Monday, January 3, 2011

Wrapping Up 1939

Well, that was certainly a lot of cartoons. This is the 257th post in the blog; since I set up Google Analytics to keep stats in early February, it has recorded 21,997 visits, 48,596 page views and 7,036 visitors (almost certainly an overestimation of visitors as cookies get erased).

What did we learn? A 1939 cartoon is made up of establishing shots, silhouettes, celebrity caricatures, ripped off radio catch phrases, baby chicks in peril and text gags, and there's a good chance it has had its original title replaced by a later theatrical reissue or tv retitle. If it was from early in the year, it was probably about jitterbugging.

Terry, Columbia and Lantz did not make markedly less funny cartoons than the other studios; they did make a few crappy cartoons, and can reasonably be said to have often made less visually impressive cartoons than the best of the others, tho they each had some visually impressive cartoons. Disney's cartoons were by far the least funny (tho not devoid of funny). The illusion of life, apparently, takes its toll on comedy, as the Fleischers found out when they made the largely unfunny Gulliver's Travels.

You should keep in mind that while 1939 sounds like a long time ago, it was 28 years after Winsor McCay's 1911 Little Nemo cartoon, making it about 28% of the way through the entire history of American animated cartoons, and only slightly before the half way point between the beginning of American animation and the end of the theatrical era.

I should do a best and worst post, but I need a longer view for most of the categories which would go into such a post. The firmest category I could write about now would be the following:
Worst overall studio - Disney
Disney does not perform well in 1939. They had a sure hand in technical quality, but almost no comedic ability, no sense of action, and a marked inability to tell a compelling story. This last they seem to have sacrificed for telling completely self contained stories with no loose ends, made in excruciating (for the audience) detail about almost nothing. Well made unfunny cartoons are not a good thing.

More collateral posts will come in this blog eventually following this post, but it's time to update your links of ongoing blogs to include the Cartoons of 1935 and the Cartoons of 1943. The main work of populating the text of this blog is now complete (The Old Firehorse aside). It is my hope that it will be a useful resource for those seeking to learn about the cartoons of 1939.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Title Cards of 1939 in Review

As with yesterday's post, I present to you a compilation of all the title cards, as seen on this blog (I think). These each last for a second, tho, so you can see them much more clearly than any given image in yesterday's video, wherein each image lasted for about 1/10th of a second.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A quick visual review of 1939

Here for your perusal I present screen caps of all the US theatrical shorts as they have appeared on this blog. I tried to remove all the other things, but I notice that I at the very least missed clearing out the Mickey Mouse Nabisco short. Think of it as A Clockwork Orange meets animation history. It'll be real horrorshow.