Sunday 19 July 2015

twenty minutes into the future or now we resume regular programming already in progress

One of the premiere moments for animation—that is, when it came to the small screen and was widely broadcast in syndication—was infamously introduced in 1959 with a distinct lack of animated sequences with the adventures of Clutch Cargo and friends.
Higher art with greater production value was reserved for the cinema, featurettes like Gerald McBoing-Boing to be shown along with news reels to the audience before the film began, and many great animators honed their talents, debuting on the air-waves later in the following decade, like Chuck Jones and the team of Hanna-Barbera. Utilising a process called Syncro-Vox that superimposed the moving images of the voice-actors’ mouths on to a cartoon visage, a lot of live action and stock footage transitions, the studio could produce episodes at a fraction of the cost, and although this series seems crude and decidedly inanimate compared to the next generation (Jones derided that early stage as “illustrated radio” and it was really rather not much more than a comic strip) but in defense of this flatness, the stories were quite involving and imaginative and offered a chain of cliff-hanger chapters to be resolved Saturday mornings and had quite a cult following.
Before universal audiences were exposed to a reference in passing in the 1994 film Pulp Fiction—the flashback scene when a young Butch (Bruce Willis) is presented his treasured watch nearly left behind as they fled and there’s an cartoon Eskimo with a human mouth on the television set, there was a more garbled and chaotic and perhaps more localised with the 1987 incident called the Max Headroom Signal Interruption in Chicago. An unknown man with at least one accomplice (disguised as the recently created British character Max Headroom and as a French maid, respectively) hijacked two broadcast stations in the city—I guess as a demonstration to show that they could but no one knows as they were never caught and their identities are still a mystery, ranted on air and hummed the theme from Clutch Cargo and made a few references to its final episode—which seemed to resonate with the otherwise bewildered at home audience.