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Western Animation / The Shepherd 1969

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The Shepherd is a 1969 animated short film (7 1/2 minutes) produced and directed by Cameron Guess.

A man named Harry is a shepherd...in the big city. Why? Who knows, but it's "the only thing he knew how to do", and so he keeps five sheep in a threadbare apartment. The sheep are a problem—he can't get them on a subway car, they are an obstacle in his quest to find a job, and the cranky lady in the apartment below him hates the noise. Finally, after a voice from the heavens urges him, Harry changes his life.


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Tropes:

  • Blowing Smoke Rings: The manager at the nightclub is smoking a cigar. He blows one smoke ring right into Harry's face before telling him to take his sheep and get out.
  • Ceiling Banger: The cartoon opens on an old lady banging her broom on the ceiling to stop the noise from the apartment upstairs, which turns out to be Harry and his flock of sheep. At the end, she is banging even harder, as Harry is now a blacksmith banging horseshoes while horses stomp around inside the apartment.
  • The City: Apparently New York, given the drawing of what looks like the Brooklyn Bridge. In any case, the alienization of life in the big city, and particularly the hostility of the big city to nature and animals, is a comic theme.
  • Comically Missing the Point: A voice from God tells Harry to change his life, quit his archaic profession, and get a job fit for the modern world. So he sells his sheep, throws his shepherd's crook into the river, takes a correspondence course, and becomes...a blacksmith. The last scene has Harry shoeing five horses in his apartment, as the cranky lady downstairs hammers on her ceiling harder than ever.
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  • Deliberately Monochrome: Done in black-and-white. Even low-budget independent animation of this era was usually in color.
  • Fan Disservice: The cranky fat lady downstairs, continually hammering on her ceiling with a broomstick, is quite fat and is clad only in a slip.
  • Fish out of Water: Harry, a shepherd trying to keep five sheep in New York. When they try to cross the street a river of cars whooshes by and sheep fly up in the air. When they try to get on a subway car, a river of people whooshes in the car and Harry and the sheep are left outside.
  • Limited Animation: Simple hand-drawn animation against cut out backgrounds.
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