Saturday, May 29, 2021


First logo (May-December 2016)

Hello there. There is a question you often hear in interviews where the answer is always going to be “no.” “Did you think that when you started Leigh Spence is Dancing with the Gatekeepers on 30
th May 2016, that you would still be doing it five years later?” “Yes, yes I did, I always knew that I could write articles about various aspects of popular culture, philosophy and the news, then deliver them weekly for that that entire time without a break. That outcome was baked in from the start.”

Of course, I never planned it, but I’m glad it happened. I began this site to keep my mind working, learn more about different subjects, and build confidence in putting my name out there. I was inspired by the Three Minute Thesis competition, begun by the University of Queensland, which challenges PhD students to present their research in only three minutes, to an audience with no specialty in their subject. Trying to explain a complex subject in an engaging manner is a brilliant way to develop your communication skills, so I deliberately put myself in a position to make myself do this over and over again, refining my approach and style as I go. I originally set myself a five-hundred-word limit, which would take about three minutes to read, and if anyone else happened to read what I wrote, then that was good – and if they found it entertaining, better still.


I certainly did not expect to arrive here, at my three hundredth article, having reached over 196,000 views so far, with another sixteen thousand for the “Gatekeepers” videos posted to YouTube. I can only assume that my plan must be working, especially as that word limit was abandoned a long time ago! To anyone that has read or watched my work over the last five years, thank you for your time.


The question is, what have I learned in that time? What lessons from five years of nostalgia culture crisis will I take into the next five, provided I get that far?


Second logo (January 2017 to May 2017)



I am happy I have never restricted my choice of subjects. I may like to find out new things, especially about how ideas, machines and personalities are constructed, but there is a difference between a hobby, and your natural state of being. I cannot imagine a version of me that is simply contented with things being as they are – I would want to know why that was the case.


Therefore, my top ten most read and viewed works here, combining views on my website and YouTube, is as varied a list as I could have hoped for, and I am happy with what has appeared. Some weeks may feel like I’m throwing spaghetti against a wall to find a subject, but it is amazing to see what sticks.


1. Why BBC Radio had no news to broadcast on Good Friday 1930 (#88 I’m Just Second Hand News, written version posted 29/12/2017, video 24/02/2020)


2. My January 2020 walk around the doomed Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre (#217 An Elephant Never Forgets, video posted 15/01/2020)


3. The shipwrecked ocean liner SS American Star, formerly America and Australis (#76 Just a Dream and the Wind to Carry Me, written version posted 06/10/2017, video 26/12/2019)


4. Looking around The Bridge Shopping Centre, Portsmouth in 2019 (I’m Giving Up on Trying to Sell You Things That You Ain’t Buying, video posted 13/10/2019) 


5. How “CheapShow” is the “Goon Show” of podcasts (#234 Welcome to the Cheap Seats, posted 03/05/2020)


6. A list of interesting facts about Jeremy Beadle, who built a library onto his house (#26 Watch Out, Beadle’s About, posted 11/11/2016)


7. The HP-12C financial calculator, which no-one has stopped buying since 1981 (#200, I Am Adding and Subtracting, I’m Controlling and Composing, video posted 29/09/2019)


8. the battle to grow blue roses (#78 I’ll Pick a Rose for My Rose, written article posted 20/10/2017, video 25/05/2020)


9. The ornate pleasure dome that is The Trafford Centre, Manchester (#192, Plastic Palace People Sing Silent Songs, written version posted 11/08/2019, video 22/03/2020)


10. The ridiculous Sports Direct Giant Calculator (#208 Everyone Seems to Know the Score, video posted 24/11/2019)


Is there anything I wish was on the list? Not really, as writing about a particular subject never means I am then done with it. However, if you read what I am calling “The Myra Breckinridge Trilogy” - #149 Come Outside (Shove It) (03/02/2019), #150 I Wouldn’t Tell You Where to Go (10/02/2019), #204 Mama I’m Sure Hard to Handle (27/10/2019) – suggests I am not done with that film yet.


