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The 3 Minnies: Sota, Tonka and Ha-Ha

The Three Minnies

This week on Cartoon Brew Films, we are happy to present another rare animated film long considered lost: The 3 Minnies: Sota, Tonka and Ha-Ha.

In 1949, Republic Pictures (best known for their B-Westerns and Saturday matinee serials) released a series of cartoons under the banner “Jerky Journeys”. These were low budget satires of travelogues, written by radio comedy writer Leonard Lewis Levinson, and narrated by Jack Benny Program regular Frank Nelson (“Yeeeeesss”). To keep costs down, Levinson wrote the films in such a way as to have as little animation as possible, and convinced Republic that this would be a perfect way to demonstrate the studio’s patented cut-rate “TruColor” (red & green) film process.

Financial restrictions, however, didn’t stop Levinson from hiring several of Hollywood’s best artists, including background painters and designers Art Heinemann, Pete Alvarado, Bob Gribbroek, Paul Julian and effects animator Miles Pike, to help bring these comedies to life. The resulting films are fascinating. An early example of what Chuck Jones might term “illustrated radio”, the “Jerky Journeys” give us a glimpse at a direction Hollywood animation did not go—or might have gone if UPA hadn’t come along. Like an animated version of an article from a ’50s issue of Mad Magazine, these are literate parodies of travel films familiar to audiences of the day.

Four Jerky Journeys were produced, but only two are known to exist and The 3 Minnies is the only surviving entry in color. Take a look at it here. I think you’ll agree this film is unique, original and in many ways, far ahead of its time.

  • I believe the scratches on this film are more animated than anything else in it!

    P.S. Thank you for uploading the rarities Jerry.

  • uncle wayne

    Oh, my WORD! How incredibly interesting! What an un-earthing! Leave it to CB!! Wow….and great!!

  • Now I need to get my laptop back from Betsy to buy this!

  • As a native Minnesotan (and someone living ON the Red River – and yes, ha ha, I get all 3 names!), I will definitely check this one out!

  • I’ll be buying this one just to check Art Heinemann’s Designs. Thanks for sharing this rarity.

  • Jerry, bless your heart for uploading this! I’m revising the travelogue cartoon piece written for Cartoons and this additional information is priceless, as there is so little of it to be had.

  • Kristjan B

    I did like to see this particular cartoon and the link to the actual video is broken if one of the Brew master could fix this I could apprentice that.

  • AF

    is there anyone in this world that can upload this again please?

  • Steve Carras

    Thanks to Don M.Yowp’s Tralfaz blog for linking to this. The Minnie Sota itself was VERY not so “Minnie” ha ha!