It’s been a Ralph Hulett kind of week around here. First it was his Christmas cards, now here’s a link to ONE GOT FAT, a bizarre (borderline disturbing) live-action bicycle safety film that he art directed in 1963. The real highlight might be the film’s amusing narration, which comes courtesy of character actor (and “Fractured Fairy Tales” narrator) Edward Everett Horton.
(Thanks, Patrick McCart)
UPDATE: Kevin writes to let us know there’s more info about ONE GOT FAT in the comments section of this post at the Animation Guild blog.
UPDATE #2: Ralph Hulett’s son, Steve, writes in with more info about the film:
This thing was filmed in La Crescenta (up above Glendale) in the summer of ’63. It was directed by William Dale Jennings (who also wrote the script and whose idea it was to make the cyclists monkeys.) Jennings later wrote the novel “Ronin” which has become kind of a cult classic, and the John Wayne epic “The Cowboys,” (1971) based on Jennings’ novel of the same name.
Max Hutto, the cinematographer, had been a director on “Fibber McGee and Molly” in its radio heyday. Hutto, Jennings and Hulett formed a small film company they named “Interlude Films” and proceeded to make a few short movies, all shot on 16mm. My dad provided most of the start-up cash. The company was only in business a few years, and this is the film that has had a weird half-life on the Internet. It went out of copyright years ago, and showed up on YouTube. Somebody saw it and made a spooky music video out of it, and both continue to circle the globe on the Internet.
Father made the monkey masks out of papier mache, and did the titles. He also drove our ’61 Chevy Greenbrier van that drove alongside the monkeys as they pedalled along La Crescenta streets. (They tied the van’s sliding side door open and filmed through the opening.) My younger brother Ralph is the monkey running on foot. My mother Shirley is one of the women (the blonde one) who is knocked into a tree. (I remember being steamed I wasn’t in it. I was too tall.)