Third logo (May 2017 to April 2018)


In hindsight, I find it funny that I started this series by picking apart why The Beatles are called “The Beatles,” but it set the tone I wanted. The intention was to point out that, while the true inspiration came from Buddy Holly and the Crickets, and the name of Marlon Brando’s motorcycle gang in the 1953 film “The Wild One,” the “official” origin is instead a man coming to John Lennon in a dream, riding a flaming pie, declaring the name of his band will be “The Beatles” with an “a.” It turned out that Yoko Ono pushed for this version, a flippant answer once given by Lennon to a journalist, to be the origin of the band’s name as given in “The Beatles Anthology,” with Sir Paul McCartney admitting, “There are still a lot of things we have to fudge because of compromise. If we don't all agree on a story, somebody has to give in.”


Well, I dreamt that I had recorded an album titled “Leigh Spence is Dancing with the Gatekeepers,” and one song on this album will feature me repeatedly singing “all we have are words” – I’m guessing I was incandescent, either in the dream or earlier that day, about being told what to think, by someone who claimed they had all the answers. I will write that song eventually, but after having to reject any comparison I could have made with The Beatles’ flaming pie, I concluded that “Gatekeepers,” as a series, will “be more about me trying to make sense of an issue, why I think the way I do, or why I am expected to think something, rather than coming to a decision. Ultimately, I want this to be a fun exploration of the stories we tell ourselves.” Keeping this in mind would, hopefully, prevent me from being seen as a “gatekeeper” myself.


So, the angle and tone for my writing was set by The Beatles. It was at this point I decided to use song lyrics as titles for my work, as a kind of primitive search engine optimisation, although that first title came from David Bowie’s “Word on a Wing”: “Ready to Shape the Scheme of Things.”


I did talk again about The Beatles, except to explore how multi-track recording meant John Lennon didn’t have to play his harmonica anymore.


Fourth logo (April 2018 to May 2021)




When I began “Gatekeepers,” Barack Obama was still President of the United States, David Cameron was still Prime Minister, the Brexit vote was a few weeks away, and Donald Trump was an also-ran… and then, 51.9% of 72.2% of the British electorate voted to leave the European Union. I don’t give the figures like that to question the legitimacy of the vote, more to point out that the single issue that has dominated British politics, and social life, ever since, was decided in a process where over a quarter of people who were entitled to have their say said nothing at all. I personally believe voting in elections and referendums should be mandatory, so the winner knows they have to answer to their entire electorate.


I consider my political position to be slightly left of the middle – many would consider me to the “right” of them, and many more would consider me to be the “left” of them. As a result, I have never found talking about the “Right” and the “Left” to be overly helpful. The last five years pushed politics and people to extremes of opinion and thought, whether that be Labour and Conservative, or Democrat and Republican, and I am left in the middle thinking, “what happened?” 


I never feel I need to talk about my own politics, but I feel I have become more informed about what mine is. I just wished that politics could become the background to general life again, instead of carrying the tune.



I began 2021 by writing several articles about how postmodernism, a branch of arts and philosophy deeply rooted in the 1980s and 1990s, still influences public discourse today. Most notably, the route normally taken is to think that, just because Jacques Derrida deconstructed texts to look at meaning and motive, reality itself must therefore be relative, and you can do and say anything you want. Even worse, deciding you can say what you want, because you know it ultimately doesn’t matter, is dangerous. 


No wonder I spent four out of the last five years excoriating Donald Trump. Originally just someone who needed people to explain what he is trying to say, the alternate reality Trump’s words created became so dangerous to the security of his own country that he had to be banned from Twitter. Now a relic of his own era, Trump had to start a website to continue issuing his own statements – anyone can do that (I said, living in a country where a right-wing newspaper columnist became Prime Minister). 


Imagine putting ideology over life. Imagine being so strident with your language that it killed people.


Fifth logo (from May 2021)



Words can only take you so far. That is why I started making videos as well. 


When making a trailer for my YouTube channel I ended it by saying, as a joke, “That’s Leigh Spence is Dancing with the Gatekeepers, the longest name in culture.” The truth is, if I knew this would turn into an ongoing project, I would have chosen a shorter name, no matter how evocative “Dancing with the Gatekeepers” is – I once had to tell someone, “It’s not an affirmation, it’s a website.”


Therefore, I am changing things a bit. The new name for this series is “Leigh Spence,” subtitled “dancing with the gatekeepers since 2016” – there will still be “nostalgia culture crisis” in the mix, but that can be taken as read by. The new address for all my work will be


I also have a degree in film studies, but YouTube opened the year after I graduated - I wish I had been in on the ground floor of that in 2005, but streaming video never mixed well with dial-up internet. Now that I can fit a video camera approaching TV broadcast quality into my pocket, allowing me to use it like I would a pen, there is simply no excuse to take the leap I need… said someone who made a video questioning if videos need pictures, and presented my thoughts on Ikea plastic plants in 2.39:1 Cinemascope.


