Thursday, February 28, 2008

Beam Me Up!: Vulcan Entertains Pt.1

It wasn't until a few years ago that  I discovered that a complete black and white print of the 1934 Willie Whopper film 'Hell's Fire' was issued on 16mm for the home market under the title 'Vulcan Entertains'. Evidently they were trying to skirt mention of Hell for the southern states. Similarly, the  16mm color version was entitled 'Masquerade Holiday' again probably to minimize the  infernal setting and  perhaps to draw attention away from the fact that Willie Whopper goes to Hell and likes it! * As I'm sure you are all aware an incomplete version of 'Masquerade Holiday' was issued as part of the 'Cartoons That Time Forgot' DVD series and for years I thought this was the only version! Here, for those interested, I will attempt to roughly reconstruct the missing sections using grabs from both 'Vulcan Entertains' (from a rather ropey copy I'm afraid but I'm glad to have anything) and 'Masquerade Holiday' AKA 'Hell's Fire'

*note - I read on a GAC thread that 'Vulcan Entertains' may have been produced for the British market. Either way they were avoiding The Devil in the title.

generic 16mm banner.

stock opening: curtains part.

Willie is at the piano playing his theme song.

"Hey, did I ever tell you this one?"

The dialog here is a little hard for me to make out. Think it's: "Well, it was a kick!"

Iris out on the volcano. This is where "Masquerade Holiday' begins. VO - "Me and my dog were climbing the world's most dangerous volcano etc." 

Once atop the volcano, and after Willie wipes the soot from his face (from the smoke) there is a jump cut in 'Masquerade Holiday'. Here is what was missing.

The source of the volcano's smoke ...

...and the source of the smoke rings. 

Willie, anarchist that he is,  throws a rock into the opening of the volcano followed by another jump cut.

The missing footage: the devil is minding his own business. Bats fly around his head.

His head is squished by Willie's rock.

He's pissed.

He shakes a fist as he sends a torrent of flame skyward.

Back at the surface, Willie is inspecting any potential damage. There are two rushes of flames. The second rush forms into hands which grab our heros pulling them into the mouth of the volcano.  At this point, in 'Masquerade Holiday',  there is a massive jump cut to Napoleon (leading a parade of damned souls) twirling his baton. Here's what actually comes next.

The flames lower Willie and his dog.

They arrive in Hell.

Willie says: "Hello, Mr. Devil". Perhaps he meant to say: "Hello, Mr. Vulcan". 


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