreign films from countries like Turkey and India). That is bound to outrage the ASPCA. If Hal Roach had half a brain, he would let Willis O'Brien do the special effects and have dinosaurs that would look like dinosaurs and not just lizards with horns and spikes glued on their bodies. However, if the special effects were done by Willis O'Brien, it would be a whole lot better and there would be no 1966 remake with Ray Harryhausen's special effects (or would there?) On the plus side, the film did get an Oscar Nomination for Best Special Effects and Best Original Score. It was a big smash at the box-office. If I were you I recommend the remake because it is better than the original, but give the original a watch if you want to.
Daffy Duck and the Dinosaur (1939)
Chuck Jones's early work.
Just one year before ONE MILLION B.C., Chuck Jones made this cartoon that was the primitive ancestor of Wille E. Coyote and Road Runner cartoons. Casper Caveman (Wille E. Coyote's ancestor) wants to catch Daffy Duck (Road Runner's ancestor). Daffy comes up with many ways to stop him in order to survive. Fido, the dinosaur, a brontosaurus to be specific, is the goofy old stooge that gets clobbered around. Daffy in this cartoon is the source of all jokes. He was influenced under Tex Avery and Bob Clampett. Later, Jones would make him the butt of all jokes. A punching bag who gets walked on, stepped on and a total underdog looser. This public domain cartoon is a caveman compared to the later works Chuck Jones did in the 1940's and 1950's that happen to be timeless. Chuck Jones would go back to having another funny prehistoric adventure eleven years later in CAVEMAN INKI.
Buddy's Lost World (1935)
Earliest Looney Tunes cartoon (ever to feature dinosaurs).
Before Robert McKimson, Chuck Jones, and Bob Clampett ever got their hands dirty with making cartoons with dinosaurs in it, Jack King did it first. In this film that pays homage to the 1925 silent classic, THE LOST WORLD. I guess this was made when Jack King decided to spoof this movie, not because the film was ten years old back then, but I guess it has something to do with the popularity of the original KING KONG, and since that movie got spoofed in other cartoon studios in Hollywood parodied it (not to mention the Warner Bros. cartoon I LIKE MOUNTAIN MUSIC spoofed KING KONG), he decided to spoof THE LOST WORLD. The cartoon nowadays is politically incorrect, apart from a harmless reference to The Three Stooges, there is are scenes that make fun of gay people. (Why did I write this? It is Jurassic June and this month is LGBTQ month. In fact, why did i choose it? Oh my gosh! I have been writing all those dinosaur movies earlier, did I? I got to end this.) The animation is good and so are the voices. Later, Warner Bros. would make cartoons that would take place in prehistoric times like Chuck Jones' DAFFY DUCK AND THE DINOSAUR (1939), PREHISTORIC PORKY (1940), CAVEMAN INKI (1949), PREHYSTERICAL HARE (1958) and WILD WILD WORD (1960). Give it a watch, I recommend this movie as a short subject to play in a screening party when you are going to show the original 1925 classic THE LOST WORLD. Give it a watch. Not rated, but a G would work.
The greatest movie never made.
I heard about it. I read about it. The only thing that ever came out was the clip of the Triceratops family, the man hunting the baby triceratops leading him to be chased by the angry mother where he gets gored. You can find the footage exclusively at the second disc of the original KING KONG Two-Disc Special Edition. But, there was more to it than just test footage. I saw storyboards and photographs of the puppets (such as the prehistoric mammal Arsinoitherium). The story of the film can be seen on the second disc of the original KING KONG Two-Disc Special Edition. It features storyboards, and narration from the film's outline. It played out like a READING RAINBOW episode. It is fun to watch. In a nutshell, the plot is like SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON meets THE LOST WORLD. This was Harry O'Hoyt's idea and Willis O'Brien would do the animation effects along with the talents of Marcel Delgado and Mario Larrinaga. However, the plug was pulled when Merriam C. Cooper and Ernest B. Shoedstack saw the test footage and had O'Brien and his team do the special effects for KING KONG. The dinosaur puppets, Stegosaurus, Brontosaurus, Triceratops, Styracosaurus Pterodactyl and Tyrannosaurus Rex, all ended up in KING KONG. In that production, new models were made such as the serpentine Elasmosaurus and the Spider Pit inhabitants. Harry O Hoyt changed the film to THE LOST ATLANTIS in 1937 and had Fred Jackman, who did the special effects for THE LOST WORLD be in charge of it and have the stop-motion animation be done by Edward Nassour (who later do 1956's THE BEAST OF HOLLOW MOUNTAIN) and Walter Lantz (of Woody Woodpecker infamy). The puppets were made. He pitched it for Colombia Pictures in 1937 and again in 1940. If CREATION did get made, it would end up being a monster movie memory on the late-night show in the 1950's, 60's and 70's and would end up playing on cable in the 80's and 90's on channels like AMC and TNT, plus it would end up sitting on Turner Classic Movies. Then there would be no KING KONG and it would disturb the chain of events. If THE LOST ATLANTIS did get made, it would give Walter Lantz a change of heart and he would become the next Ray Harryhausen. Or when he realized that his Woody cartoons are getting bad, he would stop and go back to his stop-motion roots. If only. Not rated, but the kids and adults wouldn't mind that extra on the KING KONG DVD, especially when they grew on READING RAINBOW. Give it a watch, but you don't have to take my word for it. I'll see you next time.