From now, video will be my focus. I will still post my scripts to read, but they will have been made as videos first. Separate written articles will still appear on occasion.


What has cemented this decision is that top ten list. Three of the “articles” were made as videos first, and my walk around the Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre, a fifteen-minute video with no voiceover, constructed entirely through editing pictures and captions, is exactly what I should pursue more. That this video is also the second most-viewed “article” of the series makes that decision extremely easy.


For this reason, I may not post something new every week – you tend not to be in pre- or post-production on a written article. I also need to work around a full-time job until something causes that to change, like a lottery win. However, more time will produce, I hope, even better work.


In short, I owe the confidence I have to the work I have done, and I am the person I am due to that confidence.


After five years, and three hundred articles… I think I’ll give myself the week off.

Sunday, May 23, 2021


I set out to choose a film at random from Netflix – knowing I needed to write something, I started watching “Delirious” within three minutes of arriving home from a walk. I didn’t expect to choose a film where the premise is based on the lead character being a writer, and the script coming from writers with careers rooted firmly in comedy. Lawrence J. Cohen & Fred Freeman wrote the disaster film parody “The Big Bus,” and the twin-swapping comedy “Start the Revolution Without Me,” but their career is founded on their work in television sitcoms like “Gilligan’s Island”, “The Andy Griffith Show” and “Bewitched.”

“Delirious” stars John Candy as a soap opera writer, caught in a very high-concept Hollywood film-type situation: after hitting his head on his car boot lid, he wakes up inside his own creation. He wrote the show’s “bible,” setting out upcoming storylines, so he knows what will happen. He is secretly in love with the real-life star of the show, and is now in a position to do something about it. A character he could not get into the show suddenly turns up. If he is caught in a situation he doesn’t like, he can literally write himself out of it, using his magic MacGuffin of a typewriter, which was packed into his car. So far, so much a power fantasy – to save a character’s life, he writes that he can ride a horse, swapping it later for a Ferrari.

The real world apparently still has an impact – executive meddling creates an alternate version of Candy, played by Robert Wagner who, not knowing he is Robert Wagner, asks Candy why he is impersonating him. Other characters change, and Candy tries to type them back into shape. Out of frustration, he breaks his MacGuffin, meaning he has to use his smarts instead…

This is the mechanism of a “Truman Show”-like plot that has a US soap opera story slathered over the top – all people with vendetta, secret formulas and eye patches. I thought the object of Candy’s desires was meant to be a parody of Alexis Carrington, the “Dynasty” character played by Joan Collins, and then I found that Emma Samms, the actress playing the parody, played a Carrington as well. 

What is also vague is how, when Candy wakes up, he can apply what he learnt in his dream state: he uses the Heimlich manoeuvre, he punches the writer changing his plot, and he finds the actress that should be in his show based hearing, in a deli restaurant replicated in his dream, the same order she made in that dream, and the resulting disdain from the deli owner – there is no basis for this, other than an incredible coincidence.

Having come across “Delirious” at random, would I recommend it to anyone else? If you like John Candy, you get John Candy playing the John Candy role: someone seemingly happier and more successful in life than others think he should be – see “King Ralph” and “Uncle Buck” for further details. However, for a film where he can get the girl by writing on his magic typewriter, there might be a little too much fantasy for some.

Sunday, May 16, 2021


On Wednesday 12th May 2021, I had my first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. For the record, it was the Pfizer one, but all currently in use have been deemed safe and effective. Naturally, I hope that everyone that is offered one will take it, for the long-term benefits of vaccination against a deadly disease sure do outweigh the couple of days of discomfort immediately following it. Think of it like taking a holiday, for that is when most people are likely to need some sort of injection – no-one wants to contract yellow fever on their two-week break in Thailand. 

In taking a COVID-19 vaccine, the attitude I am taking is that I want a holiday from history: I want there to be a time when life calms down, we can breathe out, and we can enjoy a new normality for a while. 


