Monday, December 31, 2012

Hogie's Heroes: Milton DeLugg

Sorry I've been absent from posting here, but the holiday season always finds me running on fumes until I am reborn like a phoenix with the rolling over of the yearly odometer. I did decide to pop in one last update before 2013, albeit a slightly odd one that chronologically really belongs back in my bits about early childhood.

A short while back, I made a Facebook post of The Fleshtones' version of "Hooray For Santa Claus" the theme song for "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians" . (Being a fan of both The Fleshtones and cheezy kid cinema, how could I resist?) Fellow artist Danny Hellman responded by posting a video clip from the movie "Gulliver's Travels Beyond the Moon", which aside from having a similarly unlikely genre mashup movie title also sported music from the same composer...Milton DeLugg. This had the welcome effect of scratching the nearly 40 year old itch of me trying to figure out what the incredibly strange cartoon movie I had seen as a small child was. I managed to find it on Amazon streaming and gave it a rent.

My memories did not fail me, this cartoon is AGGRESSIVELY weird. It features a street urchin named Ricky who teams up with a dog, a toy soldier and Swift's Gulliver to travel by rocket to a planet called "The Star Of Hope". Said planet is populated by semi abstract looking alien people who've been displaced and are persecuted by the robots they created to serve them. It was a 60's Japanese Japanese import (Apparently Hayao Miyazaki got his start here as an inbetweener, and pitched ideas that were eventually used in the ending.) but has a wild variety of styles, sometimes seeming like an Eastern European experimental film. Oh yeah, and Darla Hood of The Little Rascals dubs in the voice of a princess in the American version. Fun stuff.

Lest this sound too much like something more appropriate for the Cartoon Brew website, let me say something about the music. It TOTALLY matches the film, despite not being the original score. (Which I've heard some of, and it's fine but pales in comparison.) DeLugg totally knows how to throw everything in. The 94 year old music veteran who's been both the musical director of The Gong Show and the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade gives you kid choruses, brassy discordant horns, instruments you can't identify and a lot of stuff that wouldn't sound out of place in Bob Crewe's "Barabarella" soundtrack. It certainly helped burn this fun flick into my young mind.

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