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“Jot” for sale

“JOT was just a basic circle that changed shape and color depending on his relationship with God”.

All hail Jot, the syndicated cartoon series from 1965 with strikingly modern design – graphics perhaps MORE inspirational than the religious messages crammed into each episode. Amid has written about Keitz & Herndon, Jot’s Texas-based production studio, in his book Cartoon Modern and previously on the Brew. Now, several rare cels from the show have turned up and are being offered at auction next month, on May 5, in Heritage’s New York City Comics Auction.

The visual storytelling on Jot was certainly ahead of anything being done at the time for television – especially interesting as it was produced by a small firm in Dallas. Check out this sample episode, below:

(Thanks, Peter Kurilecz)

  • Chris Sobieniak

    There goes my childhood!

  • Jot is the bee’s knees

  • Another gem uncovered by Cartoon Brew. I didn’t see these shows until the early 70’s, so I’m very surprised to learn that it was produced much earlier than I thought.

    The design is wonderful and again, very inspirational. I love the idea of using animation to teach moral and religious lessons in a creative manner.

    In this adult’s eyes, the message was so simple as to be overshadowed by the design. Seen though the eyes of a child, this kind of entertainment could have a wonderfully profound effect.

    Thanks so much for sharing this!

  • Hank

    Hmm, just watched the sample episode. Seems like a pretty cool little show for kids of the time. Including the ‘religious message that was crammed into the episode.’

  • One of my favorites… imaginative overall style, yet full of terrific character work. And I always loved that slight Southern twang in the first rate voice talent.

  • Matt

    I loved Jot when I was growing up. Thanks for posting this!

  • Cheez! I remember those things. They seemed creepy and repulsive way back when. They were sandwiched between Warners and Fleischer cartoons. JOT forced me to switch the channel over to LIPPY THE LION AND TOUCHÉ TURTLE for a few minutes.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      I guess I had it worse for watching them very early Saturday mornings on a CBS affiliate who played them on a Christian kiddie show called “Three Cheers for Life”. It usually came on right before the usual Saturday morning line-up kicked it at 8AM.

  • Me

    Love it! Thanks for posting!

  • About 20 years ago one of the JOT animators came by our studio with a big box of Jot cels. I got one of Jot holding a trumpet. I shoulda grabbed more.

    • Hey was that at Krash Pow! in Dallas, cause I got one too…

      • Yes, although I believe the ! goes in the middle.

        I recall our visitor’s name was Tom Young, but I’m not sure.

      • Lisa

        Was it Monte Young? He and my father both worked on this show.

      • Another K!P veteran remembers the name being Tom Young.

        He was the Art Director (perhaps not an animator specifically) at K&H during this production and he originated the essential Jot elements of the character design and the cost-saving scheme where they would just be bouncing balls when they had to run anywhere.

      • I remember his name being Tom as well. Which othe K!Pers are you still in touch with? Tell them I said howdy!

      • Tom Young lived two doors down from me in Oak Cliff. I credit him for fostering my desire to pursue production, and flying. You may not know this, but Tom was a B-17 pilot toward the end of WWII. We had regular access to lots of cels. Some made it through our childhood, while others didn’t. When I was about 12 or 13, Tom had me voice a character for a Public Service Announcement spot he was working on. It was a “Don’t Litter” campaign. I guess it was a precursor to Don’t Mess With Texas. I was the voice of the “Un-Litter Bird” All he said was, “Pick it up!” I didn’t understand the technique he used until many years later when I was in radio in college. I have a signed cel of Jot and the Un-litter Bird on my wall.
        I saw Tom a few years ago up in Idaho. He’s very involved with the aviation museum as well as the local Lions Club.
        Not enough room to go into it all, but Tom is a real American Hero.

  • Iritscen

    Interesting! This is, on some level, the most impressionistic animation I’ve ever seen. The quick motions of Jot and the others are especially spell-binding, such as that blur of Jot in the treehouse at the end.

  • Scarabim

    The “religious messages crammed into each episode” were, as I recall, gently and cleverly told. They involved things like, you know, treating people nicely, forgiving yourself and others, and so on. As such, Jot was probably the best religion-based children’s show out there. Sunday school should have been as much fun.

  • Incredible! my goodness, what delightful design, color, animation and voice work!! it has the charm of the early Peanuts specials!
    As a Christian, I would LOVE to see more work done like this: Appealing yet, with real substance. The message was needful and didnt feel ‘crammed’ in at all. :) thank you for posting

  • uncle wayne

    i moved to N.Y. in ’78 (wherein I quickly met & befriended JERRY, of course!) These films were then aired at 5-something in the morning…just when I was getting home from running a movie theatre. They were perfect to fall asleep to!

  • Cyle

    Wow, I remember seeing a few of these as a kid. Of course, they were already old by then. I always loved the way it looked and moved. Thanks for sharing.

  • Chuck

    These were distributed to churches and Christian schools on 16mm film as well, which is how I remember watching them as a Catholic elementary school student circa 1970. Though I’m sure the nuns were slightly suspicious of anything produce by SOUTHERN BAPTISTS! it was hard to find rampant Protestantism in a message like “thou shalt not steal.”

  • eeteed

    you can buy the jot cartoons on vhs, but for some reason they have not put them out on dvd.

  • Was My Face Red

    Wow! What a lovely piece of work. Not being based in the U.S. I’d never heard of this but I’m stunned they’ve crammed so much creativity into something which could easily have played it safe.

  • Pedro Nakama

    Is this available on DVD?

  • Christopher Cook

    WSB in Atlanta (then NBC, now ABC) ran Jot Sunday mornings at the tail end of a 90-minute cartoon block of theatrical Popeye and the Bugs Bunny & Friends Warners package. It may be still running on Trinity’s Smile Of A Child subchannel.

  • Ignatz the Brick Pitcher

    Jot rocks! A perfect example of how simplicity is the heart of effective animation. I purchased a VHS tape of approx. 30 Jot cartoons on eBay over a year ago.

    Timeless stuff! Some episodes, with very colorful and abstract animation, would make Miro or Picasso smile. lol.

  • Lucy

    I’m 24, and growing up and going to Catholic school, I remember them playing these for us during religion class. Really great memories there ^^

  • Hmm, never saw these on TV in 1970s California. As an atheist, I didn’t find this episode to have too shrill of a religious message (despite the Commandment quoted). More of an ethical parable. But the design and animation are superb!

  • rnigma

    While I was growing up in the Bible Belt, local TV stations ran “Jot” frequently in the wee hours or whenever they needed about 5 minutes to fill. Despite being produced by the Southern Baptists (of which my dad and his family were devout members), “Jot” never beat the viewers over the head with a Bible. In fact, many of the “secular” cartoons run on Saturday mornings in the ’70s were heavier-handed with their messages than “Jot.”
    In elementary school I drew my own Jot comics, because he was pretty freakin’ easy to draw.

  • swac

    For some reason I seem to remember these being on TV in Calgary when I was very young, probably early Sunday morning with Davey & Goliath.

  • Keegan

    I’m not religious at all, I think people should already know right from wrong without the help of a pre-midieval book, but woah this cartoon has beautiful colors and animation!

  • TsimoneTseTse

    I loved Sunday mornings with Jot! Who’d a thought that the Southern Baptists of the Sixties could be so far out, man.

  • LOVE THIS!!! thanks so much for sharing : )