I picked up this term from “The 90s: A Holiday from History,” an episode of BBC Radio 4’s “Archive on 4” broadcast in 2017. Written and presented by Jonathan Freedland, the programme looks at how the 1990s is recalled as a relative period of calm: the Cold War ended, apartheid ended in South Africa, peace was achieved in Northern Ireland, and the news was dominated by the OJ Simpson trial, royal divorce and Britpop. However, the forces that formed the following decades was formed in the 1990s: the anti-European Union stance in British politics that led to Brexit; the rise of Russia and China, leading to, well, leaders like Donald Trump; and the rise of the internet as an appliance to which everything is now attached, relying on its survival.


“Holiday from history” also evokes the title of a book that has been considered a postmodern text: “The End of History and the Last Man,” by Francis Fukuyama, which argued in 1992 that prevailing of liberal democracy at the end of the Cold War indicated that a major line of progression in human history had ended, having arrived at the final accepted form of governance. Despite the provocative title, the hypothesis is that events will continue to occur following the end of history, but the evolutionary process that makes history will have ended.


Fukuyama’s argument has been constantly challenged following those events, not least by the 2001 New York terrorist attack, the resurgence of Russia and China, and the perceived political decay, leading to crony capitalism and civil decay. Indeed, in 2017 Fukuyama was telling “The Washington Post” of his fears of liberal democracy going backward following the election of Donald Trump.


What I hope is that, with the 1990s having been my formative years, the 2020s might eventually afford us all a similar break to gather ourselves. If we didn’t reach the end of history, there is the feeling that the COVID-19 pandemic has either ended or begun a chapter, one that affords us some time to think.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021


A man, concealing a film camera, meets a prostitute, and follows her inside. As she undresses, the man, through our view of his camera, advances on the girl, and the girl screams. The view cuts to a view of a film projector, playing what we have just seen on the screen, as the credits for the film we are watching, “Peeping Tom,” plays over them. The musical theme, on a piano, almost accompanies the silent film being played back before us. As the prostitute is advanced upon, the viewer stands up and, as our view is filled with the scream, the man sits back down again. Our view cuts back to the projector, and the caption, “Directed by Michael Powell.”

“Peeping Tom” was released in 1960, and immediately invited comparisons with Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho,” which was released at the same time. However, while Hitchcock reaped the benefits of the new approach to his usual themes, Powell was perceived to have ventured so far into a more “sleazy” territory that it destroyed his career in the UK, his remaining films short overseas.

However, Michael Powell, particularly in partnership with Emeric Pressburger, was well-known for having produced and directed films that are among the best ever produced in the UK: “The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp,” “A Matter of Life and Death,” “The Red Shoes” and “Black Narcissus.” Their films have a psychological intensity displayed through character and use of colour, and the obsession of the murderer in “Peeping Tom” is also seen in “The Red Shoes.” 

In “Peeping Tom,” the murderer, always seen with his camera, gives the excuse that he is making a documentary. Like his father, a biologist that always took pictures and films of his son, to see what reaction he would make, the son wants to capture the perfect moment of human fear, which he obtains through the building of a situation, through lighting as much as through menace, and through the use of a knife, concealed in a tripod, a very phallic symbol when used. In one moment of despair, he realises he has to kill again because the lighting on a previous conquest was all wrong.

For the more reserved British public of 1960, this was all too much, and may be strong stuff for some people now. Just like many characters in Hitchcock’s films, we are all voyeurs when watching a film, and even if the subject consented to the filmed, there is always an element of having given something away. To have this presented so baldly in “Peeping Tom” is an acknowledgement, by Powell, of what being a filmmaker is about – the glimpse we see of the murderer’s father, in old film footage, is Powell himself.

Thankfully, the reputation of “Peeping Tom,” and of Powell, was rehabilitated by the same film critics that hailed Hitchcock as an auteur, and Powell and Pressburger were given BAFTA fellowships in 1981. In “Peeping Tom,” a film that has almost no blood, no swearing, and no penetration, the unease it creates in its audience means it is the most horrifying film I have seen in the last month – if only those that saw it had taken it was well as they had with “Psycho.”

Sunday, May 9, 2021



When I wrote about the forgotten television sitcom “The New Monkees” [link], the only video I could find of the show was an off-air home recording of the first episode from its only broadcast in 1987. While I had a good idea of what I was seeing, the soft picture of the VHS (or Betamax) recording provided only an impression of the original show.

Since then, all thirteen episodes of the series have now been posted to YouTube, and while the picture quality has not improved, then I can hear it better. I came across this news after seeing the front page of the Lost Media Wiki, dedicated to the unearthing of “lost media,” a term that appears to mean something different to the internet than it does to myself.


