Movie Madness From The Old Days


So let’s say it’s a 1930s cartoon. Is it actually legally required to include an Al Jolsen “Mammy” hook? Let’s find out.

The cartoon is from Ub Iwerks’s Flip the Frog series. Iwerks was one of those great cartoonists and inventors to orbit Walt Disney. With Disney he was able to create Mickey Mouse as well as some of the lesser characters like Clarabelle Cow. And he had a knack for technical innovation, with the live-action/animation effects of Song of the South his doing. Outside Disney’s orbit, Iwerks … well, you can see. The cartoon’s from his own studio. And it’s technically proficient, smooth and competent in a way not common in 1931 except from Disney studios. And there’s fun in it, but it is slow-paced. Could use stronger editing. I imagine if it ran five minutes this could be a really solid cartoon.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

Well, the index dropped another eight points over the day and isn’t that just like it? There’s no sense of gratitude, of loyalty in this business anymore. Many traders say it’s a different world from the one they started in. They don’t see where the old mores even fit in anymore.

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Author: Joseph Nebus

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

2 thoughts on “Movie Madness From The Old Days”

  1. I was coasting through this cartoon, thinking “Oh, I wonder if they’ll do a caricature of Laurel and Hardy” and then… ahhh, I wish they hadn’t.

    Like you say, it’s competent, but in the end it’s like a more polished Van Beuren cartoon. Nondescript and indistinguishable from other cartoons of the period. And the sad part is Iwerks basically defined that genre in the first place!

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    1. Of the people I’d expect to be parodied in a 1930 cartoon, yeah, Laurel and Hardy are on top of the list. Charlie Chaplin was inevitable too. The lack of an Al Jolson bit honestly surprised me.

      It’s strange that Iwerks produced such a well-made yet generic cartoon. I suppose it’s because the technical side of things, how well-drawn and how smooth the animation is, is the part that’s easy to export and copy and develop. It does make me wonder what would have happened had Iwerks found a strong story, or at least strong joke, person. But they must’ve been in short supply, especially in 1930.

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