Tag Archives: J. Pat O’Malley

The Saga of Windwagon Smith (1961, Charles A. Nichols)

There’s nothing good about The Saga of Windwagon Smith. The best thing about it is the extended opening titles, which eat up some of the runtime and lessen the cartoon’s awfulness.

The animation happily plays at the nexus of lazy, incompetent and bad. Director Nichols–who cowrote–at least could’ve come up with an interesting visualization for his dumb story.

Instead, he relies on singing narration. It, and the dialogue, all rhymes. Except they’re bad rhymes, which makes one wonder how much time anyone spent on Windwagon. It’s like they wrote the dialogue first and the couplet at some later point.

Rex Allen is equally obnoxious as the protagonist and narrator.

The most striking thing about the cartoon, however, is the rampant racism. There are multiple Native American jokes, a Chinese one, but it also mocks the Kansas townspeople as moronic rednecks.

Windwagon‘s a dreadful way to spend twelve minutes.

1/3Not Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Charles A. Nichols; written by Lance Nolley and Nichols; animated by Julius Svendsen and Art Stevens; music by George Bruns; production designer, Ernie Nordli; produced by Walt Disney; released by Buena Vista Releasing Company.

Starring Rex Allen (Windwagon Smith) and J. Pat O’Malley (Mayor Crum); narrated by Allen.


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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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The Self-Improvement of Salvadore Ross (1964, Don Siegel)

Don Siegel can compose no matter what ratio, so his shots in The Self-Improvement of Salvadore Ross are all fine. There’s a lack of coverage and the edits are occasionally off, but it’s a TV show (an episode of “The Twilight Zone”); it’s expected.

And Siegel does get in the occasional fantastic shot. He’s got a great lead actress with Gail Kobe and Vaughn Taylor’s all right as her father. The problem’s the lead, Don Gordon. Gordon has some great monologues but when he’s acting or reacting to someone else, he falls apart. It’s probably the script, which concerns a listless thug who discovers he can magically trade physical and psychological conditions with people.

He figures to “improve” himself with the power. But the character has no motivation other than filling twenty-some minutes of a television program.

Still, a single great Siegel shot makes up for the rest.

1/3Not Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Don Siegel; teleplay by Jerry McNeely, based on a story by Harry Slesar; “The Twilight Zone” created by Rod Serling; director of photography, George T. Clemens; edited by Richard V. Heermance; produced by Bert Granet; aired by CBS Television Network.

Starring Don Gordon (Salvadore Ross), Gail Kobe (Leah Maitland), Vaughn Taylor (Mr. Maitland), J. Pat O’Malley (Old Man), Douglass Dumbrille (Mr. Halpert) and Douglas Lambert (Albert).


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