Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Gloom Chasers!

Oh man, this is a good one: Scrappy in 'The Gloom Chasers' animated by Art Davis and Sid Marcus and released January 18, 1935. Okay, I know all you Warners fans out there see this stuff as kind of squishy and pointless. Maybe even the artists who drew it felt that way (tho Marcus & Davis certainly had help) but that's not what I see on screen. In fact, the quality of the animation is quite exceptional in my opinion. Lively stuff. Plus the sort of weird touches that one might expect of a studio in New York. Mintz Studios was, after all, a transplanted NY studio and, at various times, employed artists migrating west from that city. It's hard to believe a year later the series would crash against the rocks with stuff like 'Scrappy's Camera Troubles'! . I've read that Sony is now in the process of making their library available on-demand. Let's hope someone over there likes cartoons! Ya all know a blown out 16mm (though I'm glad to have anything) in crummy Blog-O-Vision is no match for the fine grain of a 35. Ah man, I need a spit cup just to think about it!

Fruity children are here to dance your blues away ... four times!

"Take that teeny tiny twubble". Sure it's annoying but after the third pass you'll be humming it all day. But stick it through ... bizarre stuff is gonna happen!

I love the incidental characters in Mintz cartoons. Davis' style was a tad blander than Huemer's (he began as Huemer's assistant) but still interesting to look at. Oh, and Scottish people are cheap (even though they are probably quite generous).

A similar set-up a la Huemer era Scrappy (Sunday Clothes, 1931).

Of course, the dust bowl was no laughing matter during the depression. People in that area of the country were giving up. Suicide was rampant and people just starved to death. I think, after living through something like that, I might want a little triteness. Or perhaps the whole thing was a gag. Culhane wrote in his auto-bio that people in Florida laughed at 'The Grapes of Wrath'. Who knows?

and speaking of ... haven't we been here before? Y'know I'll agree we see too much of this cycle but you know what else: It's a really nicely animated cycle. I love the perspective as the boys draw their fingers across the plane of the camera pointing right at the audience. These were the days when audiences might sing along in a theater if they liked the song!

Hillbillies are enraged by fruity children (leatherface not pictured)

'Gloom Chasers' answers the question: "Yes, but what of the pitchfork?"

Sweaty horses are aroused by young boys.

The cow transforms from hideous ... hideous!

and the clouds do their auto-erotic cellulite dance.

What more could you ask for?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Van Boring!

Here's something that should be noted here: a run of Frank Tashlin's infamous parody of Van Beuren: Van Boring! Cheggitout! The similarity to 'The Little King' (a Van Beuren Studios cartoon series) only adds to the irony. Now if only someone would find a run of Dick Huemer's 'Good Time Guy'!

Monday, September 6, 2010


The Mintz Studio background department shows us even dust bowl ravaged animals can be beautiful in this horrific moment in 1935's 'The Gloom Chasers'. Click to encarnage.

More on this terrific Scrappy cartoon coming soon!