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Cartoon Dump #4: Captain Fathom


Captain Fathom was the third and final cartoon series produced by Cambria Productions in their patented Synchro-Vox system. This was the technique where the studio spent as little money as possible on animation and super-imposed live action lips on the hand drawn characters. When I saw these as a kid, I thought it was very creepy.

It’s still creepy, and a perfect centerpiece to our latest Cartoon Dump podcast, which we’ve just posted on Download all four podcasts (thus far) of Cartoon Dump: the worst cartoons—anytime you want them, everywhere you go!

  • Jayster

    The drawing on the left looks like a Mike Judge drawing.

    I saw the D.V.D extra on the Incredible’s where they made a cartoon like this, I had no idea that they actually did these in real life with superimposed lips. It’s super ridiculous and creepy.

  • amid

    Jayster: When I was preparing this for BrewFilms, I thought the same exact thing about the drawing on the left. I think we’ve discovered Mike Judge’s source of inspiration: Synchro-vox :-)

  • Wow! That is a riot! (And, you’re right, about as haunting as toondom can get!)

    I still say the “retards in unitards” are damn hot!

  • fishmorgjp

    I think the best word for Synchro-Vox is “nightmarish”… eek.

  • i’m surprised no one at adult swim or something picked up on a style like this. as creepy and cheap-o as it is, the whole synchro-vox would be a gold mine for funny. either that or they have already…seeing as i have no TV and don’t keep up with the latest (ME LAME).

  • Ernesto Guevaritos

    If you listen real hard, you’ll hear Lisa Judson and her creative team discover Synchro-Vox just about now.

  • Is it just me, or do all of these cartoons featured on cartoon Dump seem to have a sort of blood all over the screen red-o-vision effect going on?

  • Chris Webb

    Hey everybody – Conan has been doing a version of this for years.

  • Bugsmer

    This is your best episode yet! I actually watched it all the way through, something I haven’t done since episode 1. I like the hound girl. She and Compost seem to have a good on-screen chemistry. This time it was the cartoon I had a hard time sitting through. The cartoon was especially bad, and the kids who watched it must have been pretty desperate on Saturday mornings. There was almost no effort put forth to animate anything. I’m sure that if I saw the next episode, or one from six weeks back, we’d see the same poses, the same facial expressions, the same backgrounds and foregrounds, and the same very minute animation. The entire thing was pretty much a series of still pictures with people’s moving mouths added.

    Your show is getting better, Jerry. The episodes are getting more complex and entertaining. The crew is getting rid of some of the kinks that have plagued it in its early stages. Keep up the good work!

  • Paul N

    We need a Buf Badger fan club! :0)

  • Nor’easter


    The red is what happens to Eastmancolor prints and negatives over time.

  • Steve Gattuso

    “We need a Buff Badger fan club!”

    Oh, dear God no. We can all guess who’d join THAT!

  • Chuck R.

    “The red is what happens to Eastmancolor prints and negatives over time”

    What?! Jerry doesn’t restore these lost gems to their former brilliance before unveiling them to the public? Man… respect for the medium.

  • FP

    Great show as always, with lots of MST3K-style humor. The new KISS-makeup girl’s timing is not quite as tight as that of Compost Brite and Owl Man, and it looks like she’s reading from cue cards, but I’m sure it’ll get better.

    I wish this was a half-hour show, with more sketches, and the cartoons cut down to a minute or two, the way they were on PEEWEE’S PLAYHOUSE.

    The “red” in the cartoon prints could be largely corrected with five minutes of tweaking in any NLE…but would it be worth the five minutes it would take?

  • The guy on the left looks disturbingly like Mel Torme.

  • I am doing research for a documentary about chinese sports. I am looking for cartoons of:

    – parents who won’t let their kids do sports
    – kids afriad of doing sports
    – doctors who say sports are too risky for injury
    – grandmas who say sports are too tiring
    – pinks who think sports suck!

    Also, any trendy cartoon or animation clubs — part of anti-sports culture especially among Asian kids!

    Please send me an email if you have any footage or thoughts. Many Thanks!