“It’s terrible to be thin, fat is beautiful”

Blank on Blank, on behalf of PBS digital studios, animates old interviews from people ranging from Barry White to John Updike.

Most of the short videos (they average about five minutes) have some luminary speaking on one issue. You get the impression that the segments were chosen by how interesting they would be to animate.

Others make more original use of the format, like in the image above. Ray Charles holds Ray Charles who holds Ray Charles. Barry white grasps a beating heart as big as his head. Grace Kelly casts a shadow over John Kennedy. The compact format and lighthearted art makes meshes well with the revealing observation the subjects make.

There is, it must be admitted, a certain joy in seeing a swiftly animated Jim Morrison get fat eating too many mash potatoes, or hearing the music from the Star Wars Cantina as John Updike talks about how much easier it was for a writer of his generation.

Or Grace Kelly’s face when the interviews asks her what comes to her mind when she thinks about JFK. “His youth,” she replies. And if you haven’t cried by then (the interview is from 1965, two years after Kennedy’s death) Kelly answers the question, as she rephrased it: “Did he die in vain?”