Quasi at the Quackadero
|Quasi at the Quackadero|
Still from 6:49 of "Quasi at the Quackadero", depicting Anita and Quasi at left
|Directed by||Sally Cruikshank|
Quasi at the Quackadero is a 1975 animated short by Sally Cruikshank. This cartoon follows two ducks and a pet robot at an amusement park in the future where time travel is exploited. In 2009, it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.
Animator Sally Cruikshank, while a graduate student at the San Francisco Art Institute, in San Francisco, California, created the animated short Chow Fun (1972), editing it at the city's Snazelle Films, a commercial-film company that also rented space and film equipment. This led to Cruikshank being hired there, and becoming head of animation by the end of summer 1972. While working at Snazelle, Cruikshank developed Quasi at the Quackadero, her best-known work.
Initially given working titles that included I Walked with a Duck, Hold That Quasi, and Quasi Quacks Up, the 10-minute, 35mm short, with 100 watercolor backgrounds and approximately 5,000 cels, took two years for Cruikshank to draw, followed by four months for photography and post-production. Cruikshank independently financed the $6,000 budget, which went primarily for cel painting, sound recording and lab and camera work. Underground cartoonist Kim Deitch, then Cruikshank's boyfriend, did much of the inking, using dip pen and rapidograph, with Kathryn Lenihan doing most of the cel painting.
The music, by Bob Armstrong and Al Dodge, of the Berkeley, California band the Cheap Suit Serenaders, used slide flute, xylophone, ukulele, duck call, boat whistle and bagpipe to create what Cruikshank called the "strange, gallopy feeling" of 1920s/1930s dance-band music, of which she is a devotee.
The short starred Quasi, characterized by one writer as "an infantile duck with buck front teeth, thick glasses and a red cape", voiced by Deitch; Anita, which one writer described as "Betty Boop with a New Wave wardrobe" and whose Mae West-like voice was supplied by Cruikshank, and robot Rollo. They progress through the Quackadero, a Coney Island-esque sideshow with such attractions as the Hall of Time Mirrors, which depict the viewer as he or she will look in "old age" or "100 years from now"; the Roll Back Time Machine, in which Quasi watches a skyscraper's life running backward; the Think-o-Blink Machine, which illustrates one's thoughts; the game show-like act "Your Shining Moment"; Madame Xano's, where the audience can see last night's dreams; and the Time Holes, in which one can lean on a railing and see a live slice of three million years ago unfold.
At the end, it is revealed that if you trip over the rail in the Time Hole attraction, you will fall into the Time Hole and never escape from the prehistoric land three million years ago. Quasi ends up running from a Triceratops.
Awards and honors
"Quasi at the Quackadero" won awards and was shown at the Los Angeles Film Exposition, and made its first theatrical booking at the Northside Theater in Berkeley, not far from Cruikshank's home at the time at 1890 Arch Street in that city.
It was voted #46 in the book The 50 Greatest Cartoons: As Selected by 1,000 Animation Professionals (Atlanta: Turner Publishing, 1994; ISBN 1-878685-49-X), edited by animation critic and historian Jerry Beck.
- Counts, Kyle. "The Short Life of Sally Cruikshank", Starlog Presents Comics Scene #7, January 1982, pp. 41-42
- Counts, p. 44
- Counts, p. 42
- Counts, p. 45
- Counts, p. 43-44
- "A letter from Jan. 18, 1981", Cruikshank blog, December 23, 2009
- "Quasi on Futurama" at Sally Cruikshank's official blog, November 11, 2008
- "Michael Jackson, the Muppets and Early Cinema Tapped for Preservation in 2009 Library of Congress National Film Registry", Library of Congress press release, December 30, 2009.