The Velvet Mouse Show The Velvet Mouse Show

The Velvet Mouse Show

Jetset Studios in Los Angeles creates online campaigns and internet video for the major Hollywood studios. But between projects the studio has been quietly developing The Velvet Mouse Show. Created by studio co-founders Russell Scott and Patrick Young, The Velvet Mouse Show is anchored by a 2D cartoon that is a very deliberate love letter to Saturday Morning cartoons of the seventies.

So far, they’ve concocted a seven minute pilot and two teasers on their YouTube channel. Their main website and Facebook page features further background material, music, images, and “artifacts from the history of show”. Here’s a sample (with a nifty vintage Ice Bird commercial):

(Thanks, Matthew Selznick)

  • As somebody who was a child of the ’70s (Class of ’79) and having two retro ’70s projects in the works (three if you count the porthole Pinto), all I can comment on this show is: “Kayewel ‘n’ diyeecient!”

  • Rupe

    There’s nothing vintage (or funny, for me) about lazy looking flash animation. The commercial also tells us that they are aware of what ‘vintage’ looks like but cannot even begin to put a clever or creative effort into hinting at that quality or style.
    To me most of the evidence of a low-budget or clumsy 70’s cartoon, like when the character/cell casts a shadow on the background, make them a lot more interesting and fun to watch. (a lot of times because it exposes the process they had to go through to make the cartoon)
    Evidence of clumsy flash techniques unfortunately produces blandness and stagnancy.
    The movement and gesture in this makes the New Scooby-Doo Movies look like the jungle book.

    • Bill

      Just the still image alone looks closer to something off newgrounds then something from the 70’s. The outlines are too bold (like most flash) and the eyes most certainly aren’t from the 70’s.

      • Having Don Decarlo knockoff eyes painted the same color as the rest of the flesh would bring it closer to an authentic ’70s look.

      • Chris Sobieniak

        Certainly there’s a lot that can be improved on this if they wanted to capture that look (solid colored backgrounds with no outlines, dusts and dirt on cels, darkening of characters through cel layering and so-on, not to mention the occasional goof in the ink & paint dept.).

  • Bill Field

    “Righteous Righteous Outtasighteous!”

    -Easy Reader AKA Morgan Freeman (circa 1971)

    That’s the VIBE I get from these groovy Daddios!

  • “a very deliberate love letter to Saturday Morning cartoons of the seventies.”

    Writing love letters to someone who abused you so badly seems misguided.

    I gave the long version a try. I’m sure they’re not trying to fool us that it’s a real vintage program; too many CG assists; but it does incorporate that 70’s aesthetic of badly mismatched premises.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      The only thing missing I wouldn’t mind having as well is the added laugh track. It would bring it on home for me!

  • HJ Powers

    It seems like the music is the real throughline here, as much as a tribute to the “Sugar Sugars” of the era as the let’s-solve-a-mystery plots or the visual styles. Great stuff!

  • SDC

    Agreed, the Flash has a definite Flash look. Eventually we’ll have cartoons in Technology X that invoke nostalgia for late 90’s/early 00’s Flash animation.

    Also: turns out ice bird WASN’T a lot of fun.

  • RealityCheck

    Jerry seems more level headed than Amid, but i can’t believe THIS is given a decent write up and Regular Show is met with derision. And why is this given any notice whatsoever? One glance at Vimeo’s animation channel will give you 30 more worthy objects of praise. Is Jerry friends with some of the creators? Is he pimping them as a good buddy would? If so, let us know upfront. I honestly don’t understand why some things get posted on this site and why SO much other amazing animation is looked over.

    • Bill

      The only thing criticised in the Regular Show article was Cartoon Networks clip choices. While I didn’t like the Regular Show Pilot atleast its not another mediocre retro attempt.

  • Rufus

    Why were ugly human versions of Hewey Dewey and Louie in it?

  • Rufus

    Making 70’s nostalgia cartoons is no excuse to make it look hideous – today.

