As I watched the cartoon over and over and sketched the characters, someone else entered the coffee shop. It was my old pal Rice*, whom I hadn't seen in years.
"Rice?" I called out. "Hey, Rice!"
The barista probably thought I was odd already, and now I was calling an Asian customer "Rice."
"This is my old friend, Rice," I told Jon. "We went to art school together. Rice, this is my pal Jon. We..."
Well this was going to be hard to explain. We both have an insane interest in an obscure cartoon? He drove out of his way between family gatherings to let me see it? I asked Rice if he'd seen "the Sesame Street cartoon where cracks came to life". He hadn't.
"I'll explain later," I told him.
Soon it was time to go. Rice had a bus to catch, and Jon and I had plans in opposite directions. If you're reading this, thanks Jon!
Some details about the cartoon:Just added (May 19, 2012)
- It doesn't look like work from any big studio. I suspect it was either made by a small studio or an independent project, perhaps by a professional artist or cartoonist who dabbled in animation.
- It's narrated (and partially sang) by a woman with a sweet Blossom Dearie-like voice.
- The girl (whom I should have taken more time to sketch) is tall and pretty with a dark complexion. Her shirt (sweater?) is light pink, her pants dark green. Her feet are tiny. When she returns to her room she walks backward. Was this a whimsical touch? Or was the creator trying to save money by filming the walk cycle backwards?
- The Camel Crack looks like a young child's drawing, with a semicircle for a body, a simple head/neck combo and long stick legs. He could easily have been Crack Turtle, Crack Horse, or Crack Brontosaurus. Crack Monkey and Crack Hen, while still line drawings, are more realistic.
- Crack Master (the real one, not my reinterpretation) looks a lot like real cracks when he first appears. It wouldn't surprise me if he was based on actual cracks that the artist saw, who then thought Ya know, if I put eyes there and made that part his mouth...
- Will it be seen again? Whomever gave it to Jon doesn't want it seen (we don't know why.) There's little chance he/she/they will post it themselves. Then again, my friend Sally, who's done animation for Sesame Street, says "The Street" buys the rights to show the cartoons, so they might have the final say. Maybe, just maybe, we'll see it someday in an official Sesame Street "Old School" dvd.
A reader asked me what the other characters looked like, so I added this sketch. They're not exact duplicates, but this is more or less what the Girl, Camel Crack, Crack Monkey and Crack Hen look like.
*That's really what he calls himself.