Clutch Cargo

(ended 1960)



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Clutch Cargo

Show Summary

Adventure On A Low Budget –

Tall, stoutly built, ruggedly handsome Clutch Cargo was a two-fisted Troubleshooter/Aviator/Author who traveled the world with his young ward –- Red-haired, freckle-faced Spinner –- Becoming involved in all manner of various situations of friends in distress. Spinner, and his dog –- A Dachshund named Paddlefoot –- Usually helped Clutch solve the various mysteries and troublesome situations which plagued Clutch's many acquaintances from the South-Seas islands, to the arctic tundra, to the jungles of South America, to the prairies the Great American Southwest –- Their experiences providing material for Clutch's best-selling Adventure Logbook.

The Producers of this turn-of-the-decade animated (And, the term is used loosely, here) action/adventure series cut as many corners as possible, in order to stay within a very limited budget, and time-frame. Judging, even by the standards of it's time, it left much to be desired. It was, however, quite interesting –- And, perhaps, even a bit ahead of it's time –- For it's use of a patented process known as Synchro-Vox®. Developed by Cinematographer Edwin Gillette, in the early days of television, for use in TV commercials which featured talking animals, the process involved the superimposition of the moving, talking lips of live Actors over the faces of still drawings of the various characters. It added a bit of realism to characters which, otherwise, might have been pretty dull. Variations of Gillette's technique can be seen, to this day –- Most notably, in the opening sequence of Spongebob Squarepants.

However simple it's animation techniques may have been, it was, nonetheless, very well drawn, and it's plots well-written. Creator/Writer Clark Haas aimed his imaginative story-lines at an audience in the 5 to 10 year-old range, and it became popular enough, with young viewers of the day, to prompt the production of 2 full 26-episode seasons. Each episode was broken up into 5 4-minute 'Chapters', with a mini-cliffhanger at the end of the first 4, with the 5th chapter concluding the adventure. The series was syndicated, and bought by many TV stations, nationwide, to show on local afternoon cartoon shows, such as Bozo The Clown. It's intended format was to show one chapter per day, on Mondays through Fridays, with a re-cap of all five chapters, on Saturday mornings. It was released to syndication on March 9, 1959, and was picked up by at least 65 local affiliates during 1959 and 1960.

Former Radio Actor Richard Cotting provided the voice of the title character. Very little is known about Cotting, and Clutch Cargo seems to be his only known television credit.

Actress Margaret Kerry –- Whose chief claim to fame, was as the model for 'Tinkerbell', in Disney's Peter Pan –- Voiced Spinner and Paddlefoot, and many of the other female characters, in the series. Though Kerry never really hit the mainstream, she had quite a distinguished career in TV and movies, beginning in the mid-30s. Ms. Kerry is very much alive and well, and her services as a Motivational Speaker, these days, are very much in demand.

The most famous name involved with the series is that of Hal Smith. Smith –- Probably best known as town drunk Otis Campbell, of The Andy Griffith Show –- Provided the voice of Clutch's scruffy friend, Swampy –- Who appeared, occasionally, throughout the series –- As well as some of the other male characters. Smith had a wide and varied career, in TV and Movies, dating back to the mid-40s. He passed away at the age of 77, in 1994.

Fondly remembered by those who watched it, back in '59 and '60, it is more likely, these days, to be watched merely out of curiosity. Though it's minuses far outweigh it's plusses, it's still a not-unpleasant way to kill a half hour, even if only for a walk down 'Memory Lane'.

The entire 2-season run of Clutch Cargo was released on DVD in March of 2005, in 2 3-DVD boxed sets, by Brentwood Home Video.

Richard Cotting

Richard Cotting

Clutch Cargo [Voice]

Margaret Kerry

Margaret Kerry

Spinner / Paddlefoot [Voice]

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  • Clutch Cargo...a cartoon from the early years of animation.

    What else can be said about Clutch Cargo?

    It is truly "state of the art".

    The "living lips" are a stroke of genius.

    (The "Living Lips" are patented by the way)

    Clutch Cargo, Spinner and his dog, Paddlefoot get in all sorts of dangerous adventures that usually end with a "cliffhanger".

    At times, Clutch and company get help from their friend "Swampy".

    At times the artists used real fire in their animation.

    The same is true for real smoke.

    Clutch always got around by use of several modern vehicles...that existed in real life.

    The theme will always be a part of me. You gotta love that wooden flute & bongos.moreless

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