I’m back with another lame attempt by a classic cartoon studio to be relevant in the 1960s.
Today I’ve got what I believe is the last theatrical one-shot produced by the Terrytoon studio in New Rochelle, New York. Search For Misery (1963) is a real curio. I suspect it was concocted as a pilot, an attempt to break into prime time television. Why not? Everyone else was doing it at the time – and Terrytoons was actually owned by a major network, CBS. With other prime time animated series patterned after sitcoms and adventure shows, director Bob Kuwahara and writer Larz Bourne concocted this spoof based on TV’s most tried and true genre: soap operas.
Though years ahead of Mary Hartman, Pitiful Penelope lacks the wit and social satire this sort of thing required. The humor is labored and deliberate. When the character names (Roland Stone, Big Delia, Kay Niver) are the cleverest thing in the script, you know you are in trouble. Cosmo Anzilotti did all the animation, Tom Morrison is the narrator, Dayton Allen and his wife Elvi portray Roland and Penny, respectively. I give it points for being different, and for its attempt to appeal to adults. It’s certainly one of the oddest things Terrytoons ever produced. Because it is so rarely seen, I thought it would be worth a post.