Thursday, July 7, 2011

Human Deformities Redux


Things are beginning to pile up a bit here at Crazy Town Industries (I have named myself CEO, Treasurer, Janitor, Image Management Consulting Ambassador*, and Fridge Cleaner) but before I send the blog into hibernation for a bit I thought I'd follow up with a Crandall cartoon from the later 30's.

*-this position comes with epaulets


By the time of 'Never Should Have Told You' (1937) the Screen Song series was, much like the Betty Boop series, in decline. Sweet bands proliferated and most of the tunes were pretty lame*. There were exceptions though such as the two featuring The Westerners: 'The Hills of Old Wyomin' (1936) & 'Twilight on The Trail' (1937). Nat Brandywynne sounds like he should be more terrible than he actually is. Actually it's not a bad tune and Maxine Tappen pulls off a pretty decent Peggy Lee style vocal. Not terrific but certainly pleasant enough and even has a nice trumpet break...

*-the quality of gags & animation remained high though. Fleischers' was the most consistent studio of the 30's. The skillful movement and the constant inventiveness of the cartoons remained strong practically to the studio's demise.


But I digress. That is because the late 30's also gave us one of the most bizarre and utterly wrong (yet so right) characters ever in cartoon history: the great and powerful Wiffle Piffle! Most sources claim Tom Johnson as the creator of the character but to look at him I wonder if it couldn't have been Crandall. The two basically split the Screen Songs between them during this period and even supporting characters appear in both artists' films. While the rest of the industry were refining the exact proportions of cuteness Crandall & Johnson knew what the public really wanted: human deformities! It is important to remember that at this time the only hope of a decent livelihood a Piffle could expect was working in Bouncing Ball Cartoons. Anyway, you will see the Piffle in his full range of emotions:

Sleepy.

Smoking.

Electrocuted.

Melting.

medicated.

Welcome to the enchanted kingdom of The Bronx! It's Two Reel to be true!

Where men bite dogs.

video

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

From my crazy town to yours. The image is from a terrific cartoon: