What I Learned This Week

ClutchcargoClutch Cargo is one of those cultural references that comes up once in a blue moon. Though I’d never seen it, I had some vague notion of what it was. I equated it with Johnny Quest. Well, I was wrong.

It wasn’t until yesterday that I learned about the gimmick that sets this late-50s, low-budget animation apart. Apparently, they superimposed real mouths over the animated faces of Clutch Cargo and his sidekicks Spinner (a red-headed boy) and Paddlefoot (his dog.) And some drunk-looking guy named Swampy. This innovation, which they dubbed “Synchro-Vox,” allowed the characters to talk. If you’ve seen the bits that Conan O’Brien does on his show, you know what I mean. And for the rest of you, this has been a trip down memory lane.

You can check it out here, and see how creepy those un-animated lips looked.

2 thoughts on “What I Learned This Week

  1. As an original Clutch Cargo fan, and I mean I was there in front of the t.v. before the show started, so that I could avail myself of the ever enticing tropical beat of the drums in the music of the opening sequecne. Clutch was cool and it never entered my mind that there was anything spooky about his lips moving so realistically and the rest of him not moving, or barely at all. Well, I was 7 or 8. It wasn’t until I saw reruns much later that I figured out about the real lips and saw how odd it all was. Real 50s kid mentality! Still, Clutch is cool to this day…

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