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.
As far as the Sid Marcus-directed Chilly Willy cartoons go, there are better ones such as 'Fractured Friendship' and especially 'Half Baked Alaska' (the latter being one of the most well-known Chilly Willy cartoons for a reason). There are also worse ones like 'Salmon Loafer' and in particular 'Pesky Pelican'. Chilly (the best Chilly Willy cartoon to me is 'The Legend of Rockabye Point') and Smedley have certainly done better than 'Operation Shanghai'. Both are great characters though and are always watchable together, and this is still a good cartoon and easily one of the better late 60s Chilly Willy cartoons.
The animation is scrappy and constantly looks like it was done in a rush, notably in the character design for the captain (also a bit of a bland character). The story is thin to the point of bare existence and occasionally repetitive, though has far sharper timing and variety than Paul J. Smith's 1966 efforts. Chilly's voice change (or so it appears to be) at the end, his singing voice being deeper than his speaking one, is a little jarring as well.
However, some of the colours are bright and lively. Walter Greene's music is lively and rousingly, cleverly and beautifully orchestrated and fits very well if not quite enhancing the action and occasionally a little too free. Love the opening title credits music.
All the gags are rarely less than amusing and beautifully timed, some of them even are hilarious even when violent at Smedley's expense. The chemistry between Chilly and Smedley sparkles, 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. Prefer him when silent but he still makes an impression even when speaking sparingly. He may be a nuisance to his opponents but he wins the viewer over with his cuteness and timing. Smedley shows perfectly why he and Chilly Willy work so well together, he has great comic timing with some very humorous lines and is marvellously voiced by Daws Butler in southern drawl Huckleberry Hound mode. The singing sections are a nice touch too.
Overall, not great but another cute and fun Chilly Willy cartoon. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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