Tuesday, February 23, 2010

027 Jitterbug Follies

Title: Jitterbug Follies
Studio: MGM
Date: 2/25/39
Credits: None listed on print
Series: Count Screwloose and J.R. The Wonder Dog by Milt Gross (?)
Running time (of viewed version): 8:44

Synopsis: Count Screwloose is running some sort of amateur night scheme but is prevented from running off with the money by some toughs; he instead tries to get his dog to take the prize by dressing up as an ostrich.

Comments: Probably the most beautiful looking black and white cartoon so far, the soundtrack on this bonus cartoon on the Marx Brothers DVD of At The Circus is strangely full of pops. Note At The Circus wasn't released until October 20th, which makes me doubt the cartoon would have been shown with it in theaters (tho it is not impossible). Yet another "putting on a show" cartoon, like Hamateur Night and Soup To Mutts. Yet another theater marquee opening shot. In spite of the name, there isn't really jitterbugging in the cartoon, although there is some swing music. Ostriches seem popular, but this is two cartoons in a row with penguins. Mercifully, the Captain and the Kids was now done; Mama's New Hat was the last of the series. It's too bad I had to watch three of them in quick succession. The penguins have cartoon human nose styled beaks; that violates my conceptions of how cartoon penguins should look (though Opus proves if you're exposed to a wrong looking penguin long enough or early enough, you can accept it). The penguins try reciting/enacting a funnied up bit of rhyming coupletry known as Bingen on the Rhine. There's little holding this cartoon together except momentum, but that and Milt Gross's lovely look are enough to hold together for 9 minutes. Just as long as you don't examine the story.

Addition: Original art for the series titlecard from Van Eaton Galleries :


  1. These shots look terrific. There's beautiful balance and tension in every pose.

  2. These are spectacular designs and drawings (and poses, as Isaac said). Based on these grabs, and the new book raved about on Cartoon Brew, it seems I have a treasure trove of Milt Gross goodness to explore.