Krazy Kat stop-mo

Chris Diaz led me to the YouTube link (embed below) for that Krazy Kat stop motion that I mentioned in this post last month.

I could do without the narration, but the models, settings and animation are perfect. It was directed by Derek Mogford and produced by Spitting Image Productions for King Features 1n 1996.


  • Joel Brinkerhoff

    I worked with the woman who produced this, a lovely woman named Sarah, ( sorry I can’t remember her last name). She showed me this when it first was made and I was very impressed. My only wish would have been to have the eyes able to look from side to side. Other than that it’s an amazing and faithful transition right down to Ignatz’s scratchy line quality in his legs and arms. Maybe it was Sarah Mullins, there are no credits shown. Anyway it made a lovely Christmas present, thanks Jerry, and Sarah if you see this. Happy Holidays!

  • Paul Naas

    I’m a huge Krazy Kat fan, and I’d never seen this before. Thanks for posting it – it goes right into my collection!

  • http://toonamir.blogspot.com/ Amir Avni

    This was really great!

  • http://www.jjsedelmaier.com J.J. Sedelmaier

    Huh ?

    With keeping the world that Herriman created in mind, I find it extremely difficult to find this enjoyable. As a stand-alone I think it’s nice. The animation is lovely, but I think if you look at the attempt to translate the original and wonderfully unique graphic technique to 3D, it falls ironically flat. That great line quality in the strip becomes a “tattoo” instead of gestural expression. The original alien landscape has gone from suggestive to ultra-defined. Again – great timing and staging, but the art direction doesn’t
    seem to understand the extra transition or two it needs to make to take full advantage of the realm it’s dwelling in. . .

    I think this is better viewed as a test that hopefully had good reason for not going any further. . .

    Feel free to reply, “Outside of that, Mrs. Lincoln – how’d you like the play ?”

  • http://cartoonSNAP.blogspot.com Sherm Cohen

    I’ve always avoided the old Krazy Kat animated cartoons from the 20′s 30′s or 60′s because I never wanted to corrupt the pure image in my brain of one of the greatest comic strips in the history of ink. But THIS is a beautiful and faithful and lovingly-executed animated tribute.

    Thanks so much for sharing this — it’s way to good to have been hiding since 1996!

  • Mesterius

    Great (except for the narration, and also I do partly agree with Joel Brinkelhoff’s remark about the eyes and J. J. Seidelmayer’s art direction comments). Overall, however, this is the best animated adaption I’ve seen of the original strip so far.

    But talking about Herriman’s Krazy Kat, could anyone please post the 1936 Columbia cartoon entitled “Li’l Ainjil”? That one is supposed to be the most accurate classic 2D cartoon ever made of Herriman’s world, so I’d love to see it, not least for comparison with this one. (How about that for an episode of Cartoon Brew TV, Jerry?)

  • roz

    woah awesome!!

    does anybody know how they got the puppets so squishable? is that latex?

  • OM

    …The only problem I see is that, despite Herriman being somewhat ambiguous on the matter, it’s been pretty much accepted that Krazy was female. And yet whoever did the narration kept referring to the poor Kat as a male.

  • Mitch Kennedy

    WOAH that was super cool! The designs were fantastic!

  • Galen Fott

    Sesame Street used to air a segment which was, if memory serves, an incredibly faithful hand-drawn animated adaptation of Krazy Kat. The only info or verification I can find online states it was called “L is for Love”. Does anyone know what this was, or who did it, or how to see it?

  • http://smarterthantheaverage.tumblr.com/ Jonathan Sloman

    My problem with this short is that it feels British. It’s hard to explain, but the action/movements, even when exciting and violent, are too fluid, too soft, whereas in the original strip they were sharp and fast, inspired presumably by current vaudeville. The Fleischer Studio was perfect to adapt the similarly-styled Popeye strip because they had that New York urban attitude. British animation has always been more languid, which is fine for the relaxed, psychedelic world of Yellow Submarine or the sleepy Middle England of Wallace and Gromit (or, indeed, of Derek Mogford’s most famous production Postman Pat), but inappropriate for something as anarchistic as the scratchy, energy-filled pages of Krazy Kat.

    I reckon the overbearing narration was a desperate attempt to ‘Americanize’ the cartoon. Spitting Image Productions had prior to this had great success putting an American voice over British stop-motion with The Big Story, the BAFTA-winning short in which Frank Gorshin plays three Kirk Douglases. Further to this, a decade earlier episodes of the Spitting Image TV series – a satirical puppet show its creators were always trying to bring to America, each time with little success – the few stop-motion sketches they did were with American caricatures; one showed the then-president as a California Raisin – called “California Reagans”, get it?? – while another recreated Woody Allen’s role as a unwilling sperm (and is on YouTube here: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=VPeQPugPMDI ).

  • http://www.autodaddy.blogspot.com tom

    Just a question, and not that it matters, but ain’t Krazy a gal kat?

  • Peter

    It’s somewhat nice-looking, but why on earth was it created? As some sort of primer to get ’90s kids into the old strips? I just don’t get it.

  • http://lindsaybrothers.blogspot.com/ Lindsay Brothers Films

    I know pretty much nothing about Krazy Kat, and still found that awesome. I especially liked the x that appeared on the mouse’s eye when he lined up his shot. I shall now have to become obsessed with the original I suppose …

  • Ursula

    As I recall from some book about Herriman, he pretty consistently referred to Krazy as a he in the strip, but when questioned about it he would say that Krazy (and cats in general) were kind of beyond gender, like little pixies or something.

    I thought this short looked great, but the narration was a problem for me. The tone and the words used were just too modern… I wonder why they didn’t try to incorporate more of Herriman’s own language? His words are a huge part of the strip’s enduring appeal.

  • Joel Brinkerhoff

    Check out the original strip this animation was taken from.

    http://joelbrinkerhoff.blogspot.com/2008/12/interpreting-krazy-kat_27.html

  • http://blog.ninapaley.com Nina Paley

    Beautiful. Why have I never seen this before?

  • http://amymebberson.blogspot.com Amy Mebberson

    Krazy was always referred to as He in the strip and Herriman pretty much stated flat out that Krazy was meant to be gender-neutral.

    It was just one of those things you accepted as part of the strip’s surreal quirkiness, it definitely wasn’t Herriman making some statement on gender. It’s later commentators who have mistakenly made Krazy female.

    I love the animation and styling in this. If Krazy is to have a 3D treatment – this is the way to go.
    I agree that the narration has a modern spin to it that really doesn’t work. Using the character’s actual voices would have been better, especially Krazy with his famous wonky vocabulary.

  • Kevin

    In response to the last post made made 10 months ago by Amy that Krazy was “always” referred to as a he in the strip look here http://www.krazy.com/showkkstrip.htm?id=4 the Krazy Kat strip Originally published on 1/05/1922 in the fourth panel of six Krazy says to Ignatz That “Society demands that us ladies wear “trains” again – “Ignatz”. Clearly in this strip Herrimen is showing Krazy as a female and I think there are a few more strips on that site where Krazy is referred to as a female. I am really not familiar with Krazy having only learned of the strip about 24 hours ago but already I’m a fan of that Kat.

    I did enjoy this better without the sound, the narration detracts from it and isn’t needed. It’d have been better had they had the characters talk.

    They only produced this one episode?