Usually, the posts about Famous Studios are reserved for Jerry, but just this once, I have to share a Famous short. I ran across Think or Sink (1967) last night and it’s a really goofy piece of animation. Shamus Culhane, the director, proudly proclaimed years later that it was the only Famous short which ever screened in competition at Annecy. The story was written by the crazy-man of East Coast animation Jim Tyer, who according to IMDB, hadn’t written a short since 1942’s You’re a Sap, Mr. Jap (can anybody confirm that?). Tyer appears to have modeled his short after Ernie Pintoff’s Flebus, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to note that Tyer was the primary animator of that earlier pop psychiatry-themed cartoon, not to mention that Tyer also animated the neurotic Terrytoons elephant Sidney.

There’s plenty of good stuff happening in this film. The Bobcat Goldthwait-esque voice of Roscoe the elephant, provided by Lionel Wilson, is a unique and funny choice. The film has three (!) designers–Hal Silvermintz, Dante Barbetta and Gil Miret. I don’t know how they divided the work up, but it looks fresh. The animation by Al Eugster is also a treat. There are some ridiculous moments–look at Roscoe’s forehead at the one-minute mark when his hat pops up. As simple as the animation is, Eugster’s poses are expert and move just enough to get the personalities across. I won’t go so far as to proclaim this a great cartoon, but it’s better than a lot and its obscurity is undeserved. Below is a layout drawing by Dante Barbetta found in Culhane’s Talking Animals and Other People:

Think or Sink

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