Saturday, March 27, 2010

SMCS Companion Piece #9: Clutch Cargo

So I’ll be honest with you: I know little about this show. Here’s what I do know: disgusting human mouths on cartoon stills! Gross gross gross! I have no interest in talking about this show at all, but I suppose I gotta or else this blog is lackluster as a companion piece to the Saturday Morning Cartoon Show. Also DJ Muppet will beat me.

Beta on Clutch Cargo


This travesty show called Clutch Cargo was released in 1959. While it is not really an animated series it does fall under being a “cartoon” in the traditional sense of the word (Comics are cartoons in this way as well). It stars the title character Clutch Cargo who is a very much so a Doc Savage-type of character. One part writer, one part adventurer Clutch travels around the globe looking for problems he can fix but presumably ones that don’t require him to actually move around because that’s beyond the show’s budget. Joining him is his young ward, the unfortunately named “Spinner” who is Cargo’s constant companion. I’d like to point out that somehow parental watch groups didn’t seem to mind Clutch hanging out with a young boy on TV but just a few years earlier went crazy-bananas over Batman and Robin in comic form with the release of the Seduction of the Innocent.

What? They just want to get some shut eye.

Some sexy shut eye...

From what I understand the production had a very limited budget so instead of traditional animation they went for just having stills and adding human lips from real people provide the talking (AAAAHHHHHH!!!!) as well as other effects that almost seemed to blend live action and comics. While I wouldn’t call this “cutting edge” it did create a different feel to storytelling and that almost certainly played a central role in this show’s popularity. And in a way I can understand it. After all its basically just a radio drama with picture..nasty pictures that make me throw up, but pictures nonetheless. As a fan of old radio broadcasts of The Shadow and The Lone Ranger I can say for certain that there are worse things in life.

Possible Movie Title: "Clutch Cargo: Escape from the Uncanny Valley"

That said I have two main problems with this show: #1) It makes me sick. Literally. Just looking at pictures that I needed to use for this essay made me have to stop eating lunch since I was seconds away from blowing chunks all over my laptop. What’s sad is that this has been the case all my life. As long as I can remember I have seen clips of these strange and bizarre creatures. Pictures that talked with human mouths while staring at me. What did they want, I wondered. Why were they talking to me? And why did I suddenly have to find a bathroom every time I viewed it. I didn’t know the beast had a name; in fact it’s only fairly recently (Adulthood) that I discovered it even had a title and wasn’t just a product of my own madness and self-loathing. Adult though I may be I still find this show both nauseating and creepy.

#2) I’m just too young to possibly find it interesting. It’s not particularly well-written. It doesn’t really take its audience terrible seriously. But then again it wasn’t written for me. I wouldn’t be born for another twenty-five years or so: they didn’t care about some future boy from Space Year 1984.

Pictured: Future Boy from Space Year 1985

Basically my point is that modern sensibilities have ruined my ability to enjoy this show on an intellectual level. On an emotional level I rather dip my eyeballs into a bucket of bleach just so that the burning sensation of my impending blindness could distract me from their horrible mouths.

In fact I rather watch the anime Bleach than ever have to look at this crap again.

Obviously Beta has become suicidal

For a less biased take on this proof that the devil exists here on Earth show click here

For more on the Saturday Morning Cartoon Show click here for our blog and here for the podcasts

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