With so many folks gettin' squeezed these days (animation especially) I thought today might be a good day to post one of the more overt cartoons dealing with the subject of the depression: Prosperity Blues (Columbia/Mintz 1932). The song "Smile Darn Ya Smile" was another hit penned by the writing team of De Sylva/Brown/Henderson and has made appearances in a number of cartoons from Harmon/Ising's "Smile Darn Ya Smile" ( Warner Bros. 1931) to it's baffling appearance in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" (Touchstone, 1988).
"Prosperity Blues" is a bizarre mix of social commentary, Mintz style surrealism and blatant propaganda. As Krazy slaps happy faces on the depressed denizens it's hard not to recall the 'gloomies' from the 1935 Van Beuren cartoon "Sunshine Makers" and the chilling statement: "I don't want to be happy. I want to be sad". The animals (and even the trees!) of "Prosperity Blues" don't seem to have much choice in the matter either. It's interesting to note that after Krazy has changed everything for the better the last place he visits is Washington. Stark contrast to Walter Lantz's "Confidence" (1933) where Washington is depicted as the epicenter from which change will happen. Oh, and did I mention that "Prosperity Blues" is also really really weird?