May 18th, 2008

krazy koati

Change a hawk to a little white dove

Two of the admittedly many cartoon characters I liked growing up were Heckyl and Jeckyl. One of the cartoons that I saw I know not how many times before I was eight was one I learned later must have been The Power of Thought. In it, they realize that because they're cartoon characters, they can do anything they want because a cartoon is anything it looks like it is. They weren't the first cartoons using that fact, but they were the first I saw doing that. It was inspirational, one of those transcendent moments when I realized that worlds were opening up.

But Heckyl and Jeckyl disappeared from television long ago, with rights in a horrible muddle among indifferent corporations so that the only cartoon of theirs that would ever appear on public-domain tapes or DVDs was The Talking Magpies, their debut, when they were a husband and wife team(!). Other cartoons exploited the knowledge-of-cartoon-ness, most famously Duck Amuck, but my life arranged itself so that when I saw that it was a copy of a copy of this idea. (I actually saw Rabbit Rampage before Duck Amuck. That was the remake of Duck Amuck which Chuck Jones made because he had to make every cartoon twenty times over with variations like this time, Pepe LePew has two toes crossed. Notice that Duck Amuck is always atop Greatest Cartoons Ever lists, while Rabbit Rampage is not.)

Anyway: The Power of Thought crossed my mind when I looked up Google Videos to confirm some Heckyl and Jeckyl trivia, and I discovered: it's now on YouTube. I can watch it any time I want.

So now I'm terrified to. One the one hand, this is something I have been longing to see again for over a quarter century. On the other hand, what if it sucks? This is a nontrivial chance since Heckyl and Jeckyl were made by Terrytoons, and Paul Terry never saw any reason to let things like ``quality'' or even ``minimal watchability'' impair the production schedule, and wasn't about to let ``innovation'' screw up a good thing. How can it stand up to the cherished youthful memory I have? But what if it does, and I don't watch it?

Trivia: In 1942 Paul Terry purchased the animation rights to Ernie Bushmiller's Nancy, which was turned into two cartoons. Source: Of Mice and Magic, Leonard Maltin.

Currently Reading: Astounding: John W Campbell Memorial Anthology, Editor Harry Harrison. Gee. Who'd have expected a story in which humans just happen to have that certain something -- namely, a good-natured ability to be accidentally genetically engineered into supersoldiers by the enemy aliens -- that lets them blow the enemy aliens out of space in a John W Campbell tribute story?