December 7, 2012

Frankenstein Meets Gandy Goose

Here’s a standard Terrytoons presentation poster showing an animator’s hand wielding brush and cigarette, with space at center reserved for an image and title of the current offering. 

Produced by Terrytoons in 1939 and distributed by 20th Century Fox, G Man Jitters casts its dimwitted hero, Gandy Goose, as Sherlock Holmes in a haunted house yarn. Dracula and Frankenstein’s Monster turn up, only to be terrified by a mouse. Ghost gags and wild action ensue, with the principals dangling from a chandelier and Frankenstein’s spring-loaded heart popping out of his chest. The whole thing turns out to be a dream — a standard plot device for Gandy Goose stories.

Based in New Rochelle, New York, producer Paul Terry's discount cartoon studio operated with a skeleton crew and notoriously cheap budgets, churning out a new short every other week. Once-popular house characters included Farmer Al Falfa, Puddy the Pup and Dinky Duck. Some of us might remember Mighty Mouse, magpies Heckle and Jeckle and TV’s Deputy Dawg, created after the studio was bought out by CBS in 1955.

Gandy Goose appeared in 48 cartoons between 1938 and 1955. Filmgoers of the era would have immediately recognized the character’s voice and mannerisms as an imitation of comic Ed Wynn, “the perfect fool”. Gandy’s pal, Sourpuss the cat, talked like Jimmy Durante. Gandy Goose was also featured in Terrytoons comic books, including his own title beginning in 1953.

The Frankenstein scenes from G Man Jitters were recycled, with added color, in another Gandy Goose outing, Fortune Hunters (1944). Several sources also list Dracula and Frankenstein’s Monster as appearing in the western-themed Ghost Town (1944), but that appears to be an error. 

A description, with screencaps, of G Man Jitters, on Cartoons of 1939.


wich2 said...

>Terrytoons was Hollywood’s discount cartoon studio<

"Hollywood" in distribution, but not in production: Terry kept his budget operation in New Rochelle, NY!

Happy holidays,
-Craig W.

Pierre Fournier said...

I knew that and I can see how my phrasing is misleading. I'll rework that line. Thanks very much, Craig, and Happy Holidays to you!

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