Did You Know David Lynch Had a Cartoon Show? He Did, & You Can Watch it Here

lynchcartoonDavid Lynch, despite the reputation he earned with films like Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive, lush tone poems of the unconscious, and of course, Eraserhead, a sui generis piece of work that is, more than anything he has ever done, unlike anything else ever made by anyone, a direct line to the unconscious, has always stayed true to his vision. Then he'll go make The Straight Story, a completely (ahem) straightforward tale, directed with the skill of a consummate Hollywood pro, not a self-conscious filmmaker unable to leave his comfort zone. And he has always dabbled in graphics, with short films, comic strips, and his 2002 web series, the short-lived Dumbland, which, if you continue on, you can check it out, along with some of the Eagle Scout's other graphic work.

Lynch started his career making experimental shorts in the late 60s, and The Alphabet is among his most famous. A disturbing (really, you don't say?) and dreamlike (no!) piece that features a mix of live action and animation that is quite sophisticated for student work (he was attending UCLA at the time.)

Video is no longer available: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zr6TZSXTzgI

For those interested, here's a full collection of his early shorts, about an hour and a half of heart-warming family warmth, if that family was composed of terrifying psychological archetypes and the warmth was some kind of hellish fire.

Video is no longer available: www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mE8FwtuyII

From 1983 to 1992, his comic strip, The Angriest Dog in the Worldran in several independent newspapers across the country. It featured an unchanging four-panel drawing of a dog chained up in a yard, with the only variation being the inane dialogue in the speech bubble that issued from a window. Apparently, he came up with the strip in 1973 because --"I was curious about anger -- Like, once you're angry, you're really, really angry, no two ways about it. This dog is angry.” See for yourself!


Most people of a certain age or sensibility remember and/or cherish Lynch's first foray into television, the bizarrely popular (as in, it was bizarre that something so, well, Lynch-ian was popular, as well the fact that it was just really popular by any metric. Who Killed Laura Palmer? was Who Shot J.R.? for people who couldn't care less who shot J.R. (if you care --)

Less remembered is his 2002 foray into web animation, the series Dumbland, whose obscurity isn't that surprising considering the shorts were only available on his website, there were just eight of them, and they added up to a running time of about a half an hour, being vignettes in the life of a man unnamed on the show, though he is referred to as "Randy" on the website. Randy is a midde-aged, "white trash" man who lives with his nameless wife and son, and is basically a super unpleasant guy; well, everyone is super unpleasant. It's raw and ugly and weird. I know, right? What gives?

Dumbland definitely has a rage to rival the strip. I've always kind of had the sense (which I'm sure I am not the only one who has had this intimation) that underneath his Montana Eagle Scout "gee whiz" exterior, which suggests he is merely a cheerful conduit for all of the hellish psychic energy in the world, there was actually a guy who was kind of, um, angry. He got pretty worked up about the idea of watching films on smart phones. (Warning: curse words! from David Lynch! which are so much worse than regular curse words, because of that voice. Okay, good talk.) 

So, without any more smart remarks from me, here it is: 33 minutes of a dumb, inarticulate, and violent family. (Oh, and did I mention they're all voiced by Lynch himself? So that's like, ten times less creepy.) Here's a link to a great essay about the show, where Lynch expounds on the animation methods he employed,  his thoughts on animation in general, and other stuff. Okay, well I lied, those were some more smart remarks. Sorry. But here it is!

So, what's the verdict? Are you a fan of Lynch's work in animation and his sometimes angry side, or do you prefer the iconic American image of the twisted but wholesome Midwest boy, and the inimitable aesthetic he uses in his in films like Blue Velvet, Lost Highwayand Mulholland DriveI know some people who think The Elephant Man is a near perfect film, and everything else was no good. So, opinions; we all have them. What are yours? Let us know, in the comments below!

[via Filmmaker Magazine]

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Your Comment


Damnit what the hell does that "abc" video even mean? God he's weird.

May 16, 2014 at 10:39AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM


I heard that his inspiration came from his wife from that time, who was talking in her sleep.

May 16, 2014 at 11:31AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM


Sometimes you have to dig and do some research if you truly care about any art.I'll help ya, it's about his wife's niece having a nightmare and waking up screaming a b c over and over again. That inspired him to make what he did.

May 16, 2014 at 11:46AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM

John Wilton

To me, it was frustration with school, and how we are fed information. It might just be my own subconsciousness acting in though, since I always had an issue with school myself.
But I think that's the true meaning of most of his truly surrealist work - to read into it, with your own interpretation.

May 16, 2014 at 1:55PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM


Dude, Stop With The Capital Letters In The Title

May 16, 2014 at 12:55PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM


Words over four letters and first and last words (and proper nouns) SHOULD be capitalized in a title.

Appreciate the tip of the hat to David Lynch who above all has exemplified the courage of his convictions more than any other filmmaker.

I do need to mention that the article never actually names "Twin Peaks", though it mentions Laura Palmer, might be a typo or brain freeze, not being critical, I love this site. Twin Peaks was THE television happening of it's day, there were dinner parties across America dedicated to watching and musing on the latest episode.

May 16, 2014 at 2:08PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM

Billy Barber

no they shouldn't

May 18, 2014 at 11:39AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM


I'm definitely a fan of David Lynch. And I understand the point he makes when he says, "get real", when he's talking about watching on the iPhone. I get the point of how we're sacrificing the cinematic experience watching it like that..etc... ...but you could also say the same thing with Inland Empire, shot on DV. Get real...my phone looks better (and shoots better, actually) than even a 35mm print of "f-cking DV" as I have hatefully called it all along. That's the only film of David Lynch I can barely stand to look at. I had to force myself through that one. DV has the magical ability to cheapen anything.

May 26, 2014 at 7:20PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM

Daniel Mimura

I don't know if there are any commas left after this.

May 27, 2014 at 8:43AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM