April 23, 2008

Before TOY STORY, there was THE TIN TOY. And, before there was TIN TOY, there was RAGGEDY ANN AND ANDY: A MUSICAL ADVENTURE. As I mentioned in an earlier post, this was one of my first movie going experiences, and I loved it. I loved everything about it. But, then, I guess we all have special feelings about the first movie we really enjoyed.

First, let me talk about the animation. The animation was done by a talented team headed by Richard Williams. Williams is also the man responsible for the great animation in ROGER RABBIT, and the equally visually impressive THIEF AND THE COBBLER. In fact, there’s a chase scene in RAGGEDY ANN that reminds me of a chase scene in COBBLER, in which Ann, Andy and the Camel With the Wrinkled Knees are pursued by the Looney Knight in a black and white hall with impossible stairways that seemed to have found their way in the later movie. I also remember how Williams’ team gave the toys very realistic moves for hand drawn animation. You really do believe that this is how the toys would move when Marcella (the girl who owns Ann, Andy, and the other toys) plays with them.

And what about these great toy characters that come to life when Marcella isn’t around? Ann really loves being with Marcella when she goes out to school or to play. I could easily identify with Andy’s frustration at being one of the only male dolls in the playroom. Then there’s the Camel. All that poor Camel wants is a place to belong and feel loved and accepted. I don’t believe there’s anybody who can’t identify with those wants. For laughs, though, I have to go with King KooKoo. I love the fact that Marty Brill did his voice in the style of a German Mel Brooks-it’s great fun to listen to, even though he is the villain.

There is one aspect of this movie that I cannot, and will not leave out. I am a Joe Raposo fanatic. Let’s be honest, if you grew up on the early years of SESAME STREET and THE ELECTRIC COMPANY, then you know what a musical genius this man was, and what a great man he was to know. Joe’s (I just have to use his first name-I know he would want me to) inventiveness is at work here. He manages to incorporate a toy piano into the Twin Penny Dolls’ jazzy rhythmic observations. He gives Andy a rousing song about his desire to be “No Girl’s Toy”. But the real breakout songs are “Candy Hearts and Paper Flowers” and the Camel’s anthem “Blue”. See for yourself:

I’m sure that there are sites and people out there willing to burn and trade copies or even sell them. Let me be clear about something that I wanted to be clear about early on. I do not and will not advocate, defend or support illegal downloading and selling of copyrighted material. Therefore, I am insisting that you do not reply to this post with such information or requests for such materials-I will remove your post. Rather, I would suggest that we use our collective voices to request the studio(s) that hold the rights to this wonderful family film to open the vault and release the movie to DVD.



  1. Nice writing style. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    Chris Moran

  2. […] Read the rest of this great post here […]

  3. Chris,
    Thank you for the kind words! I really hope that I continue to serve this blog well!

  4. Joe Raposo was a singular talent: the most positive, buoyant creative musical force children’s television and film have ever encountered. Sonically he was a force of nature, and his loss is like darkness over the industry. I appreciate so much your sharing him with us in these essays and would love to read more about him here. Anything you have about Mr. Raposo, please continue to share.

  5. Heather, my friend,

    I am so glad to hear from you. You can be sure that as soon as I get the inspiration, you will INDEED hear more about Fall River’s favorite son!

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