Film ID: NEFA 20715 Video of NEFA 20715 The Boy and the Cat THE BOY AND THE CAT 1974 Visitor TabsDescription The first complete animation produced by Sheila Graber and set in her native South Shields. The film follows the adventures of a small boy and his cat as they walk through the snowy landscape, chase a Robin down onto the River Tyne and meet Father Christmas. The character of the boy is based upon Sheila’s nephew Nigel and the cat is based upon her own cat Whitey. The film beings with the animation of a young boy in shorts. He puts his hands in his pockets and looks towards the title. Title: The Boy and the Cat The face of a cat appears within the letter ‘o’ in the title and begins to climb down from them and rubs itself again the boy’s legs. They both turn around and look up at the next title. Credit: Music composed by Brenda Orwin. The cat weaves itself through the boy’s legs. Credit: Produced by Sheila Graber. The cat jumps up and pushes the boy over, sitting on his knee and begins licking his face. A door appears. They both rush towards it and the boys opens it. A blast of snow rushes through the boy’s hair and the cats fur. Quickly the boy closes the door and they both turn blue and begin to shake. A jumper, a black and white scarf and a pair of Wellington boots appear on the boy. The cat’s colour changes from blue to red with a white breast. He also becomes furrier. The pair wave at the camera and rush towards the door. The boy rushes out into the snowy garden while the cat sits in the doorway. It puts its paw into the snow, looks at it and takes a lick. He shakes its head with shock. At the end of the garden path the boy waves at the cat. The cat scratches itself before jumping out of the door and along the path. General view of a snowy street with a large crane in the background. The boy walks past scraping snow off a number of garden walls. He waves and disappears out of shot. A Robin appears and lands on a gate post. The cat slowly creeps along the wall towards the bird. The cat jumps at the bird which is quicker and it flies away and comes to rest in the branch of a high tree. There is a close up of the cats face. It jumps at the tree and climbs upwards, the bird having flown away again. At the top of the tree the cat stops and looks scared. Its eye’s grow larger with fear as the branch begins to sway in the wind. The cat jump from the branch and lands on the roof of a house. The robin is sitting on a chimney breast. The cat slowly makes it ways along the roof towards the bird. There is a close up of the cats face. The bird flies around the chimney pot from which the cats head appears looking sad. It jumps at the bird again, slips and rolls down the roof in a ball of snow and lands on top of the boy who is standing in the street. The cat appears from the snow sitting on the head of the boy. He looks at the cat angrily. The cat looking back innocently and points at the robin who is sitting on a window ledge. The boy strokes the cat and makes a snow ball. He throws it at the bird and smashes the window. They both run away along the street towards the crane. The film cuts to show the boy and the cat following the bird along the side of a river with boats, warehouses and a large crane stand on both banks. In the distance is an arch bridge crosses the water. The cat makes and throws a snowball at the bird. He misses and the snowball hits the mast of a ship which crashes down onto a crane, then another crane and finally onto the bridge which collapse into the river. The boy and the cat quickly run away. The boy and the cat walk across a snowy landscape. The cat climbs in a tree while the boy makes a snowman. With their backs turned the snowman comes to life and throws a snowball at the boy. He points at the cat that looks back innocently. The cat points at the snowman just as a storm blows in and pulls the cat into the sky. Swirling down into a hole the cat appears in a cave full of icicles growing out of the ceiling and floor. Carefully the cat moves around the icicles. Back outside the boy looks around the landscape for the cat. The cat slides out of the cave into a snowbank from which it appears. Behind it stands a large white cat with claws. As the big cat makes a swipe at the cat it slides away over the edge of a cliff. At the bottom is a frozen lake on which are two penguins; one is skating while the other fishes from a hole in the ice. As the cat passes he knocks the skating penguin into the fishing hole. The film cuts to the boy crying. He looks up at the sky and wipes the tears with his scarf. The film fades to the sad looking cat walking slowly through the snow. The cat sees a white castle with a large tower built on a hill. The cat walks along a path towards the castle and stands before a large door with knocker. He climbs the door and bangs on the knocker. The cat falls to the ground as the door opens. Standing in the doorway is outline of a figure who reaches down and picks up the cat. Slowly the light reveals the figure to be Father Christmas. He shows the cat a collection of toys including a golliwog, a doll, a toy house and a toy cat which winks. The film cuts to a view of the tower now revealed to be a rocket which takes off into the sky. Back in the darkened street the boy uses a torch to light his way still look for his cat. The camera closes in on the sad face of the boy. The film cuts to a door opening and the boy walking inside. Santa Clause and the cat ride through the night sky inside the rocket. Father Christmas opens a door and the cat, now wearing a parachute, falls out. He waves at Santa. The parachute opens and the cat falls slowly towards the ground. Standing beside a fireplace the boy looks sad. On the floor beside him is a bowl of milk. The word ‘cat’ is written along the side. Outside the cat lands on the chimney of a house and releases the parachute. He slips down the chimney and comes out of the fireplace and into the arms of the boy. The cat recreates his adventures to the boy who watches on in amazement. The cat walks over to the bowl of milk and takes a lick. As he does so he becomes a white cat. He points into the air where Santa is hanging down holding a snowball. He drops it onto the boy who also becomes white. The boy looks down at his cat a smiles before looking up and see Santa. As Santa fades away the boy changes into him wearing striped pyjamas. Christmas cards appear on the fireplace and decorations hang from above. Alongside the fire place appears a decorated Christmas tree. The milk in the bowl is replaced by a large Christmas pudding. The boy’s Wellington have been replaced by red socks. He removes one of the socks and hangs it from the fireplace. The film ends as the boy walks away carrying his cat as Santa comes down the chimney to fill his sock with presents. He waves at the camera. Title: The end © 1977 Context A boy and his cat in a winter wonderland A boy and his cat make mischief in the snow at South Shields in this captivating hand-drawn children’s animation created by Sheila Graber. This first short animated film for children by celebrated artist Sheila Graber was an experiment in the use of hand-inked and painted cels and backgrounds, processes first patented by American comic-strip cartoonist Earl Hurd with J.R. Bray in 1914. The mischievous characters, modelled on her nephew and pet cat, Whitey, are drawn with warm humour and flair, and the action takes place in the shadow of the docks and along the coast of the artist’s home town, South Shields. The Boy and the Cat won the Movie Maker magazine Ten Best competition in 1974. Sheila Graber’s animations were broadcast on the 1970s national children’s television programme, Clapperboard, and the award-winning 12 Days of Christmas was shown on BBC Look North in 1975. She gained an international reputation for the 1981 animations of Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories for Nicole Jouve of Interama, the agent for The Magic Roundabout, who began to distribute her animations worldwide in 1977. Once a gifted amateur with improvised rostrum equipment, Sheila Graber went on to win several major awards from the Royal Television Society, including a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004.