  • Um how do you get an ice brick that big? What was that to help chill their ice box? LoL

    As for flash look I think its okay, personally I think it looks a little too slick. The animation is fine but it could use some post treatment, like shadows under the art to replicate cells and some grain. Otherwise its neat, too bad I don’t have cable :\

  • I just fell in love with Icebird (and desperately want one)! Maybe he can team up with ‘Velvet Mouse’ and become friends…

    I’d like to see a tv-show about that! ;-)

    – skin-colored eyes
    – coloring mistakes in individual cells (just for fun)
    – repeating background-loops that don’t exactly ‘loop’
    – rainbow-titles inbetween (they got that right!)
    – a ‘laughing audience’-tape every two seconds and
    – a funky canned soundtrack that goes on forever…

  • The cleanliness of the animation is definitely distracting… especially when you put that live action commercial next to it! (IS THAT THING FOR REAL!??). I say they put it out to analog tape and then redigitize it, that’ll really make it work.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      More or less give it that filmic look people are so into these days if they wanted to make their pieces like that authentic. It’s not that hard to do given the circumstances (namely frame jitters and grain since that’s all I can take).

  • Christine

    The animation rates a meh. However, OMG Icebird!!! I HAD one of those!!! I remember it took forever to shave enough ice to fill that damn cup. That and we’d forget to store that gigantic square block in the freezer, and by the time it froze we’d forgotten we’d wanted to play with it.

    “Back in my day, we had to WORK for our snow cones!!”

    • Chris Sobieniak

      well, at least they still make the Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine (Not nearly as stressful as you just grind up ice cubes in it).

  • Mick Collins

    Aaaaaghh! Ice Bird jingle…mind virus…destroying sanity…vaccine lapsed after 30 years…must…warn…others…..

  • among other things that don’t jive with a 70’s style animation – the thing that bothers me most are the backgrounds. If you pay attention to the backgrounds in a Scooby-Doo cartoon you will notice they are quite attractive and sometimes very elaborate paintings. The background should never be an after thought – as it clearly was in this animation.
    check this link out to see what I mean

    PS – the whole thing is not well done at all. IceBird steals the show for sure.

  • David Breneman

    I thought this was actually pretty clever and evocative of the era. There were “Spock-inspired” characters all over popular culture in the late 60s and early 70s. And of course it’s not funny, in the intentional way; neither were the original cartoons. In that way it’s a lot like the humor of Martin Mull or Steve Martin – it’s the idea that the joke would even be considered funny that’s the actual joke. Also very 70s. The only thing I found distracting was the stereo sound. And they need to work in some celebrity cameos. People like Orson Bean or Charo.

  • How can you not like something with such an obvious Spock expy?

    Last night, I realized that when it comes to mismatched cartoons, this parody is probably less piebald than a real cartoon series that had The Brady Kids living in a treehouse with two ping pong playing pandas from outer space and a talking magic crow, and all they go on wacky adventures. What is scary is that there may even be farther out high concepts that my memory is repressing.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      Um, like The Partridge Family 2200 A.D.? :-)

      • Katella Gate

        At least the Partridge Family 2200 A.D. was plausible ;-)

  • Daev

    I for one was won over by the “no time for soundcheck!”. So I’d like to see this thing go further. I’d suggest for the pilot:

    1) overhaul the script. At 7 minutes, this story is a bore.

    2) clean up them outlines so it doesn’t look like a splotchy newgrounds thing.

    3) Get a pro VO guy to do the narration. That will take things thing miles.

    4) Velvet: Englisho accento.

    5) Work out your rigs to have more angles.

    6) Redo Jupiter, but just a little.

  • Pedro Nakama

    The retro commercial was better than the show.

  • Some Bird

    It says a lot that I was going “LOL, WTF 70s?” at the commercial more than the cartoon.

  • Swetch

    They weren’t called “background loops” back in the day. They were known as “repeat backgrounds” or, at one bottom of the toilet studio, “bike pans.”

  • First, to say how much I enjoy this show–having grown up in the 70s, it’s a great throwback to the Saturday morning cartoons of that decade…I absolutely LOVED watching them, it’s great to have something that pays tribute to them.

    Second, it seems that the “critics” have much to complain about–I wonder if they actually watched each episode and tried to find something good…OK, so the animation may not be “vintage”, no laugh track (does it really need one?), if it looked exactly like the vintage shows, would that make any difference?

    It would be cool to see it on TV, looking exactly like “Scooby Doo”, “The Sundance Kids Featuring Butch Cassidy”, etc. And of course, released on DVD (would have to expand the current and future shows to about 23 minutes or 6-7 with singalongs, like “The Beatles” animated series (which also should be on DVD)).

    Forget the critics and enjoy “The Velvet Mouse Show”!

  • Love the show, forget the critics!