Tag Archives: Buena Vista Distribution Company

Paul Bunyan (1958, Les Clark)

The beginning of Paul Bunyan is cute. It’s little Paul Bunyan (though a giant) growing up in Maine. Very cute. The song, which later becomes annoying, is well-used. Director Clark’s direction is pretty good throughout, though once Paul’s enormous ox, Babe, enters the picture, Clark loses control of the perspective.

But that slip isn’t the interesting part about Bunyan. No, it’s the middle section. The cartoon explains how Paul and Babe are responsible for the North American landscape (not billions of years of tectonic shifts). If one were a conspiracy theorist, he or she could use Bunyan as a case of popular entertainment indoctrinating children to be unquestioning morons.

The final part, featuring Paul versus evil city folk, continues that thread.

Thurl Ravenscroft gives a lousy performance as Paul, which–in addition to the willful stupidity–drags down the cartoon.

And the animation’s never on par with Clark’s direction.

1/3Not Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Les Clark; written by Lance Nolley and Ted Berman; animated by George Goepper, Jerry Hathcock, Ken Hultgren, Fred Kopietz, George Nicholas, Jack Parr, John Sibley and Robert W. Youngquist; music by George Bruns; produced by Walt Disney; released by Buena Vista Pictures.

Starring Thurl Ravenscroft (Paul Bunyan), Parley Baer (Chris Crosshaul) and Dal McKennon (Cal McNab).


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The Story of Anyburg U.S.A. (1957, Clyde Geronimi)

The Story of Anyburg U.S.A. is an odd one. A small town decides to sue cars–personified here as cute, the windshields as big eyes–for all the auto accidents.

Sadly, Anyburg opens with a lot more energy–the narrator goes on and on about homicides on the highway and such and it doesn’t seem Disney at all.

A lengthy courtroom sequence, with some really bad rhyming dialogue, takes up the rest of the cartoon. As the prosecutor brings up witless witnesses, Anyburg‘s point is clear–people are responsible, not the cars.

Well, duh.

But were Americans in the fifties really willing to take responsibility for themselves? Anyburg makes it seem possible, if not probable.

The animation is fantastic–the courtroom scene’s dynamic, as are the car sequences–but it’s hard to get enthusiastic about the cartoon. Geronimi doesn’t bring any entertainment to the public service announcement.

1/3Not Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Clyde Geronimi; written by Dick Huemer; animated by Bob Carlson, George Kreisl and John Sibley; music by Joseph Dubin; produced by Walt Disney; released by Buena Vista Film Distribution Co.

Starring Hans Conried (Prosecutor), Thurl Ravenscroft (Cyrus P. Sliderule) and Bill Thompson (Defense Attorney).


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Goliath II (1960, Wolfgang Reitherman)

Instead of padding Goliath II out to an exhausting fifteen minutes, director Reitherman and writer Bill Peet should have concentrated on making it a good seven minute cartoon. Worse, there are animation problems every few frames in Goliath, like whoever photographed the cells didn’t know how to focus; at seven minutes, it might not look like such a mishmash.

The story involves a mouse-sized elephant and the problems he causes for his herd. From the first few seconds, it’s clear the story will either resolve with him growing to regular size or using his pint-size to the betterment of the herd.

I won’t spoil it, but it’s painfully obvious during the cartoon.

Reitherman does have some nice sequences–particularly a jungle at night one–but Goliath‘s mostly a waste of time in terms of animation.

It almost feels like a failed feature project, given the ballooned plot.

1/3Not Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Wolfgang Reitherman; written by Bill Peet; music by George Bruns; produced by Walt Disney; released by Buena Vista Distribution Company.

Starring Kevin Corcoran (Goliath II), Barbara Jo Allen (Goliath II’s Mother), Paul Frees (The Mouse), Verna Felton (Eloise) and J. Pat O’Malley (Goliath I); narrated by Sterling Holloway.


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