Color Classics: Time For Love

For today’s Color Classic cartoon from the Fleischers I’d like to present Time For Love, released the 6th of September, 1935. It’s immediately familiar from the opening for using as the main theme “Love In Bloom”, marginally known as the Jack Benny tune, at least among the people who still remember Jack Benny. Folks should; you could run a course in how to write just based on how his shows were structured.

This cartoon hasn’t got anything to do with Jack Benny besides the musical reminder, though. It’s a pastoral cartoon, something a bit out of the Fleischer Brothers specialty, but it does mean the gorgeous three-dimensional sets in back can be ones of natural beauty.

The story, of a swan being seduced by a superficially impressive (black) swan who proves to be cruel, and needing rescue by her lover, does not present her in a very good light, it must be admitted, though her original lover comes out looking admirable. It struck me, though, as having essentially the structure of a certain strain of Popeye cartoons, ones in which Olive Oyl leaves Popeye for the apparent charms of Bluto, and you know where that’s going — cartoons like I Never Changes My Altitude or Beware of Barnacle Bill or The Man On The Flying Trapeze. The action isn’t as intense as those — a couple swans we never saw before aren’t going to have the narrative energy of Popeye, Olive Oyl, and Bluto, and “Love In Bloom” isn’t as rousing a song as “The Man On The Flying Trapeze” — but I’m intrigued by how strongly the action is transposed to new characters.

I don’t suppose the Fleischers were thinking to do a Popeye cartoon in feathers here. If they were, well, we’d know it, by the swan’s lover being more of a presence. But there is this correspondence, and it makes a sweet little sentimental cartoon a touch more when you notice it.

Author: Joseph Nebus

I was born 198 years to the day after Johnny Appleseed. The differences between us do not end there. He/him.

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