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"A Pocketful of Motor Oil" - Producer's Notes

When Crusty's niece visits from Europe expecting him to still be a Harvard professor, Click & Clack and the gang go into overdrive to disguise their garage as an experimental research lab!
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DIRECTOR'S NOTES: This episode was inspired by Damon Runyon story "Lady for a Day" (later remade as the 1961 film "A Pocketful of Miracles") and from Edward G. Robinson's sequence in "Tales of Manhattan" (1942).

Trivia:

- The character Johnny Laylo has a 1906 Stanley Steamer and so does the real life late night talk show host he is based on.
- The Stirling Cycle Engine mentioned by Clack really exists and plans are available for it.
- When Crusty opens the noisy part of the engine, among the sound effects is a Wilhelm. This is a classic inside joke among sound effects artists. Originally made for a 1951 western movie "Distant Drums", sound effects artists have used the distinctive man's yell in many modern classics. These include Star Wars: A New Hope(1977), Lord of the Rings the Two Towers(2002) and Return of the King(2003), "Osmosis Jones" (2001) and "Kingdom of Heaven" (2005). There are numerous fan sites dedicated to the Wilhelm.
- When Letitia noticed that Click and Clack were rather old to be graduate students, our studio intern Wyatt wanted us to make a joke about his old alma mater, George Mason, as having a reputation for long-staying grad students. But we had to cut for time.
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FOCUS ON: CORNELL WOMACK - The Voice of Crusty. Cornell is a star of stage and screen. His credits include "The Happening" by M. Night Shymalan, "Rescue Me", "Boston Legal", and "CSI: Miami." He has appeared on Broadway in "On Golden Pond" and "Talk Radio."

QUESTION: What is special to you about making Crusty come to life?

CORNELL: I think the challenge of creating a character is always rewarding. I think what was important about Crusty, even as an animated character, was to root his experience in something very real. I've always admired character actors and the ones who affect me most are not just the ones who play the most eccentric or outrageous types, but those whose eccentricity and outrageousness is rooted in a real place, which helps us identify with otherwise oddball characters. So there is a part of Crusty or any character, that if rooted in truth, is a part of us. It was also just a lot of fun too!

QUESTION: How is this type of acting different from acting on the stage or screen?

CORNELL: Well, to me, the process that you go through to create a character on stage, screen or through voice over is essentially the same. You ask the same questions about your character. Who are they? How do they see the world? What is their point of view? What do they want? And how do they go about getting it? No matter what medium we are still dealing with emotions and psychology and motivation. So, I would say that in the creation of the character that there is no difference in approach, no matter how ridiculous or otherworldly they seem or whether they are flesh and blood or CGI. The main difference is that unlike film or stage you are alone and speaking into a microphone, so it really requires you to use your imagination even more fully to create the situations that you are responding to, by yourself, in a studio with no other actors. In this regard it is similar to "green screen" acting in film.
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