While “The New Monkees” is a show not much remarked upon, and usually only as a failed reboot of a more popular show when a remark is made, I never thought it was lost. Yes, it was unavailable to buy, download or rent, and the soundtrack album has been out of print for years, but that is different from saying that the master tapes have been destroyed, or that no copies of the show are known to exist. This scenario remains the case for much of William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton’s runs as stars of “Doctor Who,” when expensive quadruplex videotape was reused when the original recording had come to the end of its useful life, the home video market having not yet been envisaged.


"The New Monkees"

The vast resource that has been built of online content inevitably leaves gaps due to previous archiving decisions, but it does not mean that works should be considered “lost” until they are made available online. My local newspaper’s archive is not online, but I can go to a library, like any researcher could. The online realm is only one resource of many, not the end destination.


The Lost Media Wiki’s “About Us” section describes themselves as a passion project to track down media that is “hard to find,” encouraging “connoisseurs of obscure media” to join in. This is not so much like tracking down hitherto unknown copies of lost “Doctor Who” episodes in a TV station in Sierra Leone, and more like tracking down who owns the properties that informed the memories of your childhood. 


The thrill of the hunt is the appeal of the site, with famous examples of discoveries made by the site having started as creepypasta-like reminisces of disturbing clips from children’ TV shows, almost like a false memory was created in the viewer’s mind. “Clockman” began as an online reminiscence in 2012 about a creepy animation seen on the Nickelodeon pre-school show “Pinwheel,” which led to a process of tracking down producers of “Pinwheel,” companies that supplied animations to them, the successors in interest of those companies, and eventually the Czech producers of the 1976 animated short “O parádivé Sally” (“About Dressy Sally”), which had been dubbed into English. Similarly, “Cracks,” about a child imagining the beings and faces formed by the cracks in a wall, led to a trawl through the groups that made the short animations for the Children’s Television Workshop, based on the memory of it being shown on “Sesame Street.” In both cases, once the case was solved, it was on to the next case.


Tuesday, May 4, 2021


"French Kissin,” more often remembered as “French Kissin in the USA,” was the main single from Debbie Harry’s 1986 album “Rockbird,” made while the band Blondie was on hold. It was a success in the US, and Harry’s only top ten single in the UK. 

However, while the song is good, it is not the main reason it is likely to be remembered these days, because the person that wrote it has become very successful in his own right: he had been a touring singer-songwriter for years before Harry recorded one of his songs, and he had since said his songs made sure he was kept out of the limelight, before he turned to writing scripts for television.

Chuck Lorre’s first scripts were for animated shows, meaning that, as I grew up, I would have seen episodes he wrote of “Heathcliff & The Catillac Cats,” “Muppet Babies,” ”Fraggle Rock,” and “Beany and Cecil” – there are other shows, but I don’t think they reached the UK, or I don’t remember them at all. As these shows date from 1984 onwards, either Lorre continued with songwriting without much success, or “French Kissin” was a few years old before Harry recorded it.

This then led to live-action sitcoms, with Lorre on the writing teams for “My Two Dads” and “Roseanne,” before he created his own, “Frannie’s Turn,” which only lasted for 6 episodes in 1992. However, this led to “Cybill,” “Grace Under Fire,” “Dharma & Greg,” “Two and a Half Men,” “Mike & Molly” and “The Big Bang Theory.” 

These are all shows that have their charms but, especially when Channel 4 or ITV 2 screen episodes of them two or more in a row, they start to feel too much like stereotypical American sitcoms: with at least twenty-two episodes to be made each year, and with ten minutes in every half-hour swallowed by commercials, the plots, characters and jokes can become forced: forced to fit the time left, and forced to make their points quickly, with no breathing space. Chuck Lorre clearly knows the formula to producing a successful TV show, but successful TV show must also hide its workings. Also, I have never found the character or Sheldon Cooper funny, or relatable, and I never will.

“French Kissin” is the only Chuck Lorre composition to have scored in the charts, but it is not his only successful effort in music. With Dennis Challen Brown, Lorre wrote the incidental music, and the horrendously catchy theme song, for the original animated series of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” – “heroes in a half shell,” and so on. And, yes, the spoken parts were by Lorre, which include, “We’re really hip!” and “That's a fact, Jack!” When you also know that the co-writer of the music for “The Real Ghostbusters” and “Inspector Gadget” was Haim Saban, he of the “Power Rangers” franchise, it does appear that the way to make billions of dollars is to start writing music for children’s TV shows.