Fifty Million Years Ago (1925)
Interesting take on natural history.
What I like about this film was that it was once a lost film, but now it was found in 2015, except that there happens to be some footage missing. This film has the eras. Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic. Expect creatures like trilobites, dimetrodon (here called Masosaurus), dinosaurs, and ice-age mammals like Woolly Mammoth and Woolly Rhinoceros. The models like kind of crude compared to the models used in THE LOST WORLD. This film was made in 1924 and was from Germany. It came to the U.S. a year later, just a few months after the release of the original 1925 film, THE LOST WORLD. I guess the American distributors want to cash-in on the success of the film. Give it a watch, hey the kiddies won't mind.
The Lost World (1925)
Earliest monster movie before King Kong.
I knew that movie is great and this helped Willis O'Brien be hired to work on the original KING KONG. This is the first adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novel. What caused me to watch this movie was that there was this episode of MUPPET BABIES called "Out of this World History." In that episode, there were clips from the 1925 version THE LOST WORLD. I was seven years old. This was out of the ordinary. I couldn't identify the movie until I was nine or then years old when I read the book "When Dinosaur s Ruled the Screen" by Mark Shapiro. This was the book that inspired be to track down monster movies. What makes this extraordinary was because nobody in 1925 never seen a dinosaur before. Even for people who saw scenes from this movie for the first time in the years that followed the release of the 1925 classic never seen anything like it. The dinosaurs were made by Willis O'Brien and Marcel Delgado and animated by Obie and Joseph L. Roop (who would later do the parody, THE LOST WHIRL from 1926). Clips of this show were featured in other TV shows and commercials in the 80's and 90's because it is in the public domain. However, as of 2017, a new version of the film came out with a longer length and never before seen footage. There is no word weather the new version is copyrighted or not. Give it a watch and spread the word. If you think black and white (silent) movies are boring, guess again. Not rated, but a PG would work despite the violence and blood courtesy of the stop-motion dinosaurs. The brontosaurus attacking London might scare the kiddies.
An underrated gem in stop-motion animation.
The year was 1918, a century ago. This was the first movie to have scenes that combine live-action with stop-motion animation. The scenes were intercut because there was no split screen effects and no special projectors. We get to see a T-Rex for the first time, a Brontosaurus, a Triceratops, and for the first time, a Diatryma which is a prehistoric flightless bird. It is one of the those stories where a guy dreams he meets the ghost of Mad Dick (played by Willis O'Brien, who did the dinosaur effects for this film), who shows him a device that can see through time. When the Tyrannosaur sees him he chases him and it turns out to be a dream. Whoop-dee-freakin'-doo. End it by all means of Lewis Carroll. While the ending is meh, you got to admit that the only good parts here are the stop-motion dinosaurs by Willis O'Brien. To know more about the classic, I suggest you read the book, "Silent Roar."
Not rated but it contains some blood.
Before we met The Flintstones.
Whenever we think of modern stone-age humor, we think of THE FLINTSTONES, but before we them let us scroll back to 1915 and see where it really all began. In this claymation short (yes they had claymation back in the silent era), we see a primeval love triangle between The Duke and Stonejaw Steve. They want to marry the girl, but along comes the youngster Theophilis Ivoryhead, and you know where this is going. You are asking, "Hey, where is the dinosaur and where is the missing link? The Missing Link is the villain in the picture and his name is Wild Willie. This Australopithecus (the missing link between man and ape), looks more like a gorilla-chimp hybrid. In fact, Willis O'Brien, who made this short, called him "King Kong's Ancestor." After Wild Willie sneaks in to steal their lunch, which happens to be snakes. (Were you expecting spaghetti? Just go with it.) A flightless prehistoric bird called the Dinornis (referred to as the desert quail), makes an appearance not only to dodge Stonejaw Steve's arrow (which hit's The Duke's rump), but scares the antagonist away. Theophilis Ivoryhead goes fishing and sees the battle between the dinosaur, a Brontosaurus (being the deus ex machina), and Wild Willie. After gang returns, all the youngster says that he fought him, leading him to win the girl's heart.
This was Willis O'Brien's first film before the original THE LOST WORLD, before the original KING KONG, and before the original MIGHTY JOE YOUNG. This battle between those hairy and the scaly would pop-up again in 1933 with KING KONG, 1948 with UNKNOWN ISLAND (done with men in costumes), Toho's KING KONG VS. GODZILLA, 1976's QUEEN KONG (read my comment), Dino Delaurentiis' 1976 remake (done with a snake), Peter Jackson's 2005 remake (done with three T-Rexes), KONG: SKULL ISLAND (2017) and RAMPAGE (2018).
