Jerry Beck is an animation historian but he gets especially animated when he talks about bad cartoons.
For the last four years at Comic-Con, the Los Angeles-based Beck has been showing a series of the Worst Cartoons Ever. This year’s program shows tonight in Room 6CDEF at 9 p.m. and he promises it to be “so bad that it’s good.”
Beck tries to make every year’s edition completely different but says there are some staples he has to include such as “Super President.”
It’s a crudely animated series from 1967 that centers on a president named James Norcross, who developed the ability to alter his molecular structure after going through a cosmic storm.
Plots feature Norcross trying to elude Secret Service agents in order to change into his superhero costume and there’s a sidekick who Beck says modern audiences find very similar to Karl Rove.
Amazingly, it only lasted one season because NBC programming executives elected not to renew it.
Beck says his newest find is “Patty the Pelican,” a late 50s cartoon that he says is so crudely animated that “it looks like it was drawn in pencil.” He says the show’s theme song is especially bad because it has a voice who sounds like “Jerry Lewis on acid laughs the lyrics.”
Since the Comic-Con attracts so many animation insiders, you might think that Beck would shy away from hurting their feelings – or that animators would want to avoid having their past haunt them. Actually, the opposite is true.
Says Beck: “A lot of them feel like their work is finally justified just because I’m showing it. Plus, the program attracts a lot of talented animators who watch what’s on screen very closely. I asked one top Disney animator – who will remain nameless – why he was studying them so closely and he said, “I watch everything in order to see what they were TRYING to do.”