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Lost 1935 Barney Google animation found

Over on Lee Glover’s blog, “Mice Laugh Softly Charlotte” he’s got a rare treat that will only be posted for the next couple of weeks (next 4 to be exact). It’s a rarely seen animation circa 1935 called Teched in the Head and featured the “debut of comic-strip character Barney Google.”

Tetched in the Head (released October 24th 1935) marked the debut of comic-strip character Barney Google, created by Billy DeBeck. Charles Mintz had high hopes that his transfer to the animated screen would be a big success, but that did not happen. The character did not have the qualities to be an animated cartoon star, and was quickly retired after just four cartoons. Watching this and his later cartoons, it’s not hard to see why. They’re just not funny.

The original is only found in the Columbia archives in B&W and an experimental redrawn colorized version that is found in collector/trader circuits. Lee’s video is from the redrawn version.

Using the redrawn version as a template, I’ve managed to reconstruct the cartoon using three different silent prints. It’s almost complete (at least one very-brief scene is missing, during the introduction of Barney). I’ve decided not to add a music sound track, as I don’t think it’s really necessary.

I’m a big fan of Pixar and the other modern CG movies, but there is a certain beauty to the old hand drawn animation.

Update: I found a way to post the animation directly to my blog. Enjoy.


Barney Google – Tetched in the Head
Uploaded by ldglover

Community Comments

#1 Charles Brubaker
June/12/2007
@ 12:07 pm

Yeah, Columbia never struck gold with making their cartoons funny. The notable exception being “Fox and Crow.”

Barney Google and Snuffy Smith was animated again in early 1960s. It was part of the “King Features Trilogy” package that was distributed to local stations across America.

Included in the package was “Beetle Bailey” and “Krazy Kat.” Each had 50 five-minute episodes.

It’s notable that most of the “Krazy Kat” was directed by Gene Deitch in Czechoslovakia. Deitch had a short lived comic from United Features called “Terr’ble Thompson,” but better known for “Tom Terrific.”

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