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Director: Jack Hannah
Release Date: July 1961
Stars: Woody Woodpecker
Rating:
Review:

Franken-stymied © Walter Lantz‘Franken-stymied’ starts with a classic stormy scene and Woody Woodpecker trying to hide from the storm in a castle.

Inside the castle a Frankenstein-like mad scientist has made a chicken-plucking robot called Frankie, and as soon Woody arrives, Frankie starts plucking him (luckily we see no effect – throughout these scenes Woody keeps all his tail feathers, no matter how many times they are plucked). It takes a while before Woody can take control, and in the end he manages to cover the scientist in feathers and make Frankie go after the unfortunate villain.

‘Franken-stymied’ was made by talented Disney veterans like Jack Hannah (direction), Don Lusk (animation), Homer Brightman (story) and Clarence Wheeler (music), but it doesn’t show. The cartoon suffers from bad timing, awful dialogue, canned music, ugly designs and poor animation, as if the budget was way too tight to deliver anything decent. Clearly, ‘Franken-stymied’ never comes near any Disney product, but even worse: it cannot even compete with Walter Lantz films from only one year earlier.

Watch ‘Franken-stymied’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Woody Woodpecker cartoon No. 109
To Woody Woodpecker’s debut film: Sufferin’ Cats
To the next Woody Woodpecker cartoon: Busman’s Holiday

‘Franken-stymied’ is available on the DVD-set ‘The Woody Woodpecker and Friends Classic Cartoon Collection Volume 2″ as part of the ‘Woody Woodpecker Show’

Director: Gene Deitch
Release Date: September 1, 1961
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating: ★★½
Review:

Switchin' Kitten © MGMIn ‘Switchin’ Kitten’ Tom visits an eerie castle, where Jerry helps a mad scientist with an experiment changing cats into dogs and vice versa. An anonymous cat, thinking he’s a dog, protects Jerry against an incomprehensible Tom.

‘Switchin’ Kitten’ is the first of a series of thirteen Tom & Jerry shorts directed by Gene Deitch, three years after the MGM animation studio had shut down and Hanna & Barbera had left for television. Gene Deitch’s animation team was based in Czechoslovakia, and it had only seen a handful of the classic Hanna & Barbera films.

‘Switchin’ Kitten’ immediately shows their problems: there’s a fairly good story with some great gags, but these are smothered in ugly designs (especially that of Jerry), bad timing, unappealing animation, terrible sound effects and unimaginative music, resulting in a surprisingly unfunny film. One cannot help but thinking that this short was made only to cash in on Tom & Jerry’s popularity. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t get better…

Watch an excerpt from ‘Switchin’ Kitten’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 115
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Tot Watchers
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Down and Outing

‘Switchin’ Kitten’ is available on the European DVD Box set ‘Tom and Jerry Collection’ and on the DVD-set ‘Tom and Jerry: The Gene Deitch Collection’

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