Crumley Cogwheel (1962)

Another week, another oddball adult-skewing Paramount cartoon from the 1960s. Unlike previous films I’ve posted recently, this one was indeed shown on theaters and on Saturday morning TV (hence the The New Casper Cartoon Show titles), but was left off the recent Complete Harveytoons dvd set.

Written by Irv Spector, Crumley Cogwheel features Paramount’s usual vocal team of Eddie Lawrence and Eddie Lawrence, using his two stock voice characterizations. If you enjoy his voices (and I do), you’ll like this picture. Once again, adult frustrations are at the core of the scenario: nebbish corporate employee Cogwheel hasn’t asked for a raise in 20 years and his boss challenges him to do so. Cogwheel eventually gets the nerve to ask, and becomes a man — but only after getting bombed at the local bar. It’s amazing this was considered suitable for Saturday morning. Note Casper in the end titles, shrugging his shoulders as if to communicate to the kids at home that he has no idea where this cartoon came from.


  • Katella Gate

    Yep, you reminded me why I never watched the Casper Show back in the mid 60′s.

  • http://bakertoons.blogspot.com/ Charles Brubaker

    I love these Paramount posts you do every week.

    Do you take requests? I’ve been wondering about the Nudnik shorts that Gene Deitch made in Prague.

    Well, it DID get a theatrical release from Paramount, even if they didn’t actually produce it.

  • Kristjan Birnir

    “but was left off the recent Complete Harveytoons dvd set.” Then it isn’t complete Harveytoons with leaving posted cartoon out of the set unless this short dosn’t qualifay as Haverytoon.

  • http://www.cartoonresearch.com Jerry Beck

    Kristjan Birnir – You are correct. As I explained back in this post on October 2006, HARVEYTOONS: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION does not contain every “Harveytoon” Classic Media owns the rights to. It’s missing about 16 titles – and numerous other cartoons are presented in excerpt form. The title of the set is misleading.

  • Rose

    These cartoons lack so much. Humor, creativity, and grace most prominently. Not funny, often bullying and inappropriate. Just horrid wee bitty things.

    Poor Casper, having to be host ghost to this sort of thing.

    Which is not to say it isn’t very interesting to see them and discuss them. It is, and I thank you.

  • Paul Spector

    Thanks for posting this, Jerry. I put up an early treatment for Crumley that has some differences to the finished cartoon, at:

    http://irvspector.blogspot.com/2009/03/paramount-1962-crumley-cogwheel-ill.html

  • Lucky

    The Modern Madcap world seems cruel, bullying and graceless only when judged against contemporary life. Its actually a pretty good mirror of how things were in the early 1960′s, here on earth.

  • Doug Drown

    Rose’s and Lucky’s remarks sting (unintentionally). I had never seen this cartoon before, and my jaw almost dropped to my computer keyboard when I first laid eyes on Cogwheel: he’s an amazingly accurate caricature of a bowtied, bespectacled, mustachioed middle-aged man I knew years ago, back in the ’60s and ’70s, who died rather young, largely a victim of his own inner demons. “Nebbish” is indeed the word that would have characterized him. This Modern Madcap brought back a bunch of sad memories. And Lucky is right: it is a mirror of how things were back then.

  • Christopher Cook

    Having seen this cartoon when ABC ran it back in 1963 (I was 7), it baffled me. How could ABC screen a cartoon like this during Saturday kidvid when the Casper cartoons were strictly geared towards children? Another question: How could Mr. Blunt not know that Cogwheel spent two hours getting toasted?

  • http://yoe.com Craig Yoe

    Hey, it was worth the price of admission if just to see the sexy secretary’s square boobs. Only in a sixties modernistic cartoon are square boobs cool!

  • Rose

    Having grown up in the 1960′s and having observed life then: I understand your point Lucky.

    By lack of grace and style I meant in comparison to the work of UPA . The productions that these Modern madcaps were conceived to be akin to. Where UPA cartoons used limited animation in a stylistic and humorous way, where their lines flowed gracefully and their stories piqued the mind: modern madcaps do not.

    …but please know I admire the work, the direction, the effort these shorts entailed. I admire the goals behind them.

    I just don’t think they meet the quality of other work done at the same time. In many ways I think they failed to attain their own hopeful goals.

  • David

    Actually, I thought this was quite a bit better than the other recent Modern Madcaps that have been posted.

  • Nick

    I believe you have my stapler.

  • http://fwak.xanga.com/ Eddie Mort

    I always used to feel cheated by these as a kid. I’d get up at 6.30 AM to watch the Casper Show and get freakin’ Crumley Cogwheel or Finnegan’s Flea – which was a depressing, wrist-slashing version of One Froggy Evening

  • David Breneman

    I never liked Casper cartoons even as a kid. The “humor” was usually mean-spirited and the bizarre excesses the innocent characters would go through to escape “A GHOST!” were cruel and sadistic. It was a world populated with imbeciles and victims.

    I do remember one “Modern Madcap” that stood out from the mediocre crowd. It had to do with a little cafe in which the disgruntled cook and a customer agreed to chage roles to see how each liked the other’s lot. Although I haven’t seen it in decades, I remember it as being refreshingly sympathetic to its characters and and insightful in its observations. I was waiting for the thing to turn hopelessly wrong and nasty in it tone, but it never did. I’d love to see it again and discover if it’s really good or simply the least worst product of a phsychologically dysfunctional studio.

