Close Up On The Eggs

Here’s the third part of Cathy Hill’s epic story: Racketty Ann and The Lost World! In pages 9 through 12, Racketty Ann continues her story (I love how the dinosaurs want to listen to her) of her trips to the prehistoric island. The secret is suddenly out when some sailors land on the beach, and the news media descend in pesky profusion. I love page twelve as the videographers are torn between focusing on the dinosaur eggs or framing the tapering limbs of their pretty newscaster (just look at the monitors at the top of the page to see just how torn the videographers were). Cathy loaded these pages with downshots and upshots of the dinosaurs really highlighting their immense bulk; the shading and variety of the line weight helps the effect. The progression from fine lines in the background to heavy lines in the foreground is most evident in page 12. The little paleontologist on page 10 has a Rube Goldberg touch as he rides through the air astride his magnifying glass with his neck nearly snapped in half by a helium balloon.

In Felix from 8-7 to 8-13-1933, Felix and Danny escape a forest fire in the dailies, and Felix battles a ferocious flea in the Sunday page. The tiger scratching Felix in the eleventh panel reminds me of the Warner Bros. Bob Clampett cartoon “An Itch In Time”, where the dog teases the cat into scratching his flea bite, much to the frustration of Elmer Fudd.
The Myrtle strip is from 5-9 to 5-15-1949 this time, Hyacinth the cat is in the second panel of the Sunday page, bored to tears by the family’s elaborations on the old tales “Little Red Riding Hood” and the “Three Little Pigs”.
Herriman’s cat is from 11-16 to 11-27-1943 this time. The early 1940s still influence the gags as Ignatz sings Frank Sinatra’s early hit “All or Nothing At All” in the 11-19. Offissa Pupp’s fascist tendencies emerge in the 11-20, as he squints Nipponese fashion saying: “Divide and Conquer”. Fascist Pupp continues in the 11-24 where he puts Ignatz in jail, declaring “Sin must be locked up, and who but ME to see that it’s done?” It has an “I alone can fix it” overtone, don’t ya think? Authoritarian rule is also parodied in the 11-27, as Ignatz asks Ignatz if he”belliv” s in Free “Spitch” to “Kops”. Offissa Pupp is waiting in the wings to oversee the Degree of “Spitch” he will allow to be “Free in Coconino” in the last panel.
KURT’S CORNER this time features some rare behind the scenes stills of Ronald Colman. This one shows him teaming up with nemesis and radio producer Arch Obeler on a program called “Everything For The Boys” from 1944. Mr. Obeler and Mr. Colman did not get along well, just contrast Colman’s well tailored suit to Obeler’s informal striped shirt and slouch hat. The show was an odd combination of dramatic skits and long distance call-ins from servicemen and women around the world.
Harmon Weizht was the director of the silent feature “Twenty Dollars A Week”, released in 1924, featuring Ronald Colman, George Arliss and Edith Roberts. I like this still which reveals how an insert shot was staged with Edith Roberts’ and Colman’s right hands practicing their signatures in front of an extreme close up lens.
Here’s Ronald Colman celebrating the first anniversary of Twentieth Century Pictures in 1934, when he was making “Clive of India” for Darryl Zanuck. 20th was the collaboration of Zanuck and Joe Schenck who made sound movies for release through United Artists. In 1935, they merged with William Fox’s company to create 20th Century-Fox. Isn’t that a monumental super-colossal birthday cake? I’ll bet that Mr. Colman found the thing a bit pretentious, eh what?
I’m a big radio buff, as was my brother, so mike shots of radio stars thrill me. Wouldn’t it have been wonderful to see and hear Mr. Colman playing the part of George Apley on CBS in 1948? Stay tuned to the Catblog for more rare stills from Kurt’s collections. Kurt was especially fond of Sidney Carton in the film “A Tale Of Two Cities” which Colman played against type as an alcoholic reprobate who sacrificed himself on the guillotine in place of Charles Darnay.

2 Responses to “Close Up On The Eggs”

  1. Kamden Spies says:

    Hey Mark,

    Great post. I have a question though about the Felix comic strip. Did they have a hard time deciding if Felix should speak in the strip since he appeared in silent cartoons? Also, what was the purpose of pairing him with Betty Boop in their duo strip? It’s a very strange concept.

    • Mark says:

      Thanks, Kamden. Felix DID “speak” in the silent cartoons, in the dialog balloons superimposed over his head, and in the full screen titles used in late 1920s Felix cartoons. As a matter of fact, the Winkler silent Felixs were marketed as Felix “Comics”.
      The Betty Boop and Felix strip was Brian Walker’s idea. I think he tried to market a Betty Boop strip, due to her nostalgic appeal in the 1970s, but King Features had the rights to Felix, so they added him to the cast to make the new strip more marketable. It didn’t last too long, just a couple of years. Felix could have been any old wise-cracking cartoon cat in the Betty Boop and Felix strip, his writing was a lot like the Garfield strip!

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