Monday, December 11, 2017

It's A Very Special Cel Bloc Xmas: The Great Toy Robbery (1963)

Note: Click on any image to enlarge them.
The Great Toy Robbery (1963, National Film Board of Canada)
Dir.: Jeffrey Hale
Animation: Jeffrey Hale and Cameron Guess
Storyboard and Design: Derek Lamb
TC4P Rating: 7/9

Nearly everyone out there knows about IMDb. You know, the Internet Movie Database. Big I, big M, big D, small (but actually unnecessary) b (except that the abbreviation would be more annoying to spell out without it). It's where many people go first to get movie information, especially new movies that are about to come out in theatres. Or maybe the user is someone who remembers seeing a certain actor in a film they can't quite remember, so they look up the actor's filmography on IMDb and wade through every title just to see if something sticks. Or maybe you wanted to see who it was in that movie you just saw that looked so familiar in the two-line role as the frustrated waiter.

I use IMDb for these reasons and many, many more. Because I write about movies in my considerable (but soon to be shrinking greatly) free time, I practically live on IMDb. And I have lived on there ever since I first discovered it existed over 20 years ago. (It has existed since 1990, but I didn't really have much in the way of internet access until the late '90s.) IMDb is my prime source of movie information, and while I know – because much of the info can be edited and changed by users – to double-check information found on there like with any online source, I find the site, in regards to basic film information, to be generally trustworthy and useful overall. But there are a few aspects of the IMDb experience with which I take issue, but I will skip over things like the trivia sections and tweaked ratings system to concentrate on two things that really drive me nuts.

First there are the user boards, which exist for most of the popular titles in the database, and even some not so popular titles that nonetheless have cult followings. (Any film can have its own board as long as someone on the site decides to start one.) They are the exact same experience you will get with most user boards across the internet: legitimate and sincere users aside, asking topical questions, the IMDb boards tend to be chiefly populated (if not overrun) by vain, frustrated, whining trolls who just want to stomp on anything that anyone else likes. Just like other rabbit holes on the internet, to step into a conversation on an IMDb user board for even a minute – even just as an anonymous reader – is to find oneself trapped in all manner of depravity and bile, idiotic theory, even more subhuman responses and outright racism, sexism and even veiled threats. As I said, just like boards (or even open comments) almost anywhere else on the internet...

Not quite as useless to me but still pretty annoying are the user reviews on IMDb. While one occasionally finds a reviewer with some writing flair and warranted verve amongst the dross on there, for the most part, IMDb user reviews are the home where statements like "I want those 96 minutes of my life back" not only go to die, but seem to have been born there in the first place. The same idiocy that rules the board areas of the site also tend to apply to the user reviews, but once more, it is yet another rabbit hole that I cannot avoid sometimes. Especially when I see a favorite film being attacked by a petulant dullard who is only upset about the movie because he thought he saw the third lead in the film in a mall somewhere once and the guy ignored him. (And don't even get me started on the people who judge a movie because they fell asleep five minutes into it, and then feel that is a worthwhile basis to review the film online... I can't even... grrrr... AAARRRGGGHHH!!!! Man, I hate humans sometimes...)

I once felt differently though. Early on in my use of IMDb as a certified user, I thought perhaps that I at last might have found a forum to post my own thoughts and responses to films as they came out to theatres. I quickly dismissed the idea once I started to really read other top user reviewers on the site. After a few months of digging around looking for the right venue, I discovered that maybe blogging was something that I wanted to try, and soon enough, I created my first website, The Cinema 4 Pylon, the older, more feature film-oriented sister to this one, Cinema 4: Cel Bloc. But that wouldn't happen until October of 2005. Before that, on May 1, 2005 – one day before I began working at my first place of employment after moving to Southern California (the now-shady soccer organization that would lead me to near-suicidal depression) – I wrote three short reviews about animated films on IMDb.

The three animated films that I reviewed were:

1) The Man Who Had to Sing, a 1973 Czech short that influenced me greatly when I saw it on PBS' International Festival of Animation (with Jean Marsh!) several times as a kid;
2) The Incredible, Indelible, Magical Physical, Mystery Trip (1973), an ABC Afterschool Special starring Timer, a yellow, pointy-nosed, top hat-wearing weirdo who is better remembered today for those commercial interstitials where he would "hanker for a hunk o' cheese – YAHOO!"; and...
3) The Great Toy Robbery, a Canadian cartoon short from 1963.

