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“Cars” The Lost Episode?

Pixar’s Cars is preceded in animation history by such shorts as Warner Bros. Streamline Greta Green (1937), Tex Avery’s One Cabs Family (1952), and even Disney’s Susie The Little Blue Coupe (1952). But I grew up watching a boring Automobile Club pedestrian safety film called The Talking Car, which my gym class ran endlessly on rainy days. Some future rainy day I’ll subject you to the original ten-minute 1955 black and white version I was routinely tortured with. For now, I just found an embed to the equally bad, sixteen-minute long, 1969 color remake with Brian Forster (The Partridge Family) as “Jimmy”, voices by Hal Smith and some very cool vintage Burbank locations.

(Don’t forget to “See and Be Seen”)

  • Peter Wassink

    Though poorly executed, at least they made the obvious choice to use the headlights as eyes.
    I never liked Pixars chooice to use windscreens for that.

    • Jonah Sidhom

      “Obvious choice” rarely equals good art.

      • Roland Denby

        Both places for eyes make sense. No one is better than the other. Of course placing them in the headlights seems the more obvious choice, as they are shaped the same as human eyes. Personally, I prefer the headlights. Having the eyes float in the windshield doesn’t make as much sense. It seems a lazier design.

    • Beaten to this exact comment, except I’d have phrased it in such a way as to suggest they were objectively wrong rather than that I personally disliked it :)

      • Chris Sobieniak

        I would be in the headlights camp too.

    • obliviously logical

      I’d have to agree with the above comments, and while they didn’t make the “obvious” choice in regards to eye-placement, perhaps they made the only logical one they could for the movie. My thinking (and I admit I could be wrong) is that because we, as humans, drive the car (though obviously not in the movie), we act as the car’s brain and we see out of the windshield, ergo, the car sees out of the windshield. Plus, all of their night scenes became slightly easier to figure out because now you don’t have to factor in the eyes glowing and still being able to read them.

      Just my opinion, not saying it’s right or wrong (and personally, I could care less about Cars), only that I can see why they did what they did.

      • I too will assert the windshield thing as objectively wrong.
        Every child or imaginative adult, or for all I know every mammal that ever looked at a car, determines its face to be made up of the lights, grill etc – and determines the nature of its personality accordingly. This is simply how the brain interprets faces and anthropomorphises things. So its objective already. Frickin’ neuroscience or something. And all that stuff Pixar is supposed to be better than everyone else at negotiating.

        But to have a film based around the implicit personalities of cars, and NOT do this, and instead employ a device by which every ‘character’ has the exact same eyes but a different chasis – well, it punches all the visual arts square in the nuts anyways, and leaves Cars as basically a radio play.

        I understand WHY they did it too. To disguise the lack of human drivers so the cars don’t look haunted. Which to my mind makes it a constant awkward fudge. Literally pulling the blinds down over a gaping logic hole in the mythology.

        The windscreen is not the window to the soul. It is a cars forehead. Period.

    • It’s a conceptual difference…

      Cars with headlights for eyes still allow for humans to “get inside” and drive. Herbie was driven.

      But the cars in CARS are entities in themselves. There is no room inside for a human to get in. Human’s don’t exist.

      It’s lame no matter which you choose.

  • Mr. James

    “You wouldn’t have been able to go fishing tomorrow…or EVER…you’d be KILLED.”

    Love that line!

  • Don’t forget the TV show “My Mother the Car”

  • Mark Arnold

    How about “Dad, Can I Borrow the Car?” starring Kurt Russell, also by Disney?


  • Harold

    Poor Hal Smith. From Owl in Winnie the Pooh to this.

  • David Breneman

    Wow, I’ve got that Mustang tire screech. It comes from the Major Records (Valentino) sound effects library – on 78s!

  • Gerard de Souza

    Disney also did Anyburg USA, which uses design theory for the cars from Susie.
    Pixar’s car characters I found appealing. For me the design criticism viewing of Cars isn’t about character design but treatment of metal. Pixar breaks one of its own rules about integrity of properties here. So while an Ok film, I get a kind of cartoon uncanny valley feeling watching what’s supposed to be metal behave organically. I think that went far for me to not as warming up as much to the characters. Of course they had to, making a CG film, and the did the best anyone ever could but I find cartoon cars more plausible when drawn.

  • Roland Denby

    I am reminded of a 1970s Hanna-Barbera cartoon called, “Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch.” I’m sure the HB haters here will flame me for this, but I thought the series was incredibly well designed. Like “Cars,” it was a world full of cars and other vehicles and featured a Volkswagon-type bug and his rivals, a group of motorcycles. It’s available from WB online and worth checking out, for it’s character designs and background styling. Just leave the attitude at the door. LOL!

  • DB

    LOL those shots of the snarling dog.

    The editor must have thrown those in just to keep the kids from falling asleep in the auditorium.

  • Jed G Martinez

    Jerry, you forgot the animated talking cars in Ward Kimball’s classic live-action Disney short “Dad, Can I Borrow the Car?” – my favorite being the VW with a German accent… “Achtung!… Ve have vays of making you buy, you know!”

  • It’s not exactly old school, but I prefer the charm and animation of the Aardman Chevron spots to CARS.

  • John Ford