The Advanced Art of Stop-Motion Animation: History of Stop-Motion Feature Films: Part 2
The Magic Roundabout was a French TV series by Serge Danot that gained great popularity in the late ’60s, even more so in the U.K. In 1970 a feature based on the series was released in France called Pollux et le Chat Bleu (with the English version, Dougal and the Blue Cat, released in the U.K. in 1972). Written and directed by Eric Johnson, the film tells about an evil blue cat named Buxton, who enters the ruins of an old treacle factory, crowns himself king, and unleashes an epidemic of blueness upon the land. It becomes up to Dougal and his friends from the Magic Garden to defeat Buxton’s plans and restore color to their world. The Magic Roundabout and its subsequent feature version had long since gained a reputation for its rumored underlying subtexts related to political, societal, and drug-related references. The epidemic of blueness was read as a metaphor for conservatism by some, and many people have mulled over the meaning behind scenes involving magic mushrooms and other hallucinatory images. Whether or not this was all intentional, Dougal and the Blue Cat is certainly a product of its time and is still enjoyable for its strangeness, surrealism, quirky animation, and appealing designs.
[Figure 1.12] Production still from Joseph the Dreamer. (© 1961, Yoram Gross Films.)