Because I am so tied to that which influenced me earlier in my life, I felt at the time that someone really needed to say something about these particular films. I chose each for their relative obscurity in being written about online at the time. In May 2005, YouTube was just barely up and running, and I couldn't any of these three films online then. I was working completely off memory, as I also hadn't seen them for many, many years. Frankly, I wasn't even sure if any of the three were any good either anymore. You can like something as a kid but that doesn't mean you will grow up to continue liking it. There are a lot of cartoons I saw on Saturday morning TV as a child that I would not only love to throw under a bus today, but would even prefer that I be the one doing the bus driving. (Keeping in mind, of course, that I don't even drive.) As it turned out, once I relocated all three films, I still  completely loved the two foreign shorts, preferring them more than the Timer film (though I still like that one just fine).

So, without a fresh viewing of any of these three back in May 2005, I still posted my brief reviews of my memories of experiencing each one on that single day. I will skip over the other two films from here on out, because we are actually here to fully discuss the third one. About The Great Toy Robbery, I used this sub-heading:

"This should be an X-Mas perennial in the US..."

...and my review appeared like this...

8/10
Author: rik tod johnson (riktodjohnson@gmail.com) from Anaheim, CA
1 May 2005
I first saw this cartoon in 3rd grade in 1973 as part of a Christmas assembly in the school gymnasium, and I have been fascinated with it ever since. It would also get played on TV on Christmas mornings by one of the local affiliates for a few years, and I would study the film, completely transfixed with the story of the Wild West robbers who steal Santa Claus' sack. And then, one Christmas, "The Great Toy Robbery" disappeared from my life...

This is one of the funniest, most lovable and satisfying cartoons I have ever seen (and my animated experience is considerable). From the perspective of the American "sensibility", there is something decidedly off-kilter about a lot of Canadian animated films. The pace and timing can often seem too ponderous, too slow for American eyes, and this film is no exception. It could be the reason it has never really caught on here. But it is the pace of this film that makes it so delightful. Although under seven minutes long, it never hurries, and takes its time with its characters.

I heard that this came out on a Christmas tape a few years back, but by the time I tried to order it, the film seemed to have mysteriously vanished again. Maybe the Film Board of Canada will package it on DVD, not necessarily with other Christmas-related films, but on a set of neglected classics. I know Cartoon Network had their "O, Canada!" show a few years back, and it was a noble effort to promote the country and its animated output, but the network seemed to promote the show as though the title were a back-handed swipe, making it seem like "Look what those crazy Canucks are doing now!", though 90% of the films were far superior to the Seth MacFarlane tripe that they've been pushing on their audience for years.

All in all, a movie ripe for rediscovery...

So, that was one of my first three online reviews (it was actually the second after The Man Who Had to Sing), and it was written after not having seen the film for probably about 25-plus years at that point. A couple of years later, The Great Toy Robbery finally did show up online, when the National Film Board of Canada launched a new site where you could play many of their classic shorts. (The NFB has since opened a YouTube channel. You can watch the film in its entirely by scrolling down to the bottom of this review.)

Seeing The Great Toy Robbery again after so long was a revelation in one way only: I was right all along with the thoughts in my nostalgia-soaked review. But before going any further with any of his nonsense, let's introduce you to the film itself...



The Great Toy Robbery was released in 1963 by the National Film Board of Canada, which sponsored its creation. English director Jeffrey Hale got his first solo credit for directing animation on this short, having previously directed segments for three NFB shorts. The first two of these were Hors–d'oeuvre (1960) and Pot-pourri (1962). Hale, along with other acclaimed directors such as Kaj Pindal, Gerald Potterton, Derek Lamb, and Grant Munro, had previously animated commercials for institutions such as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Both Hors–d'oeuvre and Pot-pourri collected numerous examples of these animation pieces together. Without a guide to tell me who the players were for which segment, I cannot say with any assurance that I know which portion of these films were Jeffrey Hale's. (And besides, I have only seen Hors–d'oeuvre, but cannot locate the second one. So, that makes it even harder to say which segments are his.) [Note: Hale was involved in a third co-directed production for the NFB, also a holiday-themed piece, but we will discuss that film later in this piece,]

Since the film's title is a play on The Great Train Robbery, a 1903 silent film which still serves today as one of the great milestones in cinema history, most may go into The Great Toy Robbery with hopes that it will take place in the Old West. Such hopes are instantly rewarded as the film opens up onto a vast desert landscape. A melody that slightly plays off Happy Trails to You (but not exactly that) ambles along on the soundtrack, while a tall cowboy in white clothes and hat with a guitar strapped to his back is shown riding a rather roly-poly, tan horse with white mane and tail. The cowboy is in no hurry whatsoever, nor is his horse. He rides tamely past rocks, brush and cacti in front of the rolling hills and dunes in the background, while the deep voice of an offscreen narrator begins the tale...

