488. Quasi at the Quackadero – Sally Cruikshank

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SUMMARY: Two humanoid ducks, Quasi and Anita, and pet robot Rollo attend the Quackadero, a Coney Island style sideshow filled with mindbending attractions.

WHY IT’S HERE: A tremendously bonkers cartoon short that achieved huge cult status in the 70s, Sally Cruikshank’s ‘Quasi at the Quackadero’ is a surrealist gem that is impossible to absorb in one sitting. Following two ducks and a robot as they visit a strange carnival where the attractions are all psychologically nightmarish propositions, ‘Quasi at the Quackadero’ is both of its era and not of this world! Taking influences from the underground comics scene, the film could be called ‘trippy’ (an adjective which almost guarantees a cult following) but ‘Quasi at the Quackadero’ is far too carefully considered and brilliantly animated to have been made under the influence of drugs. Its uninviting world is like nothing ever put on film before and while on paper it may seem to invite comparisons with Fleischer brothers cartoons or Bob Clampett’s ‘Porky in Wackyland’, ‘Quasi at the Quackadero’ actually carves out a niche all of its own, which demands to be seen and reseen. The appeal may take several screenings to fully seep through but the level of intrigue it inspires is enough to make those repeat viewings almost inevitable. Cruikshank would go on to make several successful animations for ‘Sesame Street’ and for movie title sequences, from which her style will be familiar to most. But with its unsympathetic characters, abstruse humour and mild sexual content, ‘Quasi at the Quackadero’ is a completely different beast from these commercial endeavours.

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