SUMMARY: A hip, animated think piece which takes place in the titular character’s head as he struggles to maintain his peronal ethics.
WHY IT’S HERE: Alex Lovy’s ‘Norman Normal’ is an exceptional little satire on business ethics and social behaviour. Produced by the new Warner Bros. department in the late 60s (long after the dreadful Speedy and Daffy series and lacklustre new characters such as Cool Cat had made Warner cartoons seem entirely past their best) as a “Cartoon Special”, ‘Norman Normal’ takes an entirely different approach as a hip animated think piece which ultimately takes place inside the titular character’s head. The amiable Norman must fight off unethical propositions from his boss, endorsements of conformity from his father, peer pressure from his acquaintances and the desperate search for approval by a man with a lamp on his head! A whole new contemporary attitude is apparent, especially in the scene in which Norman refuses to laugh at a joke about a minority group which seems like an apology for Warner’s decades of politically incorrect racial humour (although a year later Warner Bros. animation department would close down with a short called ‘Injun Trouble’!). The satire is sharp and funny and the modern atmosphere is enhanced by a catchy theme tune by Peter, Paul and Mary. It may have little in common with the golden era of Warner cartoons but ‘Norman Normal’ is a wonderful short and one of the few latter day Warner shorts that really works.