From Dime To Dime (1960)

If it’s Saturday, it must be time for another obscure 1960s cartoon that, for one reason or other, was never released to TV. Today we have another Paramount Modern Madcap that showcases an adult vice – in this case, gambling.

From Dime To Dime is the story of a Las Vegas loser who listens to his “conscience” (personified as a little green man) and gambles his last dime, to have seemingly the luckiest day of his life. There is almost nothing really funny in this cartoon – it’s more of an anti-gambling morality play than anything else. The background designs by Robert Owen are worth noting, because that’s the best thing in it. Harvey Comics acquired this picture from Paramount for use on their ABC-TV New Casper Cartoon Show but, like The Plot Sickens and In The Nicotine, felt it was inappropriate for kids. A suicide gag at the conclusion didn’t help its chances for Saturday morning broadcast.

Only a short excerpt from this film appears on the Harveytoons: the Complete Collection dvd set – so, for the sake of animation history, here is the entire cartoon:


  • Conrad

    Interesting to see how many different voices Jackson Beck does in this cartoon, trying not to sound too close to Bluto. Thought I heard Jack Mercer in the first crowd scene, trying not to sound like Popeye.

  • Christopher Cook

    Was that Allen Swift as the poor soul?

  • J Lee

    The little guy’s design reminds me a bit of a less detailed Philbert, while the story’s a less-satisfying twist on “Mr. Money Gags” from four years earlier.

    (Also — and speaking of cartoons only excerpted on the Harveytoons set — Jerry, could you post the first three Ralph and Percy cartoons that eventually led to the Swifty and Shorty series (the series itself was pretty drab, but the first three shorts actually do have good enough dialogue and plots from Eddie Lawrence and Irv Spector to be among the best of the 60s Paramount shorts.)

  • s porridge

    Curious… looks like this was made almost simultaneously with “The Fever,” a similarly themed “Twilight Zone” episode.

    “Frank-lin… Frank-lin… FRANK!LIN!”

    Maybe it’s the green hue: The little guy comes across as an AntiJiminy Cricket.

  • http://twitter.com/dunesen Philip

    I’m not sure how this works as an anti-gambling moral when the guy doesn’t seem to realize he is gambling and doesn’t want to. Other than the first slot machine and the last wheel of fortune, he doesn’t want to gamble and he keeps getting forced into it by external forces acting against him. He’s not a character in the story, he’s a pawn being moved around by the universe.

    Which is rather pointless considering how addictive gambling is and how easy it should have been to write a short about a guy who lets a lucky streak get to his head.

  • Pedro Nakama

    I love those Modern Madcaps. Thanks for posting them.

  • Bill Field

    I really think these cartoons have NEVER gotten the respect they deserve – Jerry is the only historian who has lauded them as they deserve, the Harvey legacy as well wouldn’t be spotlighted if not for Jerry. If Jerry and Amid didn’t do the great work, that they do, oh what the world would lose, these terrific treasures of the motion arts! Thanks, Jerry and Amid the world needs reminding of these animated shorts.

  • uncle wayne

    Pleez someone TELL ME! Am i the only (55-yr. old) who loves the stylizations of a “Modern Madcap!”

    Thank you, Jerry!! So good, too, to hear the dulcet tones of Jackson Beck (“no relation!”)

  • http://gogopedro.com Gogopedro!

    Interesting little cartoon and
    I,m Certainly glad I watched it…
    I’ll make sure the next time i find a dime on the street that I save it to by a coffee….
    you can still get that for a dime right??

    P

  • RODAN

    Yeah..your right…kind of boring…. reminds me of one of the films that would play at the drive-in theater when we’d go to the snack bar when I was a kid.

  • michael

    i don’t know about you guys, but that just made me sad.

  • Christopher Cook

    There was a Modern Madcap screened on the ABC Casper show that ended with a presumed suicide. “Busy Buddies” (1960 was a Jeepers and Creepers cartoon that had Creepers in the red with the IRS. Jeepers enters him in contests that all but kill him in order to raise the money to pay his IRS debt only to owe for the money he just won. The ending had Creepers in a hospital bed, and after Jeepers says he’ll think of something, Creepers jumps out of the window.

    For a gambling treatise, Robert McKimson’s WB short “Early To Bet” (1951) was a good ‘un.

  • http://hedgehog-rover.deviantart.com Martin Juneau

    I remember they aired this cartoon in the Syndication package of Casper and Friends in the 1990′s for TV. It’s one of these cartoons i remember more. The guys from Paramount was the avant-garde of our today’s consummer society.

    Thanks for sharing this Jerry!

  • http://ryuuseipro.deviantart.com John Paul Cassidy

    This was pretty dark, but still very entertaining at the same time! Even if it’s not ha-ha funny, it’s pretty bizarre, and convincing, too. It’s more like “Don’t end up like the man in the film, and brush off that ‘conscience’!” with a very ambiguous ending!

    As usual, I love the animation/designs (I’m just a big Famous Studios nut in general), and the ever-awesome Winston Sharples’ music.

    I still say the Modern Madcaps would be perfect material for Adult Swim!

  • http://yeldarb86.deviantart.com Mr. Semaj

    I’m wondering, was the Modern Madcap theme altered from its original theme, or has it always shared the 50′s Noveltoons theme?

  • Marin Pažanin

    Mr. Semaj- I think Modern Madcaps always shared the Noveltoons theme.

    Cast&Crew:
    Voices: Jack Mercer, Jackson Beck
    Credited Director: Seymour Kneitel
    Animation Director: Tom Johnson
    Animation: Irv Dressler, probably Frank Endres and… Who else?
    Scenics: Robert Owen
    Music: Winston Sharples

    Originally released on 25.3.1960. One of the last cartoons de-facto directed by Tom Johnson. He passed away in September of 1960.
    Also a great cartoon, like every other Paramount cartoon posted on CartoonBrew.