The Retro TV Times: Land of the Lost Jewels (1950)

Directors: Izzy Sparber, Myron Waldman

Writers: Isabel Manning Hewson, Bill Turner, Larry Riley

Stars: Gwen Davies, Jack Mercer, Jackson Beck

RATING: 3.5 Stars

Two children are fishing when they catch a talking fish named Red Lantern. He takes them underwater with him to the Land of the Lost, where missing items can be found again. They meet King Find All, a walrus, and a singing cricket (Hoppy-Go-Lucky) that used to be the girl’s pin. He’s deemed to be a special jewel (since he’s made of emerald) and is brought to the jewel storage room, despite his wishes to be in the Land of the Toys. He runs away from Queen Tiara’s guards, but is caught, and when they test him for authenticity they find he is only a fake diamond, after which he is allowed to live in the Land of the Toys after all. The children return to the surface and say goodbye to Red Lantern. – From IMDB

This was completely charming. That is the reason I love doing my deep dives into Retro TV and films. Sometimes you find something that is so unexpected, that you have never heard of before. And this little animated short is definitely one of those. It also seems to be one of those kids cartoon projects that can’t decide how dark it wants to go. And I love that as an adult because it gives us something to think about and pay attention to that kids may not pick up on.

See the source image

The animation style here is beautiful, and I don’t know if I am just saying this because the animation I watched before this was from 1930, and therefore VERY rudimentary, but it seems quite advanced for 1950. Almost up to Disney standard for the time. The visual gags were excellent, especially the ones in the Jewel Vault. And the talking animals and nonsense way of talking only in rhyme and having rules that don’t really make sense, give the whole thing a bit of an Alice in Wonderland type vibe. If Alice had only been about 8 minutes long.

The plot is a little predictable in terms of it’s outcome, but very imaginative otherwise. I haven’t seen anything like this for a long time, it really had the feel of a classic children’s animated story. The version I saw was in pretty bad nick though. A lot of static lines and bits of dialogue that were jumpy. Which is a shame because I enjoyed this thoroughly otherwise.

It’s available to find online fairly easily via Search Engines, I watched ,mine on YouTube, but like I said, the quality was pretty bad. I would highly recommend people who love retro animation, and classic children’s films to check this one out. What a hidden Gem.

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