Saturday, September 13, 2008

Taken For A Ride

Continuing with the theme of Charles Mintz I'm posting today grabs from the Krazy Kat cartoon 'Taken For a Ride' which was released in January 1931. Then, as now, the series took the brunt of criticism for appropriating the name but none of the design or story elements of Herriman's classic strip. Like the best cartoons of the 30's, the Mintz Krazy Kats are not personality driven (as was the strip and, later, the animated films of the 40's) but instead driven by imaginative dream-like situations, wild mechanical and often sexually charged gags,  musical motifs, characters with adult fears and habits as well as design elements and animation which would influence the best cartoons a decade later before being excised in the name of efficiency and standardization. Flat was cheaper.  Anyway, I digress - I love this film and I hope you enjoy the grabs!

Opening titles - the film was never issued to 16mm for the home market. This version hails from a  hand-cam video taken inside an AFI screening room.

The film opens with an ambitious down shot. A cop leans against a lamp post while an organ grinder cranks his organ. The organ grinder monkey jumps around while figures sway back and forth on the sidewalk. This cartoon has fabulous backgrounds.

An elevator lift door opens in the roof of the foreground building.

Two bears (?) with tommy guns emerge opening fire on the crowd below when suddenly ...

The camera gives out!! Holy smokes - grab the battery! Call Batman!! What's happening! 

Suddenly we're back, with about a minute of missing time in which we now see what appears to be a gorilla cranking sausage 'gun belts' into a meat grinder from the back of a moving vehicle. The emerging 'bullets' are actually small sausages with dog faces which yelp accordingly. 

We now see that Krazy is in hot pursuit armed with fitz gun. He paralyzes the yelping sausage bullets mid-air. The mushrooms are now taking effect.

The bad guys (two bears and a gorilla? Three bears? Three gorillas?) make for their hideout - in this case a cemetery! 

Their 'inside man', a skeleton,  rises by elevator from one of the graves. Wait-a-second - is that a tail? Is one of them a monkey? The organ grinder's monkey perhaps?  At any rate now we have my three favorite things together in a cartoon: gorillas, gangsters and skeletons! 

Inside the hideout Kitty Kat (usually Krazy's girlfriend) anxiously awaits her piece of the loot. Our lead has now morphed into a gorilla bear in a derby hat. He still has his face bandage though!

I love Kitty's take here.

Show me with your mouth ...

Perverted 1930's walla.


The gorilla bear whistles for help. The bandage has migrated to the other side of his face. This is to aid the audience in being able to identify the character as a gorilla bear. Notice the keg of hootch in the BG.

Another shorter gorilla bear enters. I guess they must have traded hats. A plan is hatched.

Dress up like a grave and investigate! 



diego cumplido said...

hey, I'm a fan here and I've something to say about this blog. I love the freeze frames or stills, or frame grabs... but I WANT TO WATCH almost every cartoon you mention bymy own. But I don't know where to look, or if I can find the films around on torrents or something. Any tip or valuable piece of information about it? ... remember, some of us live on the other corner of the world, so we need Internet's help on this subject.

J.V. (AKA "White Pongo") said...

Most of the films can be purchased on DVD-R from Jerry Beck's Cartoon Research Garage Sale in my links. They are NTSC. Unfortunately, I get error messages whenever I try to upload Quicktimes to Blogger and I gave up after six hours of trying to load a three minute Quicktime to Youtube. I have no idea what the problem is.

diego cumplido said...

thanks! ... well, the format I use to upload stuff to you-tube is .mp4, and I've never had a problem.

hey, ..I'm currently working on a project that tries to resemble the look of these late 20's and early 30's cartoons. We're a bunch of amateurs, so we don't know how's going to turn out, but we're giving the best of us anyway. If you have any tips to share with us, we'd appreciate it...

J.V. (AKA "White Pongo") said...

No tips - except to have fun.

:: smo :: said...

i've wanted to buy some of jerry beck's dvds for a while...just need the money!

i love the "they must have swapped hats" i didn't even notice at first! crazy bearrillas!

and back to that other post, i'd totally love to help you animate! i took a crack at 30's style stuff when i was still really green, for a college project. i'd like to do more now that i'm a little more knowledgeable! it'd even be fun to inbetween!

here's my attempt at it from a few years back