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Clutch Cargo
ClutchCargoTitleCard.jpg
Title card
Written by Clark Haas
Voices of Richard Cotting
Margaret Kerry
Hal Smith
Theme music composer Paul Horn
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 52
Production
Producer(s) Dick Brown
Running time 25 minutes
Production company(s) Cambria Productions
Release
Original release March 9, 1959 (1959-03-09) – 1960 (1960)

Clutch Cargo is an American animated television series created by cartoonist Clark Haas and produced by Cambria Productions, and syndicated beginning on March 9, 1959. The series was notable for its limited animation yet imaginative stories, as well as for being the first widely-known use of Syncro-Vox technology. It was a surprise hit at the time, and could be seen on 65 stations nationwide in 1960.

Plot

The series' stories centered on adventurer Clutch Cargo, who was sent around the world on dangerous assignments. Accompanying him on the assignments were his young ward Spinner and his pet Dachshund Paddlefoot. Live-action footage was used, as well, of a 1929 Bellanca C-27 Airbus; series creator Clark Haas was previously a jet pilot. Episodes were produced and serialized in five 5-minute chapters each. The first four chapters ended in cliffhangers, with the fifth chapter concluding the adventure. Haas explained that the show was formatted this way so that "the stations can run one a day on weekdays, then recap the whole for a half-hour Saturday show."

Episodes

The series consisted of 52 episodes.

  1. The Friendly Head Hunters
  2. The Arctic Bird Giant
  3. The Desert Queen
  4. The Pearl Pirates
  5. The Vanishing Gold
  6. The Race Car Mystery
  7. The Rocket Riot
  8. Mystery in the Northwoods
  9. Twaddle in Africa
  10. The Lost Plateau
  11. The Ghost Ship
  12. The Rustlers
  13. The Missing Train
  14. The Devil Bird
  15. Pipeline to Danger
  16. Mister Abominable
  17. Operation Moon Beam
  18. Air Race
  19. The Haunted Castle
  20. The Elephant-Nappers
  21. Dragon Fly
  22. Sky Circus
  23. The Midget Submarine
  24. Cliff Dwellers
  25. Jungle Train
  26. Space Station
  27. The Swamp Swindlers
  28. The Dinky Incas
  29. Kangaroo Express
  30. The Shipwreckers
  31. The Ivory Counterfeiters
  32. Dynamite Fury
  33. Alaskan Pilot
  34. Swiss Mystery
  35. Pirate Isle
  36. Crop Dusters
  37. The Smog Smuggler
  38. Global Test Flight
  39. Dead End Gulch
  40. The Missing Mermaid
  41. Flying Bus
  42. Road Race
  43. Feather Fuddle
  44. Water Wizards
  45. The Terrible Tiger
  46. The Circus
  47. Bush Pilots
  48. Cheddar Cheaters
  49. The Blunderbird
  50. The Case of Ripcord Van Winkle
  51. Fortune Cookie Caper
  52. Big "X"

Home video

DVD name Episodes Release date Additional information
Volume 1 26 March 22, 2005
  • The Story of Clutch Cargo
  • Clutch Memorabilia
  • Clutch & Company: Mini-biographies and details of the cast
  • 1959 Facts and Trivia
  • Bonus Syncro-Vox Cartoon episode
Volume 2 26 March 22, 2005
  • The Making of Clutch Cargo
  • Politically Incorrect
  • As Seen in Pulp Fiction
  • 1959 Trailers
  • Bonus Syncro-Vox Cartoon Episode

Legacy

Talk show series Late Night with Conan O'Brien had a recurring segment where host O'Brien would Interview a famous news maker "Via Satellite". The newsmaker in question would be seen on a TV monitor predominantly as a stock photo, but the mouth of the photo (often played by writer/performer Robert Smigel) would be doing the talking. This bit was done periodically throughout the 16 year run of the show, and was colloquially known as a "Clutch Cargo" piece.

On November 22, 1987, a man dressed as Max Headroom who hijacked a broadcast of Doctor Who hummed the theme music of Clutch Cargo, and said "I still see the X" (in reference to the last episode of the show).

A clip from this series appears briefly in the 1994 film Pulp Fiction. Emil Sitka, who voiced some of the characters in this series, also is credited in the film for his appearance in a Three Stooges short being watched by one of the characters.

In 1996, a live music venue named after the series, Clutch Cargo's, opened in Pontiac, Michigan. In 2013, Clutch Cargo was featured on TruTV Presents: World's Dumbest where it placed #19 on the show's countdown of dumbest TV shows.

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