"In the tough and rugged west, cowboy heroes ride alone. They have no past. They have few friends. Their hearts are pure. They never start a fight..."

The cowboy continues to ride along silently until a bright yellow flower appears in their path, at which the horse stops immediately. The narrator continues...

"...but must be prepared to meet trouble...."

The horse noses towards the flower and sniffs it deeply, and then opens its jaws wide to devour the flower, stalk and all, severing it completely down to the ground.

"...at all times."

The horse just stands stock-still after having eaten its meal. The cowboy, at first patient, says, "Giddap!" but becomes increasingly agitated. "Giddap! Go! Giddap, boy!" He shakes the reins uselessly as the scene fades to black. The titles begin to the tune of Oh, Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie, only this version seems quite informed by Henry Mancini's Peter Gunn theme, with a driving guitar leading the rhythm, and a saxophone playing the melody. 

After telling us what I have already told you – "The National Film Board of Canada presents The Great Toy Robbery" – the film comes up on another desert scene, this time with a cattle skull prominently placed in the foreground while a red sun glows above the horizon. From behind the hills mid-screen rides a small figure being propelled quickly forward. The film cuts to the familiar face of Santa Claus, or someone dressed as Santa Claus (we never find out which one it is), making his way swiftly across the desert sands. He is seated on a small sleigh with a large sack resting behind him, and the sleigh is pulled by a single reindeer. Like the cowboy's horse earlier, this reindeer's body is also quite round, as is Santa and his sack.

Santa glides past some cactus, and the film jumps to a trio of villains, also all round in body, atop their respective round horses as they watch Santa's progress from atop a tall hill. The leader of the bad guys, as usual clad all in black (he almost looks like Snidely Whiplash), spies on Santa Claus using binoculars. He first sizes up the reindeer and then shifts his gaze to the sleigh and its driver. Most especially, he sizes up the large sack of goodies on the sleigh. Happy with what he sees, the leader of the bad guys leads his men down the hill in a charge towards St. Nick. Santa, at first unaware of this, checks his watch, but then has to stop short when he sees that he is being held up by the robbers. He throws his hands in the air, and tosses the sack to the bad guys (in a pretty great throw) after the lead villain seeks to make his point with his gun. The robbers ride off with the loot and Santa is left in the desert with his deer and sleigh, his arms still pointing upward into the air.

At a small town nearby, we see a bright star and then the camera pulls back to reveal a tall Christmas tree surrounded by a handful of appreciative, admiring citizens of the town. A gallows rests to the side, while church bells chime nearby. But the holy music is replaced by that of the cowboy hero riding into town. Strumming his guitar while he trots past several buildings, the cowboy yodels his way through a nondescript tune. His singing is charming enough to make the wife of a local citizen, whose husband tipped his hat in friendliness to the cowboy, faint dead away in her husband's arms.



The cowboy rides up to the local saloon, where he intends to tie his horse, but the creature has other ideas. "Whoa! Whoa! Whoa, boy! Whoa!" he yells, but the animal keeps walking until they are offscreen. We hear, "Whoa! Whoa, boy! Whoa!"

Inside the saloon, a piano player is going crazy on the keys as a dancing girl with a lot of cleavage kicks and shimmies on top of his upright piano. She dances in front of a large Botticelli-style style painting of a topless woman lounging in her bedsheets. Outside, we see the robbers ride into town, the sound of their rushing horses causes one lady to pull her window shades down and to have one mother stretch her arm out her door to yank her small, blonde daughter indoors. The robbers reach the saloon, where they leap off their horses as one. They enter the saloon and the dancing and music stop cold. Even the dancing girl keeps her kicked out leg high in the air.



