Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Title: Rhythm on the Reservation
Series: Betty Boop
Running time (of viewed version): 5:59
Synopsis: Betty Boop tries to buy a drum from an Indian, but other Indians wander off with her existing instruments, so she does a musical number with them before leaving without her instruments.
Comments: One of the two '39 Fleischer cartoons I did not have on DVD (although at least some PD compilations do have it, and I have it on VHS in the Betty Boop boxset; I just used a YouTube version for this, tho). The title used here has UM&M indicia on it. This is the last appearance of Betty Boop (in Fleischer theatrical cartoons), tho only the second to last cartoon in the Betty Boop series. The joke is full of Stone Age style gags, using the instruments from Betty's car for things other than their instrument use. The rustic Indians are friendlier than the rustic hill people in Musical Mountaineers. I'm assuming this is less prevalent in compilations because the cartoon may have been removed from circulation at some point for showing modern American Indians as primitives speaking a pidgin, leading to fewer available prints. There's one guy who really wants to get it on with Betty, but his wife really doesn't want him to. The music isn't especially memorable, but it's not bad. There's one creepy background in the harp scene where the papoose looks like a mummy. Bye bye Betty, your last cartoons aren't as bad as people say they are.
The racial issues with American Indians in cartoons are not identical to those raised in the Lil' Eightball cartoons, but they're not entirely different, either. I will likely someday get around to addressing those issues more than the level seen above, but it's not likely in this particular blog.