Looney Tunes, Merrie Melodies, Happy Harmonies… and it all came down to this: Sir Gee Whiz On The Other Side Of The Moon. Needless to say, the latter years of Hugh Harman and Rudolf Ising were rough.
Breaking away from Disney (and Charles Mintz) in 1930, they struck gold by hooking up with Leon Schlesinger and establishing the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies for Warner Bros. In an effort to upgrade their product and compete with Disney, the duo left producer Leon Schlesinger in 1933 and, after sub-contracting a few Cubby Bear cartoons for Van Beuren, accepted an offer to provide Happy Harmonies color cartoons for MGM. It was their work at MGM that ultimately laid the foundation for the later success of Hanna and Barbera and Tom & Jerry.
Hugh and Rudy gave it up to support the effort during World War II, creating instructional animated films for the Armed Services. They spent the rest of their careers creating educational, industrial and commercial films, never achieving the public fame they once enjoyed during the 1930s. Not that they didn’t try. One of their efforts, long thought lost, was this 1960 pilot for Sir Gee Whiz.
Limited animation was not something Harman and Ising could grasp easily. This short shows just how badly Hugh and Rudy didn’t get it. The problems start with the premise: A little old gnome who who knocks out adults and takes little girls to his home — on the moon. Because it concerns the moon, the whole show has an unpleasant, dark, look. Rudy Ising’s vocal as Sir Gee Whiz sounds scary – like a perverted old uncle. And then there are characters like “Senor Ropo” (pictured, above right) and the “Terrible Kinker”…
Enough talk! Check out Sir Gee Whiz On The Other Side Of The Moon this week on Cartoon Dump, now up at CartoonBrewFilms.com. And if you think this is a hoot, come see Cartoon Dump Live next week, on Tuesday (Oct. 23rd) at the Steve Allen Theatre in Hollywood!