Film ID: NEFA 20723 Video of NEFA 20723 The Boy and the Song THE BOY AND THE SONG 1976 Visitor TabsDescription An animated film by the South Shields film maker Sheila Graber in which the boy and his cat feature in a set of adventures inspired by the lyrics of some well-known songs the boy sings. This film is a follow up to her earlier film entitled the Boy and the Cat. The film opens on the sound of footsteps and a blue coloured screen. The boy enters form the right of the frame and is wearing a smart black and white suit, that has short trousers and a bright red bow tie. He stops and faces the camera as the title appears to his left. Title: The Boy and the… At this point the white cat bounds into the picture and sits next to the boy. The cat wears a black bow tie. Title: The Boy and the Song The word ‘song’ appears as the boy begins to sing the song ‘Blow the Wind Southerly’. A wind starts to build up and the cat grabs the boys leg in order to stop himself being blown away. Eventually the boy still singing and the cat, still hanging on to the boy’s leg, are blown away. The boy grabs a lamp post and continues singing standing beneath the lamp, the nearby cat washes itself. The sky grows dark and then seawater rises and they are both engulfed by a large wave. The boy continues to sing as he is carried along by the water. The cat then appears paddling a raft made of logs, with a mast that is flying the Union Jack. The boy clambers onto the raft in the stormy sea, still singing his song. The cat, in close up, looks very happy. The boy, now sitting on the raft starts a new song ‘The Skye Boat Song’. A seagull flies down and tries to attack the boy. The cat armed with a stick and wearing a smart sailor hat, comes to the boy’s defence and chases off the gull. The cat salutes for the camera. The cat paddles the raft and the boy continues his song. The boys costume turning into highland dress complete with a tartan kilt. The wind blows off the boy’s hat, the boy hangs on to the raft, the cat hangs on the pole or paddle he has been using to guide the craft. Thunder and lightning add to the storm. The cat and the boy, now back in his original clothes, sail past rocks on the remnants of their craft, on the rocks puzzled seagulls look on. The boy and cat land on snow covered terrain, and the boy starts a new song ‘In the Bleak Midwinter’. He pulls on a coat, with a fur lined hood and continues his song. A break in the ice opens up and the cat tries to drink from the exposed water, but it’s frozen and the gap in the ice closes up again. An icicle hangs from the cat’s tongue. The boy carries on with his song as snow starts to fall. He pulls his hood over his head as the snow piles up around him. It piles up to his neck, but the cat comes to the rescue driving a plough on which the words ‘snow cat’ appear. With his machine the cat removes huge chunks of ice to get to the boy. The cat rescues the boy, who is by now still singing but encased, except for his head and hand, in a block of ice. The cat dumps the block of ice and the boy now free from the ice lands gently next to the lamp post seen earlier. In the pool of light from the lamp the boy then begins another song. ‘Just A Song at Twilight’. The light from the candle in the lamp diminishes, so the boy moves in order to stay within the lamps range. But the light flickers and gets brighter and darker, in line with lyrics of the song. Eventually the lamp goes out and the cat enters from the right of the frame hanging onto string which is attached to a balloon which looks like the moon. The balloon deflates and the cat lands in the boy’s arms. The cat produces a candelabra, which provides more light. The candles burn down and go out, but the ever resourceful cat strikes a match, but eventually it is extinguished and they are left in the dark, just as the boy finishes his song. The film ends with the sound of footsteps over the credits. Credits: ‘Sung by Brenda Orwin’ Credits: ‘Produced by Sheila Graber © 1976’ Context A cool cat and boy in a stormy duet Travel on a pitch purrfect mid-winter odyssey inspired by song with a cartoon boy and his devoted cat. A cartoon boy soprano and his affectionate cat weather the storms prompted by the wintry words of traditional Celtic and Northumbrian folk songs and a Christmas carol. Modelled on animator Sheila Graber’s nephew and pet cat muse Whitey, this duo’s child-friendly adventures are in a rich tradition of screen animation, saturated with feline fur and whiskers. One of the earliest amateur works by Sheila Graber, the action on this animation was synched to the clear soprano voice of Brenda Orwin, a music teacher at the South Shields secondary modern school where Graber taught art. Her adaptations of Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories, and a successful children’s television series, Best Friends, which was broadcast on TV in fifteen countries, earned Graber an international reputation in the 1980s.