In a close-up, the three robbers grimace and glare at the cowboys inhabiting the bar. The camera cuts to the bartender moving his eyes to the left as he watches all of his patrons depart as quickly as possible. As the sounds of the (unseen) departures get louder and louder, the bartender, whose face starts out bright red and slowly loses its pallor – slinks down smoothly underneath his bar. The piano player is shown still sitting on his stool, staring in shock at the front door, with chairs and even a table kicked over on their sides on the floor of the saloon. The dancer climbs inside the piano for shelter, and the pianist does too, but at the last second, he looks down and gives a leering look with his tongue waggling out of his mouth and gleefully jumps inside to have some fun.

The villains, still by the swinging doors, look out upon an empty saloon. The bartender allows his arm to rise above the level of the bar long enough to supply the goons with a trio of bottles for their drinking pleasure. Their spurs jingling along the wooden floor, the robbers walk in a line – their leader at the front with the sack of goodies – past the bar, grabbing a bottle each and starting to drink as they continue to the back of the saloon. From offscreen, each bottle is thrown 1, 2, 3 back in front of the bar, where the first two smash instantly, but the third bottle lands miraculously upright before smashing into little bits.

The villains surround the sack once belonging to Santa Claus and wiggle their fingers in anticipation. With huge grins on their faces, they open the sack wide and start flinging presents in every direction as fast as possible. Finally, each of the henchmen pulls out a single item from the sack. The leader in the top hat get two toys, owing to his status, I guess. He pulls out a bugle and an airplane, and toots the bugle loudly in triumph. The villain in green hugs a teddy bear gently and then kisses it over and over, and the third villain, clad in blue, shows off his dribbling skills with a large beach ball. The leader whirls his airplane playfully around his head in circles, and then makes a mad dash with the toy. He runs the length of the saloon with his arm outstretched, pretending that the plane can fly, and then he runs back through the bar, even up and over the piano to continue his joyous, childlike flight. He then repeats his wild run.



Outside the saloon once again, the cowboy hero's horse has switched direction and makes another pass in front of the saloon. The cowboy hero continues to yell, "Whoa!" again and again at his steed, but the creature refuses to (or can't) listen. Finally, he can't take anymore, so the cowboy raises his guitar high above his head and wallops the horse Yosemite Sam-style on the noggin. The horse stops immediately, but also barely seems to really notice the blow after it has happened.

The cowboy hero steps into the saloon and sees that the majority of the bar is now empty. He steps up to the bar, but as soon as he leans on it, the beach ball flies across the room, bounces off the piano, and arcs high through the air until it smacks the cowboy right on top of his head. The cowboy stumbles backwards and gets his right foot stuck inside a golden spittoon. He turns and sees the bad guys playing with their stolen toys at the back of the room. The green shirted henchman has his arms high in the air as he spins a hula hoop around his waist, the blue-shirted fiend is playing with a paddleball, and the villainous leader is running a small electronic railroad. Other assorted toys lay scattered on the floor around them.

Innocently, the cowboy hero asks, "Hey, fellas? Can I play?" Their first response it to grab up their loot and then hide behind the sack to glare at the cowboy hero. The leader growls at the hero, "Get outta here!" The hero just wants to play too, so with the spittoon still on his right foot, he pleads like a child, "Aw, c'mon, fellas!" In a shot reminiscent of the most famous image from the silent The Great Train Robbery, all three robbers pull their guns and point them straight at the cowboy hero, i.e. straight at the camera like the robber in the silent version. (That image of a man firing straight into the camera shocked audiences at the time, even without sound.) The hero starts to step backwards with his hands near his holsters. His second step backward, however, is greeted with the clang of the spittoon on the floor, and after his third step, the cowboy hero throws his arms into the arm and bolts for front door, going step-clang-step-clang repeatedly.



The cowboy hero runs straight out past his horse and then backtracks to leap onto its saddle. "Giddap! Giddap!" He slaps its haunch, but there is no response from the horse. "Go, boy! Giddap!" The horse is as useless as ever. As he continues to struggle, Santa rides into town with the sheriff standing next to him on the sleigh. They stop in front of the saloon, and the sheriff asks the cowboy hero, "Say, pardner! Have you seen this guy's sack of toys?" The cowboy points inside the saloon and the pair go inside. The cowboy hero watches the front door, and there is silence for several seconds. Suddenly, gunfire starts to burst through the doors and walls of the saloon. The cowboy hero tries ever more frantically to get his horse to get going, kicking at its sides.

