Andrea/Duck Dodgers here. I friendly welcome every fan of animation at my blog. The goal is to support the love and rediscovery of Classic Theatrical Cartoons from the Golden Age of Animation, keeping meanwhile an eye on Golden Age "Funny Animals" Comics as well as on modern animated productions! Every SUPPRESSED ethnic caricature to be sometimes presented here is just for HISTORICAL and EDUCATIONAL purpose and NOT to offend anyone. Stay Tooned and Enjoy the place !

Monday, August 13, 2007

L'il Eightball in "A Haunting We Will Go" (1939)

"A Haunting We Will Go" is a Walter Lantz cartoon that's rarely seen, mostly because of the racially stereotyped main character, a black boy named L'il Eightball. This cartoon is not included in the new "Woody Woodpecker and Friends" DVD collection, and also to my knowledge it doesn't appear on any of the Columbia House Lantz DVDs. Because of that, many people have never got the chance to see it.



This is the first Lantz cartoon made in 3-strip Technicolor. It was directed by Burt Gillett, famous for his previous work at Disney, where he directed a great number of early Mickey Mouse and Silly Symphonies cartoons (among them, The Three Little Pigs ). In 1934, Gillett left Disney and worked as a producer and director at Van Beuren. He tried to make a major re-organization of the studio, but things didn't go very well, mostly due to Gillett's difficult and volatile personality.
After the not so fortunate Van Beuren adventure that gave few interesting cartoons, Gillett was back at Disney, directing three extremely successful shorts: "The Moth and the Flame", "The Brave Little Tailor" and "The Lonesome Ghosts". Finally, after leaving Disney for the second time, Gillett found a new employment at Walter Lantz where he stayed for two years. These were his last theatrical cartoons, and the rest of his life remains a big mystery (according to some sources, Gillett spent many years in a mental institution).

It's interesting to note that beside Gillett himself (under the pseudonym Gil Burton), another credited co-writer of this cartoon is Kin Platt , a cartoonist and acclaimed writer. Another curiosity: the ghost characters are nearly identical to the ones that appeared in Gillett's Mickey, Donald and Goofy cartoon "The Lonesome Ghosts". L'il Eightball appeared only in three cartoons, but remained a character in comics, during the 40s.

And here are the screenshots from this rare cartoon. I apologize for the prominent logo on these screenshots. The only copy I have was recorded ten years ago, from an European TV station.

















































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13 Comments:

Anonymous David Gerstein said...

Holy COW!
The day that KRTL broadcast this cartoon in 1997, I was actually watching... this was when I lived in Europe. But I had no VCR at the time, so I was powerless to record the cartoon. As I recollect, Andy Panda's 100 PYGMIES was also shown that same week, and missing the chance to save it was equally agonizing. Did you get that on tape, too?
The Lantz cartoons on KRTL looked better than any airings I've seen anywhere, before or since (including some prints on the new DVDs, unfortunately). Their SKI FOR TWO was especially beautiful.

6:27 pm

 
Blogger Hammerson said...

>> As I recollect, Andy Panda's 100 PYGMIES was also shown that same week, and missing the chance to save it was equally agonizing. Did you get that on tape, too? <<

Yeah, that's the next cartoon on my tape. I think both cartoons were shown on the same day.
These remastered Lantz cartoons used to be shown quite often in Europe. I saw them on French, Danish, Polish and German TV stations during the second half of 90s. I agree, many of these prints looked great. Unfortunately, some of these cartoons were subjected to heavy DVNR that's actually worse than anything on the new DVD set. This cartoon in particular suffers from it, and it is visible on some screenshots.

7:43 pm

 
Blogger J. J. Hunsecker said...

That ghost in the 3rd and 4th screencaps looks very Spumco-ish.

8:38 pm

 
Anonymous Nic Kramer said...

According to the Walter Lantz Cartune Encyclopedia, it was going to be in the Columbia House series on volume 17. Unfortunatly, other than this cartoon and some cartoons directed by Sid Marcus, the content was going to have Paul J. Smith's films from his declineing period.

12:07 am

 
Anonymous J. Bennie said...

What a beautiful print. Damn that bug.

I love the backgrounds. Who was doing them for Lantz then?

Jim

2:59 am

 
Anonymous David Gerstein said...

>> I think both cartoons were shown on the same day. <<

Ah, I thought so, too. But I didn't want to trust my memory absolutely on that one. That confirms everything, though... my agony as one rare cartoon was shown, followed by my DOUBLE agony as ANOTHER rare cartoon was shown. And me without a VCR!

9:00 pm

 
Anonymous skullptor said...

Is there any way you could make ma a dvd of these rare cartoons? I'll gladly pay you for your trouble?!?

1:09 am

 
Blogger Greg Duffell said...

This cartoon was recently shown (April 15, 2009). You'll have to guess which country it was in because I don't want anyone out there to complain so it won't be rerun.
I couldn't believe my eyes. What a treat as I have never seen a Lil' Eightball cartoon and such an elaborately made cartoon, too. Gillett knew the trick of putting those ghosts in from the Mickey Mouse cartoon I'm sure. It seems like it was difficult...maybe optical printing?
Lil' Eightball sure has one hell of a vocabulary!

5:15 pm

 
Anonymous Term Paper said...

It’s great to see good information being shared.

6:33 am

 
Anonymous Custom writing said...

Hi, nice post. I have been thinking about this topic,so thanks for sharing.

8:49 am

 
Blogger Mick said...

brilliant... pure joy on the eyeballs

11:16 pm

 
Anonymous Custom Home Detailing said...

These are some very good classics. We will never foget these type of cartoons. Good job.

4:52 am

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do anyone know where to but Lil eieghtball?

4:05 pm

 

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