Sunday, May 2, 2021


[Above: The Dover Boys at Pimento University, or The Rivals of Roquefort Hall (1942), in the public domain.]

“But hold on, what’s this? It looks like an alert young scout. And that’s just what it is!”

The house style of the Warner Bros. “Merrie Melodies” and “Looney Tunes” cartoons took time to develop. By 1942, the director given the highest budgets, a certain Charles M. “Chuck” Jones, was asked if he could move his cartoons away from the style that had been cemented by Disney, and copied by everyone else. What they got was so different, Jones was nearly fired for it. By the end of the decade, it had changed the industry.

I wanted to start this by concentrating on how batshit crazy “The Dover Boys at Pimento University, or The Rivals of Roquefort Hall” is as a story, how unthinkingly stupid its characters are, and how much of a joy it was to come across it for the first time, but I needed to emphasise from the outset just how important it is in the history of animation – it is like enjoying listening to Jackie Wilson singing “Reet Petite,” then remembering that Berry Gordy, the song’s co-writer, used his royalties from Wilson’s recordings to launch what became Motown Records.

In 1942, American audiences would have got the joke of “The Dover Boys” immediately. It is a satire of “The Rover Boys,” a Boy’s Own-type adventure series set at a military school – one road from it leads to “The Hardy Boys” and “Nancy Drew,” and another to “The Famous Five” and “The Secret Seven.” Names are changed, from Tom, Sam and Dick to Tom, Dick and Larry; their collective girlfriend, Dora Standpipe, was Dora Stanhope; and the most Dickensian name goes to Dan Backslide, formerly Dan Baxter. The Victorian melodrama is played at the expense of the story: we have one-dimensional heroes, a one-dimensional enemy, and a damsel in distress, but from there, the film becomes an onslaught on your senses.

The Dover Boys themselves are introduced on bicycles, all at odd angles, while the narrator refrains from calling them jerks. Dan Backslide is literally green with envy (and probably nicotine), and has no indoor voice: “Confound those Dover Boys! They drive me to drink!” During a game of Hide and Seek, the boys hide across a park, and across the city, and when Backslide sees them, he announces, in a shout that continues to reduce me to laughter with how on the nose the line is, “Dora must be ALONE AND UNPROTECTED!” Even more, when Backslide sees a car, he announces, “a runabout. I’LL STEAL IT! NO-ONE WILL EVER KNOW!” What did I do to deserve the opportunity to laugh so much?!

This is before you even get to the visual gags: all dramatic poses are held in time until we go back to the characters, the Dover Boys punch themselves out in a triangle of fists, missing Dan Backslide, and Dora Standpipe is unnaturally strong, fulfilling her role in shouting “Help!” while throwing Backslide about, until he himself is crying for help – all the while, Dora could either break through the door she pounds on, or just unlock it. It is as if the story was left to replay for years, and now we have come back to it, it has glitched, or degraded, until only bits of it are left.

The animation is much more stylised here – it is more limited, and smear animation is often used between key poses, making for some brilliant freeze frame images. It may also be why, at approaching nine minutes, it is two minutes longer than an average Warner Bros. cartoon without any extra drawing. These techniques are more likely to be found in TV cartoons from Hanna-Barbera, and in cartoons from UPA like “Gerald McBoing-Boing,” and their Mr Magoo series, but it is generally acknowledged that, because Chuck Jones did it in “The Dover Boys,” everyone else could now follow. 

However, for 1942, this may have been too far away from Disney for Warner Bros and producer Leon Schlesinger – they refused to release the cartoon, and Jones was on the verge of being fired, especially when the kind of satire presented could be misconstrued as coming from someone that either didn’t care, or could be taking advantage of their situation by submitting deceptively low-standard work. But because there was a release schedule to keep, and the onset of World War II meant extra talent would be harder to find, everything had to stay where it was. In fact, “The Dover Boys” was one of the last cartoons not to be war-related for a while, as Jones went on to help with the “Private Snafu” shorts for the US army, and all animation companies made war-related cartoons for a few years.

Put simply, just watch “The Dover Boys,” for animation history is remade from here onwards. It was the first time Chuck Jones found one of his own cartoons to be funny, and when you consider what was attached to his name afterwards, that says an awful lot.