Andrea/Duck Dodgers here. I friendly welcome every fan of animation at my blog. The goal is to support the love and rediscovery of Classic Theatrical Cartoons from the Golden Age of Animation, keeping meanwhile an eye on Golden Age "Funny Animals" Comics as well as on modern animated productions! Every SUPPRESSED ethnic caricature to be sometimes presented here is just for HISTORICAL and EDUCATIONAL purpose and NOT to offend anyone. Stay Tooned and Enjoy the place !

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Cartoon of the Month: "Boom Boom"

Our usual monthly recurrence features this time the war-themed "Boom Boom" (1936), in my opinion one of the better Jack King efforts at WB. Most of his output is generally quite weak, while I find this particular one to be sort of entertaining (particularly, I liked the "you're in the army now" bit, with the "SOB" line rendered as the incomprehensible quacking of a duck).
Judge for yourself by watching it!

Yours truly,

Monday, January 22, 2007

Bijou is Back

"Matinee at Bijou" is back!!

They are transferring contents from clean sources to HD, to preserve classic cartoons for all times. I've seen some previes of their work and I AM impressed.
Among their many shorts, there are also some charming rarities, like "The Fire Brigade", a "Doodlebug" cartoon made by Kinex studios in 1925.
More on this soon.

Meanwhile, spend a "Matinee at Bijou" !

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Circus Capers

Aaah, here's another of those ugly black & white cartoons that all of you love so much ;-)
This is a Van Beuren cartoon called "Circus Capers" (09/28/1930), and it's quite entertaining one, despite some crudeness in drawings and animation. The main characters are Mickey and Minnie... I beg your pardon, Milton and Rita Mouse, the heroes of many Van Beuren cartoons from the early 1930s. Their resemblance to the more famous mouse couple was so strong that Walt Disney sued Van Beuren studios. Van Beuren was not allowed to use the blatant Mickey Mouse rip-offs anymore, after the court settlement in 1932. so Milton and Rita were sent into the early retirement. Still, in their short career they appeared in some funny pre-code cartoons, and behaved in a way that probably wouldn't be approved by the old Uncle Walt. In fact, I'm using this cartoon to illustrate what kind of outrageous gags and innuendos were allowed in cartoons before the introduction of Hays Code in 1934. It's interesting to note that the strict censorship mellowed again during the World War II years, to the delight of the great directors like Tex Avery, Bob Clampett and
Frank Tashlin. Cartoons from 1943 like "Red Hot Riding Hood" or "Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs" couldn't have been made two or three years earlier. Also, a cartoon like "Circus Capers" would be unthinkable after 1934.

The typical freaky Van Beuren close-up at the end. I love it!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Russian Rhapsody

Bob Clampett directed an astonishing group of cartoons at WB, during the short period between 1942 and 1946. Many of them rank among the greatest and most unique cartoons ever made, and this one called "Russian Rhapsody" (release date: 05/20/1944) is no exception. Sadly, it remains relatively unknown, and has the unfortunate status of "banned" cartoon, despite not being the part of the infamous Censored 11. With few rare exceptions, it's almost never shown on TV, and the only two official releases on home video formats are currently out of print.

This is one of the best WWII propaganda cartoons, and perhaps the only one that features Adolf Hitler as the main character. Of course, he had some extraordinary appearances in other WB cartoons of that era ("Daffy the Commando", "Herr Meets Hare", "Scrap Happy Daffy", etc.) and he was represented in the animal form in cartoons like "The Blitz Wolf" and "The Ducktators". As expected, the portrayal of Hitler in "Russian Rhapsody" is extremely unsympathetic one, and his caricature is at the same time hilarious and creepy. There's a certain disturbing quality about this cartoon that's hard to describe, and makes it quite unique and fascinating to watch.

This and many other WWII propaganda cartoons were made before the discovery of concentration camps and the full awareness of atrocities commited by Nazi regime. Very soon after the end of WWII, Hitler became the exceedingly grim subject for a comedy, and that's the reason why some people even today consider this and many other WWII cartoons as inappropriate to show in public. However, these cartoons absolutely deserve to be seen and appreciated, especially if presented with the correct historical perspective.

I will write more about this cartoon tomorrow. For now, here are few related links:

Almost all of the gremlins in "Russian Rhapsody" are caricatures of the Termite Terrace staff. Many of them have been identified, and you can find the list at Looney Tunes Hidden Gags web page

More screenshots from this cartoon at Brian Romero's blog

Also, you can watch the whole cartoon on YouTube

If you want to have a copy of "Russian Rhapsody", your best chance is to find the VHS tape "Bugs and Daffy, The Wartime Cartoons" or "The Golden Age of Looney Tunes vol.3" laserdisc box set.

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