Three Classics by Chuck Menville and Len Janson

All praise the Internet for making available three difficult-to-find LA-produced indie animation classics—Vicious Cycles, Blaze Glory, and Sergeant Swell of the Mounties. All three shorts were directed by Len Janson and the late Chuck Menville. The films make superb use of the pixilation technique, which is the frame-by-frame manipulation of live-action subjects.

Vicious Cycles (1967)
(Note: The leader of the bad bikers is Len Janson; the leader of the top-hatted fancy bikers is Chuck Menville.)

Blaze Glory (1968)
Interesting credits on this film include TV commercial director Bob Kurtz as co-writer, and Warner Bros. animator Ken Champin in the role of the Indian.

Sergeant Swell of the Mounties (1972)
Part 1 and Part 2 on YouTubeSergeant Swell of the Mounties

(Thanks, John Hudgens)


  • Tom Minton

    Chuck Menville was one of the nicest guys in animation. He left us far too early.

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

    Interesting to know that Chuck Menville’s son Scott is a voice actor in cartoons these days (he was Kevin French in MISSION HILL and Robin in TEEN TITANS). I just want Scott to know that he had a great dad.

    More to the point, I saw STOP, LOOK, AND LISTEN (very similar to VICIOUS CYCLES, and also starring Menville) not too long ago on Turner Classic Movies! It blew my mind! It’s like watching Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote, only as men on imaginary cars, moving around in stop motion.

  • Bob Schooley

    I was thinking the same thing Tom wrote when I watched these.

    We were lucky enough to write for Chuck and Len on Ghostbusters as one of our first jobs.

  • Keith Paynter

    All 3 Chuck Menville shorts are still available for commercial sale from Pyramid Media on VHS. I bought a copy a couple of years ago. At that time, BLAZE GLORY was not available on DVD, but it is now, for $39.00. That may seem a bit steep, but remember they don’t typically market to individuals – they sell to schools and libraries, therefore the high cost is for public performance license. The DVD is available for personal use, according to their site – http://www.pyramidmedia.com.

    “…ma’am…”

  • JUSTIN ASHLEY

    I purchased the 16mm Pyramid Film at auction , along with other films. This film seems to be somewhat popular,also fairly funny, is there a value to having the 16mm original and what would the value be?

  • Lee Herbst Sr.

    Is there a video or dvd available of all or any of their film shorts?