Wild Willie paved way to many stop-motion animated apes. The gorillas in THE GORILLA HUNT (1926), KING KONG and SON OF KONG (1933), MIGHTY JOE YOUNG (1949), Taurus from EQUINOX (1970) KING DONG (1984) and the yeti from THE PRIMEVALS (which never got made until November 2017 when Charles Band announced that it is coming out sometime in 2018).
This short never got remade, until 90 years later. It was remade my me and it came out in the time of Peter Jackson's KING KONG remake and it is up on YouTube and the link is down there.
Give it a watch and it is pure family fun. Not rated, but a "G" would be nice.
Gertie the Dinosaur (1914)
The one that started it all.
Before Gamera, before, Godzilla, before Mighty Joe Young, before King Kong. And way before, the Pink Panther, Mighty Mouse, Woody Woodpecker, Popeye, Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse, there was a dinosaur named Gertie. She was the first cartoon character and the first movie monster. Audience were thrilled when she appeared on screen as if people saw King Kong and laughed at her silly antics as if they saw Mickey Mouse's silly antics. It is basically started out as a bet and Windsor McCay won the bet. The movie is such an admirable landmark milestone in animation history, there was an ice-cream stand in honor of the dinosaur at Disney MGM Studios (now called Disney Hollywood Studios) in Florida. She made a cameo appearance in the comic book adaptation of "Dinosaurs Attack" and the movie LITTLE NEMO IN SLUMBERLAND (1991). The cartoon got referenced in an episode of ENCYCLOPEDIA where the dinosaur was designed and animated by Joey Ahlbum. In a world where classic cartoon characters are making a comeback for the new generation, I think it is time for Gertie to make a comeback don't you think? Give the cartoon a watch, it is pure family fun. Not rated, but a "G" would be nice.
Life Is Tough Charlie Brown
That should of been a better title. First of all, Charlie Brown is assigned to read "War and Peace" by Leo Tolstoy. (That is book is super long!) Second, wants to meet Heather, the Little Red-Haired Girl, but he gets tangled up with Peppermint Patty who pressures him to have fun with her.
I remember seeing this for the first time in the late-eighties in a birthday party during my childhood. When I saw it again in the early and mid-nineties, it taught me how to talk to people at the store when I am having trouble looking for something at a store or library. Charlie Brown was annoying anyone, but he was desperate
to get his holiday homework done! (Hey Charlie Brown, if there is no film, strip, record, or computer game based on "War and Peace" don't worry there is a movie made in 1956, watch the movie and things will go your way hopefully.)
This special brings back memories for me. I enjoyed watching it. It reminds me of the clothes I wore, the warm and friendly faces of my friends and family, the food I ate and was devoid of worries! This cartoon is worth playing whenever you are having parties with kids and whether it is New Years Eve or not. Do I recommend it? Yes (despite the way [children's] television is going these days). I saw it ABC recently, and let me tell you that this special got cut to pieces for more commercial time. That aside, give it a watch.
Happy New Year!
Underrated and Timeless.
I remember seeing this cartoon when I was as young as three or four. This Christmas special was magical and underrated. The animation is good and the voices are good too. I noticed that the baddie in the special Alexander Graham Wolf (a.k.a. The Big Bad Wolf who is voiced by Les Tremayne), is the baddie in the picture. This guy is a Wile E. Coyote clone. He wants to put Gloopstick on all the toys so that they way they won't be broken. Which blatantly defeats the purpose of having them to be played with.
June Foray does a great job voicing Comet and Raggedy Ann while Daws Butler does a great performance as Andy with his cute Elroy Jetson-type voice. There is something about the ending. The villain gets his comeuppance by getting trapped in his own creation. Commonly, the villain would get angry and rant about then succumb to the folly of his way and give up only to be taken away by authority. Nope, we don't get that. Like a Woody Woodpecker "villain", he just breaks into tears and starts crying like baby. What in Dapper Denver Dooley is that?! (The reason why I wrote villain in quotation marks was because that in those cartoons, they are no threat to begin with and Walter "The Sicko" Lantz wants to give maturity and growing up a bad name.) Also, there is a scene that involves audience interaction. (I see you are bothered by "Sesame Street" and can't let it go. Huh, Chuck Jones.) This leads to a scene where it wants to make us feel sorry for the villain and that way he can change his ways from a Big Bad Wolf to a Big Good Wolf.
The thing is, that this cartoon is sweet and is worth putting it in front of the kiddies to keep them happy. Bottom line: Give it a watch despite all the wacky (and shocking) stuff going around children's television these days. Not rated, but a TV-G would work. This review goes in loving memory of June Foray (1917 - 2017). Rest In Peace.