Inside the bar, the sheriff and Santa are pinned down behind the overturned table next to the piano. The lawman fires back at the robbers, who have him easily outgunned as they advance across the floor. Finally, they make it to the front door as the sheriff and Santa move past the piano to a less strategically sound table. The robbers, still firing wildly at the good guys, step out of the saloon backwards. Outside, the cowboy hero is just gearing up to give his horse another conk on the head with his guitar to get moving again. Without realizing it though, he first bashes all three villains with one blow, and then throws the guitar forward to hit the horse. His steed shoots out from under him and bolts away. The cowboy hero lands awkwardly but upright as the villains tumble backwards down the steps of the saloon and onto the ground unconscious.


The sheriff and Santa run out of the saloon, where the lawman shakes the cowboy hero's hand as Santa recovers his sack. Santa, who turns out to have a rather cultured British accent, says, "Thanks, old boy!" and opens up the sack to the cowboy hero. "Have one!" says Santa, and then chuckles, and says looking at the audience, "Have one!" again. The cowboy hero pulls a large toy car out of the sack and then climbs inside, his tremendously long legs barely allowing him to fit comfortably inside as he pedals away with great glee. 

As the sheriff points the way to jail for the three robbers, Santa waves happily from his sleigh. The cowboy hero drives his new toy car back into view and makes circles in front of the saloon as Santa rides away. With the saxophone-driven version of Oh Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie blasting once more on the soundtrack, Santa rides off across the desert the way he came in, ultimately zigzagging his way to the horizon with a crescent moon gracing the night sky above. The End.

Since I finally found a copy in recent years and was able to get reacquainted with The Great Toy Robbery, it has become an annual affair again with me. And I must say, my memories of the film mostly served me well over the long decades between showings. I remembered the tone of the piece, and of course, the storyline and characters. I stand by everything that I said about in my initial IMDb review, even though I wrote it through the haze of misty-eyed remembrance.

What I missed out on in that review, since I saw it as a child first and was chiefly responding to cowboy heroes and villains who acted like little kids, was the more adult aesthetic of the film. Despite their playing with toys, the villains in this film really are bad, violent men. People are held at gunpoint or are terrorized by these bad men, bullets are fired, the use of tobacco is hinted at by the spittoon, and alcohol is being consumed. Near the seemingly glorious glow of the lit up Christmas tree in the town square lies a gallows waiting ominously to hang the guilty. The film is graced by at least a minute (if not more) of inadvertent nudity because of that huge painting in the saloon. And somewhere inside his upright, a piano player is probably also upright and getting laid.



This was all clearly missed by me as a kid, and back in the day when I first saw it in that assembly in the gymnasium at Eagle River Elementary in 1973, no one freaked out because there was a nude painting in the saloon, or because it was too violent. The showing was not even a regular school event, but a local usage of school property to show the audience an evening of family-friendly entertainment in a town that did not have a regular movie theatre until the late 1980s (at least). I recall two such events at the Eagle River gym that my family attended. Everyone sat at cafeteria tables (some on the floor if they chose to), popcorn, candy and hot dogs were sold, and the evening would consist of several short subjects (usually cartoons) and then at least one feature film. One night, they ran A Man Called Flintstone as the feature film; the other was Namu, the Killer Whale. I don't remember which showing had The Great Toy Robbery, but the other night had Disney's The Three Little Pigs as a big drawing point.

The next year, I was moved to the brand new Homestead Elementary for 4th grade (the new school was closer to our home), and they eventually had similar movie nights, some of which I was able to convince the parents to attend with us (and sometimes we would get dropped off there). Of particular merit was a night featuring The Shaggy Dog, during which they not only showed other Disney shorts like Johnny Appleseed and Pecos Bill, but also drew the ire of many in the crowd for showing a short about killing and dressing a deer. They should have known that was not a good idea for a pro-Disney crowd, prone to crying over Bambi's mother. Knowing about the art-based nudity in The Great Toy Robbery, it makes my heart glad now to recall that mothers in my town back then were more concerned with violence and gore than a stylized Botticelli.

