Back in the day you may remember that when many Disney/Pixar films released on DVD it would often come with various bonus features. This would often include behind the scenes extras, bloopers/deleted scenes and even some mini games. But some packages came with brand new animated shorts that were not seen in the theatrical release.
The 2004 film The Incredibles is no exception, as it came with not one, but two short films. The first being Jack-Jack Attack where we see Kari McKeen babysitting baby Jack-Jack while the rest of the Parr family is off saving the world. The other however was Mr. Incredible & Pals, and it’s really strange.
The short sees a younger Mr. Incredible (Voiced by: Pete Doctor), Frozone and their animal pal Mr. Skipperdoo save the city from a villain called Lady Lightbug.
There was also an alternate version of this short where we hear Mr. Incredible (Voiced by: Craig T. Nelson) and Frozone (Vpiced by: Samual L. Jackson) profile commentary, stating that it was an in-universe pilot for an undeveloped television show.
The short uses a technique known as Synchro-Vox, where a live action mouth is super imposed on a 2D character as opposed to animating mouth movements.
The reason why this short is in this particular style is actually reference to an actual television show from this time period. The Incredibles takes place in 1962, and just a few years before in 1959 there was an animated series called Clutch Cargo.
The series follows the titular hero Clutch, along with his sidekick Spinner and their dog Paddlefoot, as they explore the world and encounter various different strange occurrences. The series falls into the same category as something like Jonny Quest. In fact the creator of Jonny Quest, Doug Widley, worked at the studio that produced Clutch Cargo shortly before moving to Hanna-Barbara.
The series was developed by Cambria Pictures and ran for 52 episodes from 1959 – 1960. The reason for the synchro-vox technique along with the limited animation was simply due to budget. They had so little money they couldn’t afford basic mouth movements, so the actors recorded their mouths along with their voices.
Cambria would later make Space Angel and Captain Fathom using the same technique, but would later have a bigger budget for their The New 3 Stooges series, ditching the style.
The technique has since been used on and off, mostly for comedic purposes. The most well known use of this style is in the web series The Annoying Orange.
It is remembered as an odd piece of animation history, but for many who grew up in that era you can definitely say it was unique for its time.
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