Friday, August 30, 2013

Saturtainment: Hashimoto-San (1959)

Terrytoons animator Bob Kuwahara, a Japanese-American, paid tribute to his homeland with Hashimoto-San, who starred in a series of shorts for the studio from 1959-63. Today, these cartoons are considered politically incorrect because it depicts the title character, a Japanese mouse who is also a judo instructor, as speaking pidgin English, though the dialogue more closely resembles that of Earl Derr Biggers' Hawaiian-based Chinese sleuth, Charlie Chan.

After production ended on the shorts, Hashimoto-San was included as a backup feature on The Hector Heathcote Show, which spent 2 seasons on NBC (1963-5). However, the shorts were not included when Hector moved to syndication in the 70's. In truth, Hector was included as part of a syndicated package with Heckle & Jeckle, as I recall. Actor John Myhers voiced Hector & Hashimoto.

CineGraphic uploaded a sample short, "So Sorry, Pussycat". I don't think cats were meant to run like horses, though........

Would there be a revival today? Maybe, since Hashimoto was the first Japanese character to be depicted in a positive light. The speech would change, of course, as Chan's did when Hanna-Barbera adapted him for TV in 1972.

Rating: B+.

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