Friday, April 30, 2010

057 Leave Well Enough Alone

Title: Leave Well Enough Alone
Studio: Fleischer
Date: 4/28/39
Directed by Dave Fleischer
ANimated By
Seymour Kneitel and Abner Mathews
Series: Popeye
Running time (of viewed version): 5:53

Synopsis: Popeye, like PETA, frees a bunch of companion animals to a life of misery and early death, until he listens to a parrot and learns the beauty of thermodynamics.

Comments: The opening is certainly a jaunty little song and dance for Popeye; the parrot's, not as much (tho it sounds like a pale rip off of the Betty Boop theme). They made sure to say pomeranian more than once (tho the second time may be "popperanian"). There's plenty of the no lip sync running comments in this cartoon. The parrot looks like he might be dead for awhile. There are limited locations in this, but I'm not sure if it saved many backgrounds; there are sufficient angles on things that I think the savings may have been minimal.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

056 The Hockey Champ

Title: The Hockey Champ
Studio: Disney
Date: 4/28/39
Credits: None listed on viewed print
Series: Donald Duck
Running time (of viewed version): 7:33

Synopsis: Donald Duck figure skates, then plays hockey against his three nephews in an infuriating manner that ultimately inspires the nephews to vengeance.

Comments: Donald makes himself up to look like Sonja Henie, for an extended period of time. Usually that kind of caricature comes and goes quickly. Donald playing dirty is one of the things that made his cartoons enjoyable. This is another cartoon I have clear childhood memories of. Maybe Disney made sure to play it in Christmas specials with its snowy scenery. Why they would have released such a wintry cartoon in late April, a week and a half after the Stanley Cup was done (Boston Bruins over the Toronto Maple Leafs, 4 games to 1) and probably a couple of months after it was last safe to skate on anyone's local ponds in the continental US, I don't know. The nephews have something of the role Bugs Bunny would have. Donald is a dick and the villain of the cartoon (literally costumed like a devil at one point), while the nephews have the role of clever underdogs. They're a bit more violently aggressive than Bugs would usually be, tho. I wonder if the way I find winter cartoons to be generally good looking has to do with liking winter, or if it's just that images read well (which might also explain why Lantz kept Chilly Willy around for such a long time).

Monday, April 26, 2010

055 A Worm's Eye View

Title: A Worm's Eye View
Studio: Columbia
Date: 4/28/39
Art Davis
Joe De Nat
Sid Marcus
Series: Scrappy
Running time (of viewed version): 7:04

Synopsis: Scrappy's worm does his best to avoid doing his baitly duties.

Comments: Worms always seem to tie themselves to fishhooks; I wonder why they don't show the cruel steel barbs piercing the gooey worm flesh? The worm has the Screwy Squirrel voice. This is the third underwater cartoon in a 13 day period, each from a different studio. The underwater effects are a bit nauseating when they kind of randomly appear. Yet another cartoon where the series title character is more or less ignored. The jokes are a bit obtuse, but some of them are interesting enough; I like the telegram with a fish in the envelope to deliver the message. The title is a cel that fades out over an in story background (and animated rooster) rather than a separate card. Columbia seems to have preferred transitioning titles more than the other studios. The fish make lots of faces.