August 8, 2008 4:11 AM   Subscribe

In 1969, Italian animator Osvaldo Cavandoli and voice performer Carlo Bonomi created "Agostino Lagostina", an animated pitchman for the Lagostina line of cookware. This "sharp little man with a truly expressive nose" evolved into "La Linea", one of the most viewed animated characters in the world. In the jazzy series of 225 cartoons that bore his name, La Linea took on a role similar to that of Daffy Duck in Chuck Jones's famous "Duck Amuck" meta-animation, aware of his status as an animated character and asking Cavandoli to draw things into the frame for him. Those who grew up in the 1980s will remember these shorts from their frequent appearances on The Great Space Coaster...though La Linea's offshoots, "Eroslinea" and "Sexilinea" [those last two NSFW; boobies] did not see broadcast in that venue.

Cavandoli died last spring at the age of 87. Here is a short video where he speaks with La Linea, and this is an unsubbed Italian-language documentary about Cavandoli and La Linea. My apologies for the MLYT nature of this post. I had a hard time finding much about Cavandoli and La Linea in English beyond the obligatory Wikipedia entries.
posted by pxe2000 (15 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Wow, I never knew that guy had a name. Or was Italian. Or that there were so many. Awesome post, thanks!
posted by DU at 5:02 AM on August 8, 2008

BTW, I my friend just looked and there's a 3 DVD set of La Linea that doesn't seem to be available for purchase (from Amazon, anyway) but may be *cough* obtained elsewhere.
posted by DU at 5:05 AM on August 8, 2008

I didn't know he was famous outside italy!
posted by darkripper at 5:06 AM on August 8, 2008

darkripper: When I was looking for links for this FPP, I kept finding references to "La Linea" because, like "Love is All", he was broadcast quite frequently on American kids' TV. The tacky 1980s kids variety show The Great Space Coaster featured a character who'd watch La Linea's shorts on a little TV he carried in his pocket.
posted by pxe2000 at 5:10 AM on August 8, 2008

The tacky 1980s kids variety show

Tacky? Tacky? Gary Gnu was nothing if not pure class. PURE. CLASS.
posted by Shepherd at 5:56 AM on August 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

I used to love watching this guy and his random, incomprehensible mutterings.
posted by LN at 6:17 AM on August 8, 2008

This was broadcast all the time in South Africa during the 80's.
posted by PenDevil at 7:30 AM on August 8, 2008

for the italian-speaking mefites: an interview with Osvaldo Cavandoli. Interesting because it shows the techniques used at the time for stop-motion puppetteering, and the hardware used to animate la Linea.

Also if you haven't seen it already, you should get Bruno Bozzetto's West and Soda.
posted by darkripper at 7:56 AM on August 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

Marvelous post pxe2000. I didn't know about this little animated guy and he's sooo funny! Elmo must have inherited his voice from La Linea. I love the gibberish La Linea speaks and all the very Italian gestures. Just delightful.

Such an intelligent, simply fun, elegantly modern animation. Wish I knew Osvaldo Cavandoli created this sooner. May he rest in peace. What a cool legacy and it still seems so contemporary.

On your first link a commenter mentions that:
Osvaldo Cavandoli has an ever growing page on MySpace with lots of rare material and useful info.

Here's a YouTube of La Linea having sex, La Sexylinea.
posted by nickyskye at 8:39 AM on August 8, 2008

Back to my kid days! Thanks!
posted by _dario at 9:16 AM on August 8, 2008

*smacks forehead realizing "Eroslinea" and "Sexilinea" are included in the original post. oy.
posted by nickyskye at 9:16 AM on August 8, 2008

To this day whenever I hear the words "Great Space Coaster" I can't get that damn song out of my head for hours.

posted by chimaera at 10:46 AM on August 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

The ingenuity in each of these shorts is amazing. And he made over a hundred!

Right now I really wish we still had the image tag, because Metafilter's background color is perfect for this.
posted by JHarris at 1:17 PM on August 8, 2008

posted by WCityMike at 6:30 PM on August 14, 2008

damn it, now it's in my head too. on the great, space, coaster, GET ON BOARD on the great space coaster ...
posted by WCityMike at 6:49 PM on August 14, 2008

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