Thursday, August 29, 2013

Ancient DiC: Watch a "Cro et Bronto" Episode Online!

Remember Cro and Bronto? The caveman and dinosaur starring in one of DiC's first series, which I wrote about back in February of 2012? Back then, I had just found out that DiC's mini-series Cro et Bronto (1980) was one of the very first series that Gadget co-creator Bruno Bianchi directed. Co-directed, that is, as Bianchi shared the director's credit with Edouard David, later one of the principal character designers (alongside Bianchi) on Inspector Gadget. My curiosity was instantly piqued when hearing about this pre-Gadget work by Bianchi and David, but there was one problem... it was simply impossible to see. I couldn't track down any episodes online, not even a clip. Nor could I find a trace of information about VHSes or any other commercial releases of the series (probably because there are none). "Cro et Bronto" became one of the most unfindable cartoons I've ever tried to find on the World Wide Web.

Until a few months ago. This May, one episode of the series finally made it online. The French animation site Osibo News did a lenghty report on the history-of-DiC book "Les séries de notre enfance", and in the process posted several bonus videos featuring early DiC shows. Among these videos: the below "Cro et Bronto" installment! The video is terribly interlaced and the audio slightly out of sync, but no matter. Press the play button below to see this (literally) ancient DiC cartoon for yourself:

As great as it feels to finally get to see the series, though, I have to admit I'm not very impressed with it. It's so clearly inspired by Hollywood's classic chase cartoons of the 40s and 50s, and it so clearly pales in comparison to those great cartoons. The most obvious link is of course to Chuck Jones' Roadrunner cartoons: Like Wile E. Coyote, the small cro-magnon Cro lives to catch an animal; like the Roadrunner, Bronto the brontosaurus is the animal that never gets caught. And of course, this 1-minute-and-20-seconds-long cartoon manages to be more predictable than any entry in the Roadrunner series. Still, there were touches and details that I liked. The design is my favorite element, as it feels so distinctly French - very much in the vein of classic, French-Belgian comic strips. Cro in particular feels like he could have stepped right out of a series like Asterix or Iznogoud. And the absent-minded, naive personality of Bronto has a certain charm. Bronto's slow-paced, bumbling walk cycle is perhaps the best piece of animation seen in the episode.

One note about Bronto's personality: In my previous post about this series, I actually wrote that Bronto "...has a crush on Cro... and never realizes that Cro is out to hurt him". I've come to realize later on that the part about "crush" is not correct. I originally came to that conclusion because of French-written information from Planète Jeunesse - information that I translated through Google Translate and then interpreted on my own where the grammar and wording made things confusing. Couple that confusion with the below screenshot that I also found on Planète Jeunesse...

...and, well, you can hopefully see where I got things mixed up. The thing is, Bronto does love Cro - but he loves him like a dog loves his master, like an ever-loyal friend. I realized this when re-reading a post about the series on the blog Le Grenier de la télé, where it's mentioned specifically that "...Bronto, naïf à faire peur, adore Cro comme un chien aime son maître...". Or in English:"...Bronto, too naive to be afraid [of Cro], adores Cro like a dog loves his master..." So there you go. Makes about 100% more sense than my "crush", right? I'm still not sure why I found it logical in any way that the dinosaur Bronto would have a romantic crush on the caveman Cro... but as I recall, that February 2012 post was written very late at night...

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