Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol

A blog dedicated to the making of the first animated Christmas special, Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Lee Orgel and The New Three Stooges

While it couldn't be considered a high point in either Lee Orgel's or The Three Stooges' career, this minor series, which was both developed and produced by Lee, might be the first animated TV series to feature live characters as animated renditions of themselves.  To tie the show into the past, the Stooges themselves appeared in live-action wraparounds directed by former Stooge director, Edward Bernds.  Lee followed this show up by developing an Abbott and Costello series, which was produced at Hanna-Barbera, and before too long Saturday morning shows abounded with live-action knock-offs--Lassie, Partridge Family 2200 AD, The Brady Bunch, Gilligan's Planet, Star Trek, The Addams Family, ad nauseum.  Apparently, familiarity was a winning formula with the networks.

Nevertheless, the animated Stooges kept a lot of animation talent employed in the mid-1960s, including such key contributors to Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol as production designer Lee Mishkin, background painters Bob Inman and Gloria Wood and layout artist Corny Cole.  The show was produced in West Hollywood at Cambria Productions (the same folks who gave us Clutch Cargo) from 1965-66.

Character layouts by Corny Cole
The first episode in the series, That Little Old Bombmaker (which was a play on the Italian Swiss Colony wine commercials of the time, "that little old winemaker, me!"), was laid out by Corny Cole.  A small sample of his layout drawings for this episode were discovered in the same mis-marked boxes mentioned in a previous blog post.  Very little art from the series seems to have survived making these quite rare.  Like most of TV animation from the era, one can see that quality of the drawing in the layouts was seldom reflected in the animation.

The model drawings below appear to be drawn by Lee Mishkin.

1 comment:

top_cat_james said...

[T]his minor series...might be the first animated TV series to feature live characters as animated renditions of themselves.

The Beatles premiered the same month.