Have been increasingly unsure what to make of "The Beary Family" cartoons as an overall series, whether to stand by my initial statement of for Walter Lantz Studios' final series it not being as bad as anticipated or judging from the awfulness of the worst cartoons to take it back. Sorry if this sounds confusing.
Due to that there are some decent or watchable "Beary Family" cartoons, especially 'Fowled-Up Birthday' and 'Mother's Little Helper' (both directed by Jack Hannah, who generally is a much stronger animation director than Paul J. Smith and his cartoons much better). However, there are also a fair share of horrible ones, as seen especially with as far as previous cartoons go 'Charlie's Mother-in-Law'. The last "Beary Family" cartoon 'Unlucky Potluck' is far from one of their worst, of their 28 cartoons while still a lacklustre cartoon it's in the better end.
'Unlucky Potluck' does have good things. One is the music, which is energetic and lushly orchestrated, succeeding in single-handedly giving the little energy the cartoon has. Really like the theme music. The other is Paul Frees' voice work, much more subtle here and he shows his ability to create a likable character with good comic timing, despite his lacking material and less than inspired situations there's something about Charlie that makes him easy to like and relate to. The boss character is pretty fun, but the best moments actually belong to Junior (being hit with the floorboard and strangling the boss parts), who is a half-wit but this is an example of good intentions being endearing for a character who has been very inconsistently characterised and sometimes adding nothing.
Bessie however is very annoying and her treatment of Charlie makes one dislike her even more. Grace Stafford actually had a lot of talent as a voice actress, only in 'Fowled-Up Birthday' has that come through with Bessie (mainly because that cartoon has been the one time where Bessie has actually been a sympathetic character in comparison).
Like many 60s-onward Lantz-studio cartoons, the animation is not good, a problem in even the best cartoons in the series. Time and budget constraints shows in a lot of the animation, which is very rushed looking in the drawing and detail wise it's on the simplistic and careless side with colours that lack vibrancy and a fair share of goofs. The story is not much of one at all and what there is is sloppily timed and without anything surprising or imaginative, predictability is non-stop (it is so obvious from as early on as the title and seeing other "Beary Family" cartoons that the situation is made a hash of). The ending can be seen from a long way off.
Generally, apart from a few good moments (two with Junior and the other being Bessie very early on being hit with the floorboard), too much of 'Unlucky Potluck' far too noisy, clumsily and lazily timed and chaotic, irritating for the sake of it, and are memorable for their lack of taste than their wit. Hannah's efforts had none of those faults when it came to the humour.
All in all, better than a lot of the cartoons in the series but lacking in a lot of areas. Not a particularly good cartoon to go out on. 4/10 Bethany Cox
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