For this Saturday morning, I’d like to offer a cartoon, the 1932 Fleischer Brothers short A Hunting We Will Go. It’s part of the Betty Boop line of cartoons, although Koko the Clown and Bimbo the Dog are much more the protagonists of the cartoon. It’s got a setup that allows things to be relatively plotless — do a joke about Koko or Bimbo ineptly hunting an animal and get to the joke — but the story comes out stronger than the same cartoon in, say, 1927 would have.
Partly I think that’s because having two inept hunters means the blackout-joke nature flows better: as soon as Koko is done with his joke, the cartoon can jump to Bimbo just getting into his, and that there isn’t a segue doesn’t hurt. The cartoon also features a lot of what I consider a distinctive Fleischer cartoon trait, that of being playful in setting up gags, especially ones that seem to play on cartoon convention. I’m thinking particularly of a bit where a moose (or something) starts seasoning the grass he plans to eat. Considering that old cartoons, especially black-and-white ones, can be easily seen as being a bit stuffy and sluggish it’s great seeing them be playful.