Jasper and the Haunted House (film #3 on George Pal Puppetoons (Loonic Video)). [Category: Sleaze & Outsider]

Jasper is a little African-American boy who was unfortunately animated using the racist stereotypes of the time. Despite that, he’s an appealing character. In this puppet-animated cartoon, a scarecrow tricks him into taking a wrong turn and going into a haunted house, in order to steal a pie Jasper is trying to deliver. Unlike most “haunted house” cartoons, the ghosts and spooks in the house are suggested by having all kinds of inanimate objects move of their own accord, supposedly manipulated by invisible supernatural hands. This is a wonderfully creative premise for a puppet-animated cartoon. It’s quite fun to watch, especially the climax which features various objects dancing to a jazz tune. The scarecrow eventually gets his comeuppance from Jasper in a funny ending. This is one of the better puppetoons I’ve seen.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.

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