Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Wild Goose Chase

I was tipped off recently to this really wild cartoon, "The Wild Goose Chase" (Van Beuren, 1932) by expert Popeye-ologist and closet Van Beuren fan Bob Jaques - a cartoon he describes as a "happy nightmare".  In classic Van Bueren fashion the cartoon starts you off in (admittedly infectious) happy-sing-a-long-land before abruptly depositing you into the bowels of hell.  I wonder if the Van Beuren artists looked across the street at what the Fleischers were doing and thought: "We can't draw half as good as those guys but we can be twice as weird!"  

Words don't really suffice for something like this but ya might want to take that stiff belt 'o coffee now...

Magic palsy tree says: "Welcome to the enchanted freak show"!

Write your own joke.

Fat lumpy things are here to greet you!

What the?

In hell, or at the end of the rainbow or ... where is this again? Anyway, greedy people have skulls chained to their legs.

Holy Cow!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Hard Times: Prosperity Blues

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? 

There's probably no starker depiction of the depression that I can think of in a cartoon than "Prosperity Blues".

Mice in change purses are always good!

Would you trust this guy to solve your problems?

Even inanimate objects must be happy.

"I don't want to be happy! I want to be sad!" 

Monday, February 16, 2009

Koko the Clown Flip Book!!

Now here's a rare treat for me as well. A Koko the Clown flip book published in the pages of 'Betty Boop's Movie Cartoon Lessons' in the early 30's. The registration is kinda jumpy right now ( I was anxious to see what it looked like) so I'll try and post a better version in the future. Until then click below and you will see Koko running to keep his appointment with Betty Boop!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Animals Love Fink's (and Peanuts)!

Expanding on the frame grab below, the ride-out from the  Screen Song "The Peanut Vendor" (1933, Seymour Kneitel, Tom Johnson). Lots of great Fleischer animals and great Hawaiian version of the title song!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Don't let wrinkled trousers get you down. With offices in New York and Miami, 'Fink's' is known everywhere for it's confidentiality and expertise in the care of animator's clothes. Whether it be sewing up bullet holes, removing blood stains or simply pressing out the wrinkles of a six day bender, 'Fink's' is your one stop for pants!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Pedagogical Institution (Stone Age Cartoon)

Due to more online curiosity I am today posting a better-than-average Stone Age Cartoon from 1940 'Pedagogical Institution (College to You)' de-facto directed by the under rated Abner Kneitel. Wow, what a title! Anyway, go here to see a beautiful Abner Kneitel Popeye drawing and here to see a reel of his animation work in the Popeye series. Enjoy!

The opening title card is missing in this print so here it is.

Bomb Head.

In case you missed it his name is Joe Dokes (B.A., B.O., P.D.Q, R.S.V.P., T.N.T., S.O.S.)

Man, I've been there. Maybe I needed to hose out my brain mush to check the oil.