Kitty Kornered (1946)
With the Orson Welles' panic broadcast of 1938 proving such a seismic event
in the annals of radio history, it hardly seems surprising that references to
it have cropped up in other productions, the earliest of which seems to be a
Porky The Pig cartoon by the renowned animator Robert "Bob" Clampett. Made in
1946, Kitty Kornered is widely held to be one of Clampett's finest cartoons,
a freewheeling and anarchic flow of wacky ideas that pits Porky against a gang
of fractious felines who are determined to stay in the warn on a cold winters night.
There is no plot as such. Porky is trying to put his four cats out for the night,
including one with a striking resemblance to Sylvester the cat, but they are not
keen on spending a night in the snow, so battle Porky for control of the house.
There follows a series of ever more outrageous confrontations, with Clampett's
trademark irreverence much to the fore. Clampett was renowned for his almost
surrealist style, which was heavily influenced by Salvador Dali, and here his
characters routinely twist and bend into outlandish shapes and inanimate objects
blithely defy the laws of physics. In the midst of all this craziness, the cats
hatch a plan to oust Porky from his house once and for all, by dressing up as
Martians and pretending to broadcast a news story that Mars has invaded the Earth.
It is a great cartoon, full of boundless energy and with the sublime Mel Blanc
providing all the voices. The cartoon is also significant as one of the last
Bob Clampett worked on for Warner Brothers, and the first and only time he featured
Sylvester the cat in one of his cartoons.
It would be intriguing to learn what had prompted Clampett to feature his reference
to The War of the Worlds in Kitty Kornered, but perhaps a clue comes from an earlier
project that Clampett had worked on. In 1931 Clampett has approached the author of
the John Carter Of Mars books, Edgar Rice Burroughs, for permission to attempt a
groundbreaking series of cartoon shorts based upon his Martian stories. Clampett
received an enthusiastic reception and together with Burroughs son Jack, worked
for a number of years to bring the idea to fruition. They got close, producing much
material including a superb test reel, but alas the project was sunk by a nervous
studio. Perhaps then Kitty Kornered was an oblique nod to that earlier Martian experience.
See also in:
Film & TV