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Pete-Roleum and His Cousins (1939)

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Pete-Roleum and His Cousins 1939 Poster

Pete-Roleum and His Cousins

IMDB Link:
Rating: 6.1/10 (65 votes)
Director: Joseph Losey
Writer: Joseph Losey
Stars: Charles R. Bowers
Runtime: 25 min
Year: 1939
Genre: AnimationFamilyShort
Quality: HD
Language: English
Released: 15 May 1939
Plot: This 25-minute short (original running time at the 1939 World's Fair and in its theatrical bookings) was made by Petroleum Industry to be primarily at the NYC 1939 World's Fair, but was also available to theatres. Basically, a commercial but many theatres booked it since it was free, in Technicolor and was better than the majority of the 1939 shorts. The reason some people think there is gaps in the narration is because the original had two different interlocking sound tracks, one on the screen, representing the voices of the screen characters, and another in the rear of the auditorium, with the taunts and wise-cracks of an off-screen heckler. The DVD that exists is not only missing nine minutes of footage, it is also missing the second sound track. The story is a phantasy of the oil industry, employing 40 different characters. The story utilizes animated puppets in a, at the time, new way. The puppets were four inches high, had faces and bodies shaped like oil drops. They had flexible armatures and rubber skin faces that could assume any expression desired. It was photographed by a stop-action camera and the average production rate was fifteen feet of film a day. There is one central character, Pete-Roleum (as seen on the original title with a hyphen in the name), and he engages in a discussion with the heckling voice from the audience. Pete and his petroleum cousins quit the earth, which starts to drop back into ruin without the aid of oil in the human activities. The heckler sees his mistake and pleads for them to come back. This short was shown in many USA schools well into the 1940s and beyond. Hoiward Bay, of the Federal Theatre's Living Newspaper series, designed the sets and the puppets.



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