Cargo was a writer and pilot with a muscular build and rugged
good looks. He flew his plane to exotic locales around the
world that were fret with danger and perilous adventure.
Traveling with him was his young, freckle-faced ward Spinner
and his floppy-eared pet dachshund Paddlefoot. Also making the
occasional appearance was his grizzly-bearded pal Swampy.
Fondly remembered for its unusual
form of limited animation, several cost cutting measures were
incorporated into the production of the series. The patented
Syncro-Vox system, invented by cameraman Edwin Gillette for
"talking animal" commercials in the 1950s, was used to make
the characters appear to speak. This was done by filming the
lips of live human actors, then superimposing the footage over
the motionless drawings of the characters' faces. In order to
accommodate this style, both women and men had to wear bright
red lipstick to match the cartoon color.
There was little traditional
animation in the entire series. If characters were supposed to
run, or even move, the drawing would be shown from the waist
up. If additional motion was required, the camera, or even the
drawing itself, would shake. Real smoke was used for
explosions and cigarettes, and real balloons for chewing gum.
There were 52 Clutch Cargo
adventures. Serialized in five five-minute chapters, they made
up 26 half hour shows. The first four chapters ended in
cliff-hangers, with the fifth chapter wrapping up the