Thursday, June 19, 2008

Calling Tom Terrific


I hereby appeal to the knowledge, savvy and taste of Graphic Tales readers to assist me in my efforts to locate any and all materials related to the Captain Kangaroo featurette, Tom Terrific (and his dog, Mighty Manfred). This animated feature was led by Gene Dietch and produced by UPA in the late 1950s.

I am working on a book chapter concerning (among other things) the instrumentality of drawing as a human act. The above-mentioned Tom and Manfred pursued a series of adventures which landed them in hot water, and from which they desired to escape. If you wrote in to Captain Kangaroo, they'd send you a plastic covering to place on your television set, the purpose of which was to provide a ground upon which to draw. At the command of the narrator, when our heroes had reached a point of inescapable peril, you drew (say) the boat required to get them out of trouble. A perfect image, sez I.

I am looking for film, images, scripts, whatnot.

The image at the top of the post is from a short-lived Gene Dietch comic strip, Terrible Thompson, which immediately preceded Tom Terrific. The villain, Mean Morgan, pursued TT across time amid historicist adventures. The modernist cartoon style and the relentless alliteration make a statement, do they not?


These images are reproduced from Dan Nadel's terrific book, Art Out of Time, available here at PictureBox. Dan's work as a researcher and critic serves us graphophiles well. The new PictureBox retail outlet has recently opened in Brooklyn--go by if you're in the neighborhood.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi,

You're thinking of "Winky Dink and You", NOT "Tom Teriffic"...Winky Dink used a plastic screen. I am a Captain Kangaroo collector with some kinescopes of the show.

beardjason@hotmail.com

DB Dowd said...

Okay, so tell me more. I remember the name...

Anonymous said...

There's so much to tell about the Captain's program...what areas would you like to discuss?

The saddest thing about the series is that not many episodes are known to exist. I have a list of the known-existing episodes, and have started a hotmail web page.