6 years ago, GIjOE fan and animator, Jim Sweet, wanted to make a video representation of one of his favorite childhood possessions—the 1960s Peter Pan book and record, GIjOE and the Secret of the Mummy’s Tomb. But Sweet also wanted to take his project one step further, and rather than merely photograph the pages of the comic, he decided to add original elements utilizing his own animation skills. The result turned out to be a unique and imaginative retelling of the classic story.
Clearly drawing inspiration from another childhood favorite (the crudely-animated 1960’s adventure serial, Clutch Cargo), Sweet decided to animate the mouths of all Tomb characters while leaving the rest basically static. This was very similar to what was done in Clutch Cargo. Back then, in order to meet tight production deadlines and even tighter budgets, the characters were very simply drawn, rarely moving, with only their mouths animated by a then-new “Synchro Vox” animation method.
Synchro Vox later became known simply as the “Talking Lips,” process, and its unusual look gave Clutch Cargo’s already extremely minimalist animation an even stranger, off-beat appearance. Modern-day audiences continue to see it employed on television, primarily by comedians such as Conan O’Brien. (Personal note: I distinctly remember as a kid, being so “creeped out” by Cargo’s weird, “talking lips,” that I would JUMP at the TV to change the channel as quickly as possible! And let’s face it, Jonny Quest made Cargo look like he was standing still. Which he usually was.)
While not using Clutch Cargo’s exact Synchro Vox method, Sweet’s own style of animation still has the same retro-appeal of ol’ Clutch. According to Sweet…
“The ‘Secret of the Mummy’s Tomb’ is the best kid’s book and record EVER. First, I took my old GIjOE book and record and scanned in all the pictures. Then, I made the mouth move for each picture by drawing them in on Paint Shop Pro. Finally, I laid each frame into the Movie Maker program and mixed it with the audio from the record.”
So…on this lazy, modern-day Saturday, why don’t you take a few moments to reminisce what it was like when you were a kid, watching all those cool, Saturday morning cartoons? Start by rewatching Sweet’s entertaining Mummy’s Tomb VIDEO. Then, switch over to this (hilariously bad) 4-minute Clutch Cargo episode. When you’re done, sit back and remember what the old wise man once said…”Well, there’s another 15 minutes of my life I’ll never get back.” HA