  • B. Baker

    An experience nearly as strange as seeing something like this air on ABC’s Casper show was when CBS’ Mighty Mouse Playhouse would occasionally run one of the “John Doormat” shorts. What could the people assembling these programs have been thinking?

  • Cameron

    You know, I think I remember seeing the ending to this as a wee-child…in the 90s. Weird…

  • http://www.orphantoons.wordpress.com Kevin Wollenweber

    Well, if these were initially made for theaters, chances are that they weren’t meant to be geared expressly to kids, like the many, many LOONEY TUNES and MERRIE MELODIES that we all enjoy and bicker over. Seeing this short, as usual, makes me so wish that we would *REALLY*, someday, get THE COMPLETE HARVEYTOONS, even if in various volumes similar to the LOONEY TUNES GOLDEN COLLECTION sets!

  • John A

    B. Baker: I remember that one, “Another Day Another Doormat”, where John Doormat spends his mornings getting bitched out by his enormous scarey wife, then he goes to work and takes it out on his co-workers and subordinates . You literally watch the rage building up in his eyes as he becomes more and more aggressive with the world around him. At one point, he goes to a department store to return a tie and he gets especially belligerent to a clerk. His wife is shopping nearby, hears this “real man” ranting and falls in love. She goes to the men’s dept. and she sees it’s her husband and she throws herself at him, at which time he reverts back to his original submissive self.

    These cartoons used to run just before Captain Kangaroo.
    It’s no wonder so many people in my generation were marriage shy.

  • top cat james

    I liked it, but that took three animators? It’s almost nothing except walk cycles and mouth movements.

  • http://bakertoons.blogspot.com/ Charles Brubaker

    John A,

    Actually, John was trying to return a pipe. I uploaded the cartoon on YouTube. See for yourself:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1LMaL3idEo

  • Paul Spector

    My father actually billed them for animation layout (aside from story) Sometimes. as you know, you’ll see layout credited separately from the animators. I guess it only took 2 animators for talking and walking :)

  • Chris

    Strange toon. As others have mentioned, it doesn’t exactly blend with other Saturday Morning animation of the era. Yet I guess it does mesh with the kinder, gentler (wimpier) approach of the Casper show. I suppose the thinking was that kids would identify with a little guy being harassed by the big bully.

    I did like that Crumley’s usual haunt was not just a tea room, but an Elizabethan Tea Room. The one bit that made me smile.

    Cheers.

  • J Lee

    The one-shot cartoons written by Irv Spector in the 1950s and 60s, and the ones done by Eddie Lawrence in the 60s for Paramount were the ones most geared towards adults, and were a major contrast to Paramount’s continuing series of the 1950s, which tended to be the most juvenile in tone (gratuitous painful violence nonwithstanding).

    While the one-shot Noveltoons may not be ones you should sit the kids down to watch as a video babysitter, and they may not have the polish of the Jones-Maltese one-shots of the late 40s and 1950s, they definitely are not stuck in formula and carry a cynical New York-ish “Life is a pain in the ass,” view you weren’t going to see too many other places during that time period.

  • http://classicparamountcartoons.blogspot.com ParamountCartoons

    Would you post some pre-1950 shorts?

    Those were the best.

  • Ken Layton

    Gosh I haven’t seen this cartoon for about 40 years. I had forgotten about that hot secretary and her square boobs!

  • http://toonsandtelly.blogspot.com/ Lee Glover

    If I was offered a $1 pay rise during this credit crunch, I’d probably faint too!

  • Mean Gene

    Jerry, do you think they will ever put out the real complete Harveytoons and do them justice like they are doing with Popeye. I just can’t get myself to buy that mess they put out a few years ago but I would love to see the old Harveytoons.

  • John A

    Well Charles, i was bound to get some of the details wrong, having not seen the cartoon in over 40 years. I do remember that they played it A LOT and I think it was animated byJim Tyer and written by Jules Ffiefer (sp?), a combination that automatically raises it a few notches above the crudity of the Paramount cartoons made around the same time.

  • http://www.davemackey.com Dave Mackey

    I can’t get enough of these 60′s Paramounts! May have to order some of your discs.

  • MileStill

    Please post as many of these Paramount adult shorts as you can. Depressing, yes. Insightful to their time? Yes!

  • Marin Pažanin

    That was a great cartoon. Too bad that Paramount didn’t made so good cartoons from late 50s. What is weird on these “The New Casper Cartoon Show” prints is Harvey is not credited and the original series title card is left, with the original Paramount copyright under the title.

    Again:
    Cast&Crew:
    Voices: Eddie Lawrence
    Credited Director: Seymour Kneitel
    Animation Director: Irv Spector
    Animation: Irv Spector, Jack Ehret(former cameraman and assistant until 1958) and Larry Silverman
    Story: Irv Spector
    Scenics: Bob Little
    Music: Winston Sharples

    Originally released on 19.1.1962.
    The title card from The Big Cartoon DataBase is from late 60s re-issues of New Casper show.
    And, I’m from Croatia, so that’s why my surename has Ž in it.

  • Marin Pažanin

    This was filmed in EastmanColor, not Techicolor.