St Louis, Missouri: 1927. The waning days of prohibition, but the underground bootleggers and speakeasies are of course not aware of the future. One such speakeasy is Lackadaisy, a club that’s fallen on hard times after the curious death of owner Atlas May. Now his widow, Mitsi, struggles to keep her husband’s legacy alive between the law and rival clubs a bit more insistent about wiping out the competition…literally if possible. Her only help acquiring new sources of product are the lovable screw-up and musician Rocky Rickaby, his forcibly included cousin Calvin “Feckle” McMurry”, and the flapper/muscle of the group Ivy Pepper, who has a thing for Feckle and is, to use an anime fandom term, “best girl”.
Oh, and they’re all anthropomorphic cats.
A 1920s gangster story like Lackadaisy is not usually my cup of whiskey (I also don’t drink), but considering one of my favorite movies is Bugsy Malone and I also like Johnny Dangerously, I’m in for the right gimmick. It’s not the cat people thing but just the way the characters interact with each other that drew me to the webcomic by Tracy J. Butler. Okay, the cats got my interest, but it was the characters, especially Rocky and Ivy, that grabbed my attention. There’s a lot of love and a lot of fun put into this story, and that’s just the protagonists. The villains, other antagonists, and everyone else our crazy cats come across are unique and interesting. I’d say stop reading this and go read that, but they made a pilot.
Originally intended as a short film, the response from their Kickstarter was so overwhelming that now Butler and the animators at Iron Circus are calling it a pilot, and it’s become a viral success (granted I don’t get out and about the community but that’s my perspective) in a matter of days. People wanted to see this and liked what they saw, which is a nice change from a lot of modern media. Tonight we’ll watch the pilot if for some reason you haven’t and as a bonus I have a video from one of the animators giving us a behind the scenes look at the making of Lackadaisy. Enjoy!
The animation, the performances, the writing…I can see why it grab attention. I’ve enjoyed the webcomic, which went on hiatus during the making of this (not that there’s a properly updating RSS Feed of the comic itself as of this writing), and this feels like the characters brought to life. Amazing what a proper adaptation can do while still doing what the different formats do best. If that made you want to check out the webcomic here is the link again! Check it out.
I also promised you a making of video by one of the animators. Here’s a video by Manu Mercurial going over his experience animating his scenes for the pilot and what it was like working with the crew from his perspective.
You can see more videos made during the making of Lackadaisy the pilot and the comic on the official YouTube channel and on the special’s dedicated backstage website The Little Daisy Cafe, named after the speakeasy’s old name in the pre-prohibition days. It might be interesting to see what these characters do when prohibition finally ends in 1933 given their personalities…but would it be as much fun?