Saturday, June 28, 2014
A New Clutch Purse Reminds ...
The other night while we were dining at Aladdin's out on Akron's west side, the zipper on Joyce's clutch purse broke.Time for a new one--and (mirabile dictu!) we were eating right next door to a TJ Maxx, so, after about a half-hour of looking for one (I waited awhile in the store, then repaired to the car, where waiting always goes more quickly, right?), she found the perfect thing, which she now shows me at every opportunity. Which in some ways is good, for her display often means she's going to pay for something we've just shared.
Anyway, she now says the term clutch purse a number of times every hour (clutch bag dates back to 1947), and it's reminded me of something I've not thought about in years ... or, rather, someone: Clutch Cargo, an animated character who had his own TV show in 1959, a show my younger brother, Dave, used to watch--and, okay, I did, too, now and then. (He had an excuse: he was 11; I, 15, was ... somewhat ... slow to mature.)
I can't remember much about the series (except one particular thing, which I'll share later), and IMDB offered no help--so what follows I've "borrowed" from Wikipedia.
Cargo, it seems, was a writer/pilot who flew around the world on risky assignments. (Obviously, he always prevailed.) He was a big, chunky, muscular guy, I remember (I've not yet looked at the YouTube clip I've posted below), looking a little like Mr. Clean--but with hair. The plots were so unremarkable that I can't tell you a thing about any of them, though brother Dave, a more assiduous fan, perhaps could.
Cutch traveled (I did not remember this) with his ward, a young boy named Spinner, and his dachshund, Paddlefoot, which seems something of an unkind name for a dog. And "Spinner"? I not sure what's up with that, either.
Now, here's the feature of Clutch Cargo that I do remember--mostly because it was kind of creepy. The animators used a technique called "Syncro-Vox," a way to use the actual lips of actors superimposed on cartoon faces. Oh, did it look weird, as you can see from this link to an episode on YouTube. I mean, these days we don't really see the tongues of cartoon characters--right?
You can also see that the animation is otherwise unremarkable. Done on a tight schedule, Clutch had no time to bother with a lot of, well, movement in the episodes. Lots of pictures of stationary people and scenery--and moving human lips on painted faces. Awesome.
Wikipedia remarks that the series was a "surprise hit." Actually, not such a surprise in the TV wasteland of the late 1950s when my brother and I, bored out of our gourds (I mean, you can read Proust only so many hours, you know?), turned on Clutch and commented over and over about all those weird mouths.
Meanwhile, over a half-century later, sitting in a hot car and looking at (and feigning admiration for) Joyce's new "clutch purse," I remember Clutch Cargo, think about my brother, about boring 1959 Saturdays in tiny Hiram, Ohio, and marvel at remembrance of things past.