The Laugh That Launched a Boatload of Smiles

Theota Ann Stone, who went by the name Sody was a country girl from Buffalo Wyoming . She was not necessarily seeking greener pastures when she moved to Hollywood in 1954 but she did want a more exciting life and she certainly got that in her courtship and marriage to Bob Clampett.

One particularly good example of this happened shortly after they began dating when Bob Clampett took Sody to the Hollywood Brown Derby. During that visit Sody recalled seeing William Holden approach their table. Her heart went a flutter and she became tongue-tied when Holden stopped to chat with Clampett.

From very early on in their relationship Bob

Clampett realized that Sody had a unique and unmistakable laugh. Bob Clampett asked Sody to become an audience plant for his live variety program called, The Willy The Wolf Show. This show was a precursor to The Muppets. It mixed live action and puppets in comedy and musical bits. Sody and her infectious laugh can be heard throughout all of the episodes. You can hear Sody and her one in a million laugh in the Jump Man Jump sequence from a Willy The Wolf show on Volume One of the Beany and Cecil DVD

In 1962 Sody voiced the character above (The Leading Lady Bug) in the cartoon Davey Cricket. She even laughs although it is more of a girlish giggle. Davey and his Leading Lady Bug made quite the striking couple just like Bob and Sody Clampett.

More on Sody Clampett in upcoming posts.

RIP Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury and Bob Clampett had much in common.  They were of the same generation although Bob Clampett was born in 1913 and Ray Bradbury was born in 1920.  They both loved many of the same fantasy books and movies that had such an impact on their generation.  Both were huge fans of the Edgar Rice Burroughs Mars books.  Both loved silent film stars Douglas Fairbanks of “Robin Hood” and “Thief of Bagdad” fame and Lon Chaney ‘The Man of a Thousand Faces’ best known for playing “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and “The Phantom of the Opera”.  Willis O’Brien the master of stop motion enthralled both Bradbury and Clampett with his creatures in “The Lost World” which inspired Clampett to create Cecil The Seasick Sea Serpent.  A few years later in the early 1930′s O’Brien’s “King Kong” really got both men’s creative juices flowing.

It cannot be emphasized enough how important a writer Bradbury became to so many fans of Science Fiction and Fantasy readers but especially of the “Baby Boom Generation.”  Farenheit 451 was a book that had to be read in school or out but it had to be read.

In 1987 Bradbury was awarded the fourth Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award at the San Diego Comic-Con.  He followed publisher, collector and all around fan Forrie Ackerman and his esteemed colleague Robert A. Heinlein.

In a related memory The Graumann’s Chinese Theatre had a Black Tie anniversary screening (Re-Premiere if you will) of the original “King Kong”.  Army Archerd hosted the glorious event on the red carpet.  Fay Wray attended.  So did Bob Clampett, Ray Harryhausen and Ray Bradbury.  None of these fellows would have missed it for the world.

Somewhere we have a photo of Ray Bradbury and Ray Harryhausen with Bob Clampett.  If and when we locate that photo we will add to this post.