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Christopher Crumpet is a 1953 animated short film (6 1/2 minutes) directed by Robert Cannon, produced by UPA.

A cartoonist, sitting at his drawing desk, tells his dog a story about a bad little boy named Christopher Crumpet, drawing as he goes. In the story, Christopher is an awful little brat who has one trick which drives his parents to distraction: whenever he gets mad, he can change himself into a chicken. Christopher is demanding a rocket ship, which his harried middle-class father absolutely cannot afford. When Christopher rejects a toy rocket, doing his chicken trick, his father gets desperate.

Bill Melendez, who worked as an animator on this film, later made all those famous Peanuts animated films and specials of the 1960s and 1970s.


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Tropes:

  • Animorphism: Christopher's habit of turning into a chicken when he gets mad.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: When Christopher's dressing up as an astronaut, he simply empties a fish bowl onto the floor and puts the bowl on his head, leaving the fish to presumably die. (It flops off-screen stage right.)
  • Framing Device: The cartoonist telling the story of Christopher Crumpet to his dog.
  • Limited Animation: UPA was the Trope Codifier for limited animation in the 1950s but this film really pushes it to the limit. Often there's only one thing moving at the time, and the backgrounds are very simple drawings on top of voids. In one scene where the father is leaving the house, the father and the front door are the only things on the screen.
  • The Reveal: The ending reveals that the cartoonist's dog is actually his son, who has changed into a dog because he insists on getting a rocket ship. After the father delivers his little story the son learns his lesson and changes back into human form.
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  • Splash of Color: Most of the film (all but the framing device) is black lines drawn against a bluish background. But Christopher has a wild shock of red hair atop his head. When Christopher turns into a chicken his hair becomes his comb, and he also sprouts a red wattle.
  • Thick-Line Animation: UPA's signature style, which matched well with the studio's Limited Animation.
  • Written Sound Effect: A "CRASH" appears onscreen when Christopher's toy rocket flies straight through a window. Later there's a "BAM" when the father's co-worker slaps a door forcefully on leaving.
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