Tulsa TV Memories: Tulsa TV/radio/movies/pop culture of the past      

Clutch Cargo page

Clutch CargoThe Bozo Show on KTUL (with Doug Montgomery as Bozo the Clown), featured the 1959 limited animation sensation, "Clutch Cargo".

Clutch Cargo (IMDb) was given a big build-up before he arrived in Tulsa on our local version of the Bozo Show. "Watch for Clutch Cargo", "Clutch Cargo is coming"...we didn't know who or what they were talking about.

Of course, faithful Bozo fans would watch whatever was put on the screen, and Clutch was no exception. Clutch Cargo proved to be an adventurous writer and pilot, who invariably got into hot water with his (ward?) Spinner, his dog Paddlefoot, and their pal, Swampy, voiced by Hal Smith, soon to become "Otis", the Mayberry town drunk. Paddlefoot, Spinner and all other female/child/animal voices were provided by Margaret Kerry, who was also the physical model for Disney's "Tinker Bell"  (not Marilyn Monroe, as urban legend would have it). Clutch was voiced by radio actor Richard Cotting.

The animation was the simplest possible, except for the lips, which were eerily life-like. This was due to the Synchro-Vox™ system, which used human lips with lipstick and makeup added to match the cartoon colors. Conan O'Brien is the most notable employer of this method today.

Original Clutch Cargo pinOriginal Clutch Cargo pinThe theme and background music were rendered by a spare flute and bongos (elements of the second season "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." music as well.)

Flute was also a prominent voice in the music of the similarly-premised animated series of the mid-60s, "Jonny Quest". (In retrospect, Dr. Benton Quest and Clutch should have been up on multiple counts of reckless endangerment. Bruce Wayne, too.)

The flutist was Paul Horn, a noted jazz musician, who later recorded atmospheric meditation albums inside the Taj Mahal and the Great Pyramid. I've listened to these albums. No wonder the Clutch Cargo music was so good!

As a charter member of Clutch's Adventure Club, I possessed a secret decoder. Messages given at the end of the show were clues to the plot of upcoming shows (5 per storyline). Decoded, they were almost as baffling; the thrill came from the decoding process itself.

Clutch got me going on secret codes and ciphers. A 1962 Scholastic book, Codes & Secret Writing, by Herbert S. Zim was my main source.


Codes & Secret Writing

Clutch Cargo Adventure Club Certificate
My club membership kit included this certificate, membership card, pin, sticker, and secret decoder.

For a RealVideo of Clutch in "action", check out this Toon Tracker page, or the New! YouTube clips below:

Clutch Cargo opening

Clutch Cargo "Whassup?" spoof. Good!

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