Willie Wildcat in “Problem Child” (1938)

These days have been completely packed, so having a little break to write about a Lantz cartoon is a welcome change!

In very quick and somewhat candid Thunderbean news:
I’m looking forward to actually visiting Thunderbeanland when I have a chance; I’m working on helping finish a program for broadcast, the Fleischer restoration project and, with the first week of school here there has been less time than I’d like to move others things a little further down the line. Even though it’s been exhausting, I find myself incredibly happy at all the good things that have come out of both the experiences of working on so many cool projects and, especially, the things to come. There’s just so many great possibilities right now and things I love getting produced to let any color correction missteps or PSYOPS slow them down!

There is some exciting shipping news though: The Flip the Frog Blu-ray set will be sent, finally, around the 18th of the month. The special discs that we’ll have ready to sent will be sent around the same time. The Van Beuren Tom and Jerry set will be sent near the end of the month as well, finally completing two of the longest projects here.

There has been some chatting here about revisiting a relationship we’ve had related to a little black cat. Since Halloween is less than two months away, it seems like a good season to think about this silent series of films. The hard drive archive is now out since we’ve had to do so anyway to provide some screeners for a good friend, and while I’m looking at these films I’m remembering how much fun it was to find and scan all this stuff from 2012 to early 2014. I’ve heard this little cat is bad luck though, and have some experience to prove it.

At some point I’ll chat about a Marie Callendar’s meeting and contract breach since it’s been many years now. It wasn’t all negative. After all, it was awfully nice for him to buy me a piece of cake *after* the public screaming. I’ll be less cryptic sometime about all this stuff, but it’s a fun story that should perhaps make the liner notes.

And, onto today’s cartoon!

Willie Wildcat seems like a name one might pull from a punchbowl of possible characters to use to compete with a duck, Kat (as in Krazy), mouse, pig or something from other studios. Until the studio’s lucky strikes with Andy Panda and Woody, it seems like Lantz was really trying hard to come up with any character that might work. From Baby Face Mouse to the Dumb Cluck and Lil’ Eight Ball and Peterkin, they may have the best record of almost completely forgettable characters in the late 30s.

Little frustrated characters with the same baby voice (by Berneice Hansell) seem to show up in Lantz cartoons more than any other. Even in the age of the Internet, those late 30s experiments seems a little less accessible than many other late 30s films. The pacing and overall storytelling isn’t at a great level, but often the animation is enjoyable and well produced.This particular film, Problem Child, is enjoyable enough entertainment. Oswald was even nice enough to lend his faithful dog Elmer to add as much star value as possible.

Even though these are not the most memorable shorts the studio produced, they’re all still pretty fun to see.

Have a good week everyone!