AN EMPIRE OF ONE

If you don't think everything's really weird, you're not paying attention.

Animated Films: “Kick Me” by Robert Swarthe

“Kick Me,” by Robert Swarthe, is an animated film made by drawing directly on celluloid. Most such films, as exemplified by Norman McLaren, are usually mostly abstract works, but this is a comedy with a central character.

“Kick Me” was apparently Swarthe’s only animated film or personal work, after which he has credits on a few Hollywood type films including Close Encounters of the Third Kind. However, his IMDB credits end in 1983, with Coppola’s The Outsiders, although he makes an appearance in a 2001 released doc on the making of Close Encounters. What happened to him?

Advertisements

Written by David Kilmer

January 26, 2012 at 10:54 am

9 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. David, My name is Robert Swarthe. I made “Kick Me” and for those who wonder what happened to me, let them know I still exist. I made other short animation and live action films before this. Most were included in the Tournee of Animation screenings of the 1960’s and 1970’s. My films were also distributed by Creative Film Society, The Little Red FIlmhouse and Coe Film Associates for many years. A few years ago I made a beautiful new DigiBeta video transfer & have thought about releasing a number of my short films on DVD which have never been available on video. I sincerely appreciate the kind comments of those animation fans who remembered “Kick Me.” The pirated copies available on the internet appear to originate from 16mm prints sold to Public Libraries around the world or from prints from the theatrical release of “The Fantastic Animation Festival. The CFS collection is now housed for studyy at the UCLA FIlm Archives. The Academy Film Archive has preserved “Kick Me” and one of my earlier short films, “The Unicycle Race” (which was also drawn directly on film — 70mm film). I’m writing an extensive article for the Academy Archive about the making of these films. I’m also threatening to make another short film in the near future. When it’s done, I’d like to release it on DVD along with my other short films.

    Robert Swarthe

    July 18, 2012 at 10:44 am

    • Mr. Swarthe, that is a very amazing cartoon, as I remember it well as a kid. Amazingly you had drawn that cartoon directly onto the film itself one image at a time, must’ve taken you months. Great job, especially the visual effect of the film melting just before that giant one-eyes spider was about to gobble up our legged hero. I’ve been curious to know the name of the songs that were played during the film. I aso remember the Unicylce race , as I saw it once on WLIW 21 as a filler for extra time. Glad to hear that your work is going to be released onto DVD. Can’t wait to buy it.

      john m

      September 15, 2012 at 10:51 am

    • I was one of those who saw “Kick Me” because it aired on some Pay TV channels like Nickelodeon in the early 80’s and the memory of the giant baseball and spider chasing after the omega-looking figure stayed in my head for years. I’ve heard of Coe Film Associates though I don’t suppose these companies exist in the digital age today where the distribution model has since changed greatly.

      I have yet to see “K-9000: A Space Oddity” but hope to see it someday (remembering seeing a listing for that in my public library’s film collection years back but they didn’t have the print anymore).

      Chris Sobieniak

      October 4, 2013 at 1:02 pm

      • Chris,

        K:9000 was put up on YouTube by Cedric Haboush, so you can see it there. I haven’t seen it there myself.

        Bob

        Robert Swarthe

        October 5, 2013 at 6:57 am

    • Dear Mr. Swarthe, I would love to speak with you about “KICK ME” and hope that I may contact you soon. It has always been one of my favorite drawn on film cartoons…I saw it on WNET New York a while back. Thank you in advance, if you want to talk about it!

      beimanimation

      January 11, 2014 at 9:07 am

      • Give me your phone number & I’ll call you. OK? Bob Swarthe

        Robert Swarthe

        January 15, 2014 at 12:55 pm

  2. Hi Robert,

    My name is Daniel Wilson and I created and maintain a website called The Lost Media Wiki, where we attempt to document and track down lost media of all kinds. One such piece we’re seeking is your 1964 film Uncle Walt; I would love to ask you a few questions about it if you have time.

    dycaite

    January 1, 2015 at 6:56 am

    • Send me your phone number & I’ll call you.

      Bob

      January 14, 2015 at 1:32 pm

      • I’m actually in Australia, though if you don’t mind making an overseas call, then by all means. My number is +61 432 410 998

        Cheers!

        dycaite

        January 14, 2015 at 11:09 pm


Comments are closed.