Twelve cartoons were released in January 1931: The Birthday Party (Mickey Mouse), Birds of a Feather (Silly Symphonies), Please Go 'Way And Let Me Sleep (Screen Song), The Ace of Spades (Talkartoon), By The Beautiful Sea (Screen Song),Popcorn, Club Sandwich (both Terrytoons), China, College (both Oswald the Lucky Rabbit),Toy Town Tales, Red Riding Hood (both Aesop's Fables), and, of course, Taken For A Ride. It was a fantastic year for cartoons which would bring forth such classics as "Dizzy Red Riding Hood" and "Bimbo's Initiation" not to mention new characters Flip the Frog and Scrappy!
Released just a few weeks following the Fleischers' well regarded "Mysterious Mose", "Taken For A Ride" is an exceptional cartoon for it's period - unusually dense with detail and strange subterranean-type settings (among the best Krazy Kats of this sort: "The Apache Kid", "Jazz Rhythm" and "The Crystal Gazebo") which only lasted a little longer, then sporadically, before giving way to cheerier west coast vistas. While De-Nat was musically no match for the musical talents of New York, his scores were serviceable and even good at times. The design, posing and animation were as good as the best in the industry of the early 30's and, at least for January 1931, perhaps even a little better than that.
Like a scene out of "Miller's Crossing", Krazy is led into the woods by the two gangsters.
"X" marks the spot.
Krazy motions for the gun man to wait as he pulls out a photo.
If TFAR has a musical number this is it. The song (intentionally drippy and sung off-key here) "M-O-T-H-E-R" was written by Howard Johnson around 1915. Among his other compositions was "I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For Ice Cream". Yes, somebody actually wrote that!
"M" is for the million things she gave me,
"O" means only that she's growing old,
"T" is for the tears she shed to save me,
"H" is for her heart of purest gold;
"E" is for her eyes, with love-light shining,
"R" means right, and right she'll always be,
Put them altogether, they spell "MOTHER"
A word that means the world to me.
While Krazy pines we get a close look at his face. He's actually 70 years old!
Of course no cartoon character can resist a sentimental song and so our big lugs start bawling giants tears which form into crocodiles as they hit the ground.
At this point the print begins to disintegrate on the left hand side of the frame. It is indeed very fortunate that Sony had the where withal to preserve this film. It is an excellent example of what is happening to old films every day they are not cared for. Hopefully one day this stuff will be issued properly - warts and all! A shaky handy-cam bootleg (although I'm glad to have anything) is no match for the real thing and it'd be a revelation to see it transferred directly from the 35 print!
I think I should take a cold shower now ...
It wasn't until doing this post that I was at last able to discern what was on the dark side at left. I always thought it was a tree but boosting the brightness I was able to see it's actually a shack.
further deterioration ...
blowing the focus ...
These are the last two discernable images from "Taken For A Ride".
So how does "Taken For A Ride" end? We may never know exactly. Though we can be sure Krazy's life is spared there is still the sticky situation of Krazy's cheatin' girlfriend still in the clutches of a perverted gorilla not to mention the stolen goods. So I guess crime pays ... sort of.