Monday, July 03, 2006

Holy Bouncing Ball!

"Jot, Jot, the Christian Dot! "
I heard that chant more than once growing up. Usually though, it was meant as an insult aimed at some sensitive-natured, churchy kid at recess. I knew that sort of thing was mean...but even then I couldn't help but find it a little bit funny...considering the spirit in which the source material was created and intended. Most ironic.
Back then --ie: the early 1970's-- Atlanta's own Channel 2 (wsbtv) ran "Jot" cartoons on Sunday mornings sandwiched between uncut shorts from the Warners cartoon package that CBS didn't own and those irritating Professor Kitzel cartoons (that were half live action anyway).
Even though they made my teeth hurt, I always found them somewhat visually arresting. Something about the animation and timing, (especially in the first cartoon below) reminded me of some of the best stuff from some of the early Peanuts specials. I'm still amazed by the design quality and at times surrealistic execution considering they were first presented in the mid 1960's by the Southern Baptists' Radio and Television Comission. The show was primarily designed by Ruth Byers and Ted Perry and animated by Keitz & Herndon Studios out of Dallas Texas.
Jot is a basically a bouncing ball of a kid that's round when he's happy, and more and more misshapen and discolored as his conscience bothers him --and sometimes it really bothers him.
Great UPA-type color palettes and designs overall. The one shot of Jot's treehouse in the first short looks like it was cut from the same cloth as Paul Julian's heavily-stylized background paintings for UPA's The Tell-Tale Heart or the beginning of AIP's "The Terror" with Boris Karloff.
The writing and voices are a different story... Jot's southern drawl makes him sound sort of like a country cousin Charlie Brown character. (Imdb Identifies his voice as Colleen Collins who was also the uncredited voice of "Country Red" in Tex Avery's Little Rural Riding Hood amongst other things.)
And as it turns out, Jot is a dot with sticky fingers.
A bit o' a klepto, yes, if you judge his charcter by these 2 cartoons.
(I'm sure J-dog probably dealt with all the big sins, but in both shorts here he's dealin' with stealin'!)



7 Comments:

Blogger Tony Aguirre said...

meccan
Jot is a lying little thief. And a psychedelic drug user. And yet I'm irresistably drawn to his round firm baptist ass.

2:38 AM

 
Blogger Robert Pope said...

Great stuff. I wish there was more stuff out today that was as experimental and engaging at the same time. Seems that most stuff today that falls in the "experimental" category is either dull as dishwater or just plain irritating.

2:54 PM

 
Blogger Ian Copeland said...

Shame they don't make cartoons like this anymore, makes me wistful for the days when Citizenship was taught in school. I also dig the UPA style and palette. Jot's design is a brilliant mix of economy and art, reducing complex actions to bounces and blurs is a stylish time-saver.

3:17 PM

 
Blogger Tony Aguirre said...

Jeez, how could I forget? Didn't anyone tell them how to spell Ma'am?

2:26 AM

 
Blogger Chris Sobieniak said...

Jot was one of those I was wasted on in my childhood! A CBS affiliate in my town had to stick that on during a half-hour local Christian kiddie show they would play early Saturday mornings before the main CBS toonage began (and in the 1980's no less). Too bad most commercial stations don't shove that much Christianity down your throat these days as they had (what with the religious channels we do have otherwise).

2:54 AM

 
Blogger SACKS said...

I'll be in Atlanta this week for a visit. What's up with that Pink Pony you owe me!?! lol. Maybe we can grab some Sushi for lunch. Nice Blog, man.

5:19 PM

 
Anonymous grave dave neutron said...

Clay, I tell ya its time to do THE DEVILLED EGG! He could be the anti-Jot...a little bouncing oval character with horns and maybe a pitchfork. And of course a bad attitude.

5:34 PM

 

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