Chilly Willy's best cartoons were perfect examples of how a potentially one-joke character and concept could end up actually being a perfect mix of the cute and the funny with a lot of colour and good comic timing to go with it.
There are better Chilly Willy cartoons out there than 'A Chilly Reception', will always go on about how the Tex Avery cartoons are hard to beat. Regardless, 'A Chilly Reception' is hardly a bad cartoon at all, not great but decent and a decent enough representation of how well Chilly and Smedley (not credited as him here and a couple of other places but he looks like him, acts like him and sounds like him) work together. Certainly an improvement on the previous two Chilly Willy cartoons (which were still above average, just), being not as repetitive and Smedley makes a more than welcome return here.
Like many Chilly Willy cartoons, the story is not a particularly great one. It's rather thin and even for a cartoon following a formula it's rather predictable. The cartoons have been criticised for having stories that are basically a string of gags revolving around a formulaic in structure story, and this was something that became more apparent from around the 1956 cartoons onwards (although the cartoons still managed to entertain regardless).
The start of 'A Chilly Reception' is just set up and needed more of a kick, which is what the cartoon gets once Chilly is introduced.
However, 'A Chilly Reception' has a lot to like. The animation does have a lot of luscious colours and handsome backgrounds, Chilly and Smedley also well drawn and the setting has a nice atmosphere that suits the formula well. The music is full of lively bounce and character, with luscious orchestration. It not only adds to the action and visuals but enhances them too.
Enough of the gags do amuse, lifted by the sparkling chemistry between Chilly and Smedley, and it is always remarkable at what Chilly has up his sleeve and how he does it. Underneath all that irresistible cuteness he is one clever, funny and at times fairly brutal penguin.
Chilly is adorable and is also a lot of fun, with his actions speaking far louder than words. He may be a nuisance to his opponents but he wins the viewer over with his cuteness and timing. Daws Butler (in his distinctive Huckleberry Hound voice) delivers some solid voice acting as Smedley, the slightly funnier and more interesting character after seeing a couple of cartoons where Chilly had a stronger personality than his opponent.
All in all, pretty decent cartoon and hardly deserving of a chilly reception. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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