Thursday, April 17, 2014

Toons After Dark: CBS Cartoon Theatre (1956)

While Mighty Mouse Playhouse was a vital part of CBS' Saturday morning lineup for 12 seasons (1955-67; the final season saw a title change to Mighty Mouse & the Mighty Heroes), the network felt they had room at night for some of the other Terrytoons characters.

CBS Cartoon Theatre was the showcase for the likes of Dinky Duck, Gandy Goose, Little Roquefort, and, in the leadoff spot in this episode, Heckle & Jeckle, who would graduate to a Saturday berth themselves a few years later. Dick Van Dyke made his CBS debut hosting this series, just a few short years before his iconic, self-titled sitcom. Terrytoons produced the animation for the segments in which Heckle & Jeckle and others interacted with Dick, who also performs a rudimentary magic trick to set up the Dinky Duck short.

The title cards were edited off in order to fit four cartoons into a half-hour show. This proved rather unwieldy, of course, which is why you would only get 3 shorts in a half-hour in later years.

Of the four in this episode, I've only seen "Down South" with Heckle & Jeckle, a twisted take on the classic tale of  Little Red Riding Hood, but the talking magpies are at their best here. Too bad this is in black & white.......

The cartoons are available in individual DVD's, or at least Heckle & Jeckle are.

Rating: B.

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