Speaking of which, the curviness of the model in the painting points up a motif within The Great Toy Robbery. I mentioned that the horse was roly-poly, having an oval body and general soft edges on the rest of its body and head. So too the reindeer, with even its antlers being less pointed than muted. In the opening scenes in the desert, even the cactus and hills – as luxuriantly laid out as the model in the painting have a pleasing roundness and to them, as do Santa, the robbers, their horses, the sack, the hero's guitar, the Sheriff and the dancing girl. And of course, that spittoon and the beach ball, and the giant boulders that the robbers and Santa are seen beside.

The contrast is the ridiculous tallness of the cowboy, the upright piano, the piano player, and the Christmas tree. Most especially, the buildings of the town – which show surprising details in their structure for a film where the characters are such elementary shapes – are drawn tall and thin. In one shot of the Christmas tree, the street takes a turn so that when the town turns with the street, they seem more like facades at an amusement park than an actual structure. The lack of depth seen in the buildings when the corner is turned seems almost absurd in contrast to scenes in the saloon where we see that there is a healthy amount of room inside. Is it a town entirely constructed of TARDISes?

As I mentioned in my old review, the chief merit of this film is its patience, even within its fairly abbreviated running time. The hero is not going anywhere fast, no one is in a hurry except for the villains, and Hale really allows the story to breathe. It even has an opening scene that telegraphs to us that no one is going anywhere with a horse refusing to get moving again. Once the bad guys get to the saloon, all they want to do is play, and they would do so forever if given the chance. Over and over, the details are introduced to us in a most leisurely fashion. Even the propulsive theme is based on a fairly slow western standard. At this pace, we still get to thoroughly understand and love each of the main characters, even the baddies, because yeah, we'd kill to get that sack full of goodies too.


But don't get on me about the modern airplane and car designs of the toys in Santa's sack in the Old West, or even the hula hoop and electric train set. Have a little faith in fantasy, this atheist says for once. Clearly, Santa isn't bound by the same rules as us mere mortals. If he feels a kid needs a jet plane a hundred years before its time, or a pedal car that would not look out of place in the early '60s, then so be it. Santa is magic, after all.

Though it does raise the question as to whether we are seeing the real Santa Claus in this film, or just a kindly, imposter Santa going from town to town to spread basic Christmas joy and grab a free meal where he can. He doesn't fly into town; he drives his sleigh there instead. He has to enlist the aid of the sheriff to get his sack back, and he never seems to use magic openly. And yet, he has the proper air and patience of a Santa, and has the perfect gift to make the cowboy hero happier than ever. If that isn't holiday magic, what is? Besides, who else would have an actual reindeer, flying or otherwise, in the Old West?

I said earlier that Jeffrey Hale co-directed yet another holiday-themed piece for the NFB of Canada, and it was released in the same year as The Great Toy Robbery. It was another group effort called Christmas Cracker, which ended up being nominated for a short subject Academy Award. The film features three distinct segments each offering a different celebration or story about the holiday.

Once more, I am unsure of which segment Hale directed in Christmas Cracker (the NFB website is not helpful in this regard, nor is IMDb), though I can take a pretty good guess and say it was probably the chunk in the middle featuring a cadre of tin toys dealing with a renegade wind-up crocodile in their midst. I am basing this guess on the work that Hale had ahead of him in the years to come. He moved to San Francisco eventually to start up his own studio, which eventually would go on to make a great many segments for Sesame Street for a couple of decades. These included the famous "1,2,3" pinball segments that many now grown-up kids from the '70s, including myself, recall with much affection.

Working with Hale on some of those shorts was another Bay Area filmmaker, Ernie Fosselius, who would go on to great renown (or notoriety, given your taste) for creating the world's first Star Wars fan film and parody, Hardware Wars. The film is a particular favorite of mine and always will be, having watched it quite literally scores and scores of times on HBO and even in movie theatres as a kid. (In fact, I might even watch it again today.)

And there, in the midst of all the silly puns about the Planet Basketball, Fluke Starbucker, Chewchilla the Wookie Monster, Artie Deco, and tractor beams (showing animation of a cartoon tractor), is a person playing Augie Ben Doggie, the film's version of wise Obi-Wan Kenobi. And just who is playing Augie Ben Doggie?

None other than Jeffrey Hale, the director of The Great Toy Robbery. I love how things seem to connect together in life sometimes. Especially your influences...

Merry Christmas! See ya soon with the next 'toon!

RTJ


*****

And in case you haven't seen it...



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