Witch's Night Out: An Interview with "Small" (Tony Molesworth)

No Halloween cartoon seems to be remembered quite as fondly as Witch's Night Out, the 1970s cartoon that was aired for years on the Disney Channel around Halloween. As I stated in our previous article, the adventures of Small, Tender, Bazooie, and the Witch tend to live in people's collective childhood memories like that one McDonald's we were in one time in Cedar Rapids, or maybe Minneapolis, that served pizza. People everywhere are sure it existed, and remember loving it, but can't quite remember enough about it to find it again. Often, they end up on this site, where the WNO post is the most popular page by a wide margin. John Leach, the producer, is currently working on getting it back into print. (update 2014: done and done!)

"Small" in action.
Today, as a special treat, we've tracked down Tony Molesworth, who provided the voice of Small (while his girlfriend, Naomi, played Tender). He's still performing as a vaudevillian and comedian in Canada, and graciously agreed to answer a few questions for halloweenspecials.net! 

HalloweenSpecials.net: What do you remember about working on the cartoon? How did you get involved?
   In high school I was dating the Naomi the daughter of the Animators, John Leach and Jean Rankin (and who played Tender -ed). I was a performer, unicycle, comic, juggler, magician and all around clown who was performing for parties and events so they thought i was a natural. I was good at voices; I had built some ventriloquist puppets and that was also part of my act. 

Tony Molesworth, the voice of "Small"
  So they were on a home budget to make the film and John asked me if i wanted to do a voice in the film, i had done a bit of voice work for a few commercials so i jumped at the chance. 

Any "behind the scenes" stories you'd like to share? 
   I thought it was amazing how John's wife, Jean, painted all the backgrounds and then dried them in her kitchen stove there were a few layers of backdrops piled up with the stove open, then they ended up in the film. A very DIY grass roots kinda film. And it was great to meet and work with Gilda Radner; she was already a big celebrity then. 

What was the recording process like? Any anecdotes you'd like to share?
  We, like most recording studios, did each voice part separately; thats how i did Small, it was in a little recording studio in an old brick building downtown Toronto. I believe some of the other actors doubled up for some scenes. I remember everyone was in a very positive mood and all were joking around and having fun. I guess that what you would expect with a buncha clowns like that group. And John liked crazy people - as far as i could tell, he encouraged it, No feeling of work, just play. When God retires.. we need someone like him to take over this world.  

Tony as he appeared in the late 70s.

What did you think of the show when it came out? Were you aware that it had a cult following today?
 No cult following that I knew about, i thought the film was great, i liked the clown-cartoon feel of it and its universal characters. And i liked John a lot. He had a great sense of humor
and it was a laid back cool sorta hippy house, I had lots of dinners with them and let stay over there all the time.  

Just for fun - if a "fairy godmother" offered to change you into some sort of monster for one night, what would you pick? 
Small..... lol.....  I'm into saints not monsters, saints don't sleep at night, the halos keep them awake.. monsters don't look good in halos.... lol  

How long has it been since you watched the show? 
I have not seen it since it was made

What are you up to these days? I see that you're still doing a lot of performing! 
 I have been full time in the comedy biz, cruise ships, corporates, headlining comedy club, fringe and music festivals, opening acts for bands, and opening acts with celeb comics like  Howie Mandel. I created an art deck of yoga cards on computer; they are very popular. I never stop writing comedy, songs, shows, bits,  I have an kids animation movie i am working on, and  a few new one man shows I'll be touring the next summer, and almost finished my first book. One of my new projects i will releasing a music CD, I play melodic and bluegrass styles of banjo and have written some magical and mystical songs, with a universal spiritual flavor.  My new music site will be up in Feb 2014 www.anantta.com . ... you asked!

Thank Peace Infinity 
Tony Molesworth.

Thanks for talking with us, Tony! And readers, stay tuned for our upcoming interview with John Leach himself!


Anonymous said...

John Leach interview still coming?

Wish this would get an offical DVD (or even blu-ray?) release soon! :D

Adam Selzer said...

I hope so! I sent him some questions but he sort of disappeared.

mapleservo said...

Not sure if you saw, but Amazon now has this on DVD for pre-order. And there seems to be some info available on this blog...

Thanks for the interview. Interesting stuff. And I'm sure stories like this helped in getting it released again.

mapleservo said...

Whoops. Sorry. It's Amazon.ca that has it available for pre-order.

Adam Selzer said...

Thanks, maple! Getting links up now; it's on the US site too, but you have to dig a bit.


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