Welcome back, friends, to a new Toon In offering! This week we are going to be taking a look at 1933’s The Pied Piper which is a classic Silly Symphony animated short. Produced by Walt Disney and released by United Artists on September 16, 1933 – this wonderful theatrical short obviously is an adaptation of the The Pied Piper of Hamelin. Being a Disney cartoon however you can be sure that most of the more disturbing elements of the folk tale have been taken out.
There is a reason why Stephen King was originally going to include a character’s demise at the jaws of hundreds of rats in Salem’s Lot after all. The Pied Piper at least shows a more humorous look at the pests that are plaguing the village of Hamelin. Although they still have need for someone to come and rescue them before it is too late – which is why the Mayor offers up a bulging sack of gold coins to anyone who can get rid of the rats. Which is of course the perfect time for the Pied Piper to make his appearance, right?
Unlike the original folk tale, which I listened to occasionally on LP in my youth, the Piper has a more novel approach of getting rid of all those rats. Furthermore this animated version of the Pied Piper has far more powers at his nimble fingers than you might be familiar with. Nonetheless the story remains basically the same – with our hero getting cheated out of his rightful pay. Not just by the Mayor mind you but it is evident the citizens of Hamelin think stiffing the traveling musician is a good idea too.
What is the Pied Piper to do but take pity on Hamelin, obviously not the adults, they are already set in their petty ways. No, the Piper decides to punish the citizens of Hamelin and make sure the children never grow up to be so shallow, so he leads them off to what the sign looks to read as playpenland. A fate which unlike the original folk tale doesn’t seem so horrifying to me!
Okay, grab your favorite snack and beverage and join us on Toon In with The Pied Piper!
Welcome back, friends to a new Toon In offering here on the Retroist. This week we are going to be looking at 1932’s It’s Got Me Again which marks one of the first animated shorts to be released under the Merrie Melodies banner. As well as the fact that It’s Got Me Again was nominated for the 1932 Academy Award for best animated short film.
I would like to tell you of course that it won the Academy Award that year but instead that honor went to Walt Disney’s Flowers and Trees. To be fair that too is a nice animated short and worthy of a Toon In post of it’s very own. Speaking of Disney you might notice the main protagonists in It’s Got Me Again do in general look like a certain cartoon mouse.
Having said that, bear in mind that it was only four short years earlier that Mickey Mouse made a splash with audiences. Furthermore I should also point out that some of the mice in this animated short also bear a resemblance to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. The first animated character that both Ub Iwerks and Walt Disney created – for Universal Studios. It was actually in 2006 that Oswald came back into the Disney fold, thanks in part to the long development of 2010’s Epic Mickey!
In 1932’s It’s Got Me Again we are introduced to a lively group of mice, who reside in a music shop. Seriously, this place has a major pest infestation but at least in this case they are a bunch of fun-loving rodents. Problems arise though when a hungry cat manages to sneak in to the music shop to disrupt the merry makers – be on the lookout for a nod to 1927’s The Jazz Singer! The title of this cartoon is also the name of the song used in the short by Bernice Petkere and Irving Caesar.
Without further ado, grab your favorite beverage and snacks and enjoy It’s Got Me Again!
Welcome back, friends. With today being the 4th of July it seemed like we should obviously focus on something patriotic for this Toon In. So today we are going to be sharing the Schoolhouse Rock Fireworks animated short. An entertaining musical history lesson. This is a series that I look forward to covering on the upcoming Toon In podcast. Furthermore, Schoolhouse Rock Fireworks originally debuted the Saturday morning of March 6th, 1976. Maybe.
All of us of a certain age probably recall the Schoolhouse Rock shorts with fondness. Or at the very least might find themselves busting out singing I’m Just A Bill during our workday.
Schoolhouse Rock was the brainchild of David McCall. One half of the advertising agency known as McCaffrey and McCall. The creation of the entertaining educational shorts was said to be thanks to David’s Son. McCall said that he noticed while his child could remember the lyrics to popular songs of the day, he was struggling with math.
So he talked it over with a copywriter at the agency, George Newall. Who just so happened to be a jazz pianist to boot. Newall hired Bob Dorough who was famous for being a composer as well as a jazz bebop artist. With the aid of a slew of other musical artists the animated shorts were sold to ABC. The very first short produced and aired was Three Is A Magic Number which debuted on February 3, 1973.
Multiplication Rock presented shorts following the multiplication table. Naturally starting with the numeral 2 and ending up with 12. The next series was Grammar Rock. Beginning in 1975, to coincide with America’s bicentennial was America Rock. Which is of course where Schoolhouse Rock Fireworks was included. Now for what it’s worth, the debut date of the short is in question. I have found other sites that state it actually aired on July 3rd, 1976. Which feels far more correct in this case, right?
Friends, for this particular Toon In offering, we are heading back to 1933. With the Fleischer studios animated short Betty Boop in Snow-White. If you are looking for something akin to Disney’s Snow White and the Snow Dwarfs. You must not have seen a Betty Boop animated short film before. Well, there is in fact one or two similarities between the two. On the other hand with Betty Boop in Snow-White you have Cab Calloway as the singing voice of Koko the Clown!
There are some who feel that the popularity of Betty Boop in Snow-White is what inspired Disney to make his 1937 animated feature film. While I cannot provide proof either way. I certainly do know there appears to be a character that very much resembles an early Mickey Mouse.
While Max Fleischer produced this short and it was directed by Dave Fleischer. The animation was handled by Roland Crandall, who completed it within 6 months. This was an apparent reward for his loyalty to the Fleischer Studios over the years. While I am not sure if he shared in the profits of this short. I can certainly say that in 1994 it was inducted into National Film Registry. As well as being voted #19 in the 50 greatest cartoons of all time by those in the animation field.
Just a heads up, of course with this being a 1933 cartoon. There are things that might be considered a racial stereotype. Although you know I would never share such a short if I felt it crossed the line. I know that you will indeed enjoy the wonderful music as well as the charming animated gags.
As for the story regarding Betty Boop in Snow-White. When Betty pays a visit to her wicked Stepmother her life is deemed forfeit. For being the fairest in the land of course. So it is up to KoKo and Bimbo to escort Betty to the woods to have her head lopped off. Thanks to a stubborn tree stump, Bimbo and Koko are knocked out of commission. This doesn’t mean our Betty is free and clear…in fact she winds up being frozen in a block of ice.
Will Koko and Bimbo rescue Betty Boop in Snow-White? Let’s find out together!