Today we're geeked to bring you an underrated, but nonetheless wonderful cartoon from 1969-1971, The Ant And The Aardvark. In addition to being one of the first productions from Depatie-Freleng Enterprises, this cartoon has the distinction of being one of the only shows we've aired that was created for theatrical release. When making quality pre-feature shorts became financially untenable, most animation studios stopped making them and theatre owners either used old cartoons or eliminated them all together. However, William Hanna and Joseph Barbara, not to mention David Depatie and Fritz Freleng, realized that they could make short/television animated pieces without investing the massive amounts of time and money Disney had by simplifying the process. They cut down on detail in the animation and essentially created a new paradigm for the mass consumption of cartoons.
Knowing this, the quality of The Ant And The Aardvark becomes even more impressive. I normally just post links, but to fully appreciate this cartoon, I really do believe you need to see how much comes through in the simplistic art style used, so I'm embedding. Watch this episode, then see how your perspective on the audio changes.
Isn't it pretty? You can see the Depatie-Freleng works had great influence on animation for the next decade. Part of it is certainly the Chuck Jones influence, but it's bigger than him and that's pretty cool. Seeing it all together makes John Byner's voicing of almost every character in the series infinitely more impressive. I'll be honest, a man who can mimic both Dean Martin and Paul Lynde has a special in to my heart.
That's all for now, but come back next week for our Easter episode, which promises to have more time travel and Maurice Chevalier impersonating than any other Easter even this year! Seriously, we're airing Here Comes Peter Cottontail. It's bizarre and wonderful, and it has Danny Kaye, Casey Kasem, and Vincent Price. How many varieties of awesome is that? In the meantime, get today's show, leave a comment to let us know what you think, and enjoy!
- DJ Muppet