Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Grandeur That Is "Jazz Mad"!

All the bones in Farmer Alfalfa's fingers were broken (and three severed completely) in a terrible threshing machine incident in 1929. 

What do you get when you combine jazz music, slow motion dog racing and dancing animal carcasses?  Why, you get 'Jazz Mad': a Terrytoon released to an unsuspecting public August 9, 1931! There isn't much to say about Terrytoons of this vintage. It's a bit like witnessing a hit and run: aside from the general make of the car and a couple license plate numbers the whole event is traumatizing and rather difficult to describe. Now that's what I call "The Spice Of The Program"! 

Prepare for confusion.


:: smo :: said...

from street musicians, to a day at the races, to beyond re-animator? what more could you really ask for?

i actually had to watch this twice just now because i zoned out for a second after the surreal slow motion and had no idea what tiny thread they'd connected between the race and the corpse dance. thanks bicycle turtle!

the ending reminds me of a really really early farmer alfalfa cartoon with a butcher shop and dogs running in, i don't remember the name. i think they used that gag with the moxious little dog too! funny how they were recycling gags this early...especially when they make no sense whatsoever.

aside from the general confusion instilled by this little piece of magic, i'm a little confused about some history stuff.

these farmer alfalfa cartoons are terrytoons? wasn't alfalfa in the aesops fables too? and weren't they van beuren? or was van beuren making terrytoons? i don't know much about the ny studio setup outside of fleischer at the time. any info would be stellar!

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

The Aesops Fables were produced for a time by Van Bueren Studios at which Terry worked. After a disagreement over sound cartoon production Terry left VB to form his own studio with Frank Moser and took Farmer Al with him. The rest is cartoon mutant history!

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

I should clarify. VB owned 'Fables Studio' and was not yet called 'Van Bueren' at the time Terry left. The name change occurred after.

Belle Dee said...

Hmmm, yeah. If someone asked me to describe what I just saw, I don't think I could do it. I'm very disturbed by the dancing animal carcasses. Great stuff.

p spector said...

So what you're saying is that Al Falfa and Django worked on the same farm?

Paul F. Etcheverry said...

As an aficionado of truly strange cartoons from the early 1930's, of course, I love your blog.

Even more than the cartoons by the former Terry animators at Van Beuren, these early talkies from the overworked pen of Frank Moser combine crude, anachronistic silent-era style animation with bits - like the dancing meat market cadavers here - that are startlingly and at times hilariously bizarre.

If you don't have these on the cartoon research garage sale DVDs, then stop at the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive in Burbank, where quite a few early talkie Terrytoons have been digitized and are available for viewing. One can spend quite a bit of time there!

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

I'm glad you are enjoying this blog - thanks for stopping by! However, I'd rather not comment on ASIFA, Hollywood.

Paul F. Etcheverry said...

I paid a visit to the archive and watched a bunch of Terrytoons akin to "Jazz Mad" there during one of my infrequent trips to Southern California trek in 2007.

Check out early sound Oswald The Lucky Rabbit cartoons by Bill Nolan and Walter Lantz for further subconscious-unconscious dreamlike free association.