Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Jinks Short-Cuts

Time for a Mr Jinks quiz.

Here are two frames from Jinks’ Mice Device (1958). Can you guess the animator?

This is kind of a trick question, as two different animators are at work. This first drawing is by Ken Muse. The little half-row of teeth, the small tongue and half a lip overlapping the other half gives it away. The second one, the disheveled Jinks who thinks he’s cracking up, is the work another veteran—Mike Lah.

Lah animated two cartoons on his own in the 1958-59 and laid out others, including this one. But he was also given footage, generally 90 seconds worth of gags, inserted into the middle of the cartoon.

Muse was the studio’s footage king, but Lah should have been able to churn out film, too, thanks to a bunch of shortcuts. Lah would hold a character in place and draw the mouth in odd geometric shapes, face-forward, during dialogue. In this cartoon, he also saves work by simply having drawings turned around and then inked and painted on the other side, with the tiniest adjustments.

Here are a couple of examples, first of Jinks on the floor after being run over by a lawnmower, and then an in-between drawing as he gets up. The pushed-together eyes should remind you of Lah’s later work at MGM.

And here are some frames of Jinks exiting, stage right. Oh, that was another character, wasn’t it? These are animated on twos.

Lah carried on with his work in advertising animation while freelancing for H-B; he later took over the operation of Quartet Films. A bunch of new animators came in for the 1959-60; Lah’s distinctive style was missed as the studio’s animation became more refined and tamer.


  1. OMG!The first Jinks vs lawnmower picture gives us a glimpse of his but crack!!

    1. Glad I wasn't the only one who noticed!

    2. Hans Christian Brando17 May 2018 at 10:34

      Don't get too excited. Could just be his tail.

  2. And I was right about Muse being one of the animators, I ws guessing Carlos Vinci for the other.