Thursday, March 23, 2006

Jot the Dot

There was a wonderful post this week over at Cartoon Brew about "Jot the Dot", a cartoon series produced by the Southern Baptist's Radio and Television Commission and which first aired in 1963. The Southern Baptists decided they needed some kids' programming to compete with the Lutheran's "Davey and Goliath", and the surprising result were these gems of modernist design. I've heard "Jot" compared to shorts done at UPA, but I think they have a sensibility all their own.

I first saw "Jot" when I was a kid, probably on channel 38 in Chicago (a religious UHF channel.) I had deeply mixed feelings about them; the design and animation are so engaging that I was always drawn in, but the moral lessons felt stiflingly heavy-handed. (For instance, when Jot's mother in the NoMam short defines 'abdomination' as God's 'dislike', well, I admit to some violent wincing.) Nevertheless, seeing them again after all these years is a treat.
Check out how fluidly the story is told here using a minimum of dialog:

I'd like to thank Nate Pacheco for finding and posting these. It'd be nice to see them collected on DVD in a nice clean print.

I just checked the user comments for "Jot" at IMDB. They're pretty hilarious, particularly one that describes Jot as an "unsettling christian cartoon in which all the children were glowing "dot"s that were trapped in a playground of eternal night." Pass the dutchie, muh man!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

you mentioned something about
the Jot cartoons; I too recall
this particular little cartoon
growing up in the late 1960s-
there used to be a website
about Jot telling about the
beginnings of the character
and they offered the series on
both VHS and DVD-but the
website has since been taken down.

9:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All 30 episodes can be found on VHS at

2:15 PM  

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