Saturday 11 August 2018

Jinks Sees a Ghost

Some of my favourite drawings of Mr. Jinks came from the pencil of Mike Lah, who spelled off the regular animator in a number of cartoons in the early episodes of The Huckleberry Hound Show. You want fear or pain takes? Lah’s the guy you want.

I like his work in “Jinks’ Mice Device,” but he comes up with some funny poses in “The Ghost With the Most.” Lah takes over from Ken Muse after the iris fades out at the 2:30 and animates about the next two minutes and 15 seconds of footage. Pixie and Dixie try to convince Jinks there’s a ghost in their house. Pixie rolls up a window shade. Jinks is terrified. Lah alternates three drawings in a shake take.

Here’s the extended arm run that Lah liked using. Note that Jinks’ tail vanishes.

Lah was able to save Hanna-Barbera some money in many of his scenes by holding a character in position and changing the mouth shapes on the face. But in this scene, he actually re-draws Jinksie completely when the cat looks at the camera. Granted, there aren’t a flurry of drawings, but there’s more than one of Jinks’ body. Here are two of them.

This is an example of the body being held on a cel and a number of mouth shapes used (and re-used) in dialogue.

Did kids notice the lack of full animation? Likely not. There’s enough movement on the screen to match the dialogue. (On the other hand, I always noticed when characters ran past the same thing).

As a contrast, you see a version of Jinks, likely the work of Dick Bickenbach, who put together the model sheets for the characters that were designed by Ed Benedict.

Bick’s work is always very attractive but Lah’s takes are an awful lot funnier (Bick was certainly a capable animator, as he showed in his work at Warner Bros. before leaving for MGM in the mid-‘40s).

At the risk of repeating myself, it seems the studio abandoned fun poses like this fairly quickly as the workload increased. You’d never seen Wally Gator or the Hillbilly Bears drawn this way.


  1. I did notice the popping from pose to pose in the early episodes. But they worked because the expressions on the poses combined with Daws' reading of the dialogue were funny, in part because the poses often involved sharp contrasts from each other. It was way better than the more fluid, but blanded-down animation that would arrive even as early as 1962, with the Wally-Touche-Lippy trilogy.

  2. What is the story behind the pinback button? Who made it? I love it that Jinks is slightly off colored.

    1. I haven't any idea. I think a jpg of it was sent to me.

  3. Nobody can pull those funny drawings but mike lah