Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Betty Boop and Cab Calloway, 1933

Straight from Fleischer Studios, Dave and Max Fleischer, Producing . . .

Koko the Clown sings St. James' Infirmary:   . . . "let her go, let her go, God bless her" . . . .

They're pretty sure that KoKo's dancing was drawn exactly, using film footage of Mr. Calloway's unique dancing and the Fleischer-invented Rotoscope. If you want to skip the story line, he starts at about four minutes in and sings for about two.  Just excellent.

They're also pretty sure that everyone was stoned when they came up for the ideas for this. But I don't know. Drawing takes a steady hand . . .

The Fleischer studio was one of the few that gave Disney a run for its money--featuring not just Betty but Popeye and later Superman. This Snow White is from 1933; Disney's mega-production came out in 1937. 


Unknown said...

If only you had posted this at 4:20...because it is 4/20. lol

The Bug said...

This was very enjoyable. But Dr. M says that marijuana wouldn't affect their ability to draw - & after watching this we're pretty sure that they really WERE high LOL.

Unknown said...

Umm, yeah, I knew tons of kids in high school art class that drew even better stoned now that I think of it.

And let me just go down another road here...I watched Alice In Wonderland yesterday. The new Tim Burton version. We know he must be stoned, but I'm pretty sure Lewis Carroll was stoned when he wrote it as well.

*and I'm making sure you dont think I'm crazy here...you understand the reference to 420 above, right??

Ann T. said...

Dear The Bug,
Okay, yeah, but do you think marijuana would have conjured that up? Please go ask your expert and let me know!

It looks like opium to me, with the flying skull/fish/ghost. And that's the kind of thing Wilkie Collins used to see (another Victorian novelist). Okay, I just proved your point. They were stoned.

Ann T.

Ann T. said...

Dear peedee,
Another vote for stoned. I stand corrected, perhaps?? Or undeluded, or perhaps it was Wishful Thinking.

I'm assuming four-twenty in the afternoon on april 20, is that it? I am the dense one around here. Apparently lately . . .

Ann T.

The Observer said...

"Everybody must get stoned."
---Bob Dylan

Ha, ha. I actually liked the high you get from pot, but I gave it up for good in 1980, after research came out that it would wreck your memory. My memory was (and is) already rotten enough, thank you.

The Observer, yukking it up sober--or straight,if you prefer.

Ann T. said...

I thought somebody would get the race thing in this, too. Like here is Cab Calloway in 'whiteface' rather than 'blackface' as Koko the Clown, then turning into a 'spook' (an old pejorative term for a black man) and still dominating the music, the visuals, the action, and the manipulations. In a segregated world, the Fleishers mixed race all the time.

I think the Fleischers were sometimes ahead of their time on the race issue. Other times, maybe not so much. The one of the South Sea Islands has terrible stereotypes--but Betty is colored as a Polynesian. In both this one and the South Sea one, longer clips show that the artists are featured (a pre-MTV music spot), giving them dignified performance time before the stereotypes are either used or made mock of. In these two cases, Cab Calloway has a spot, and the Royal Samoans do too.

I love Betty. She's still the vanguard.

Ann T.

Ann T. said...

Dear The Observer,
Never could stand the stuff. Couldn't stand to be in the room with it. I won't say I never inhaled though. How do you refrain from inhalation until you can get outside?

Hard contact lenses. Just forget it. I had a bona fide Skinnerian b-mod experience with that stuff, as in, immediate and excruciating eye pain.

Straight arrow by default,
I do like Irish whiskey though,
Ann T.

Unknown said...

Nope!! Todays darn near a National Holiday in the pot smoking community.

Its really funny you posted this today. The irony is brilliant!! Thats why I made the 4:20 reference.

Go here:


Ann T. said...

Dear peedee,
Okay if nothing else, this proves I know nothing about cannabis culture.

Ann T. the Straight
omg . . . . still laughing . . . it hurts . . .

Unknown said...

The stars couldn't have aligned to make this post/the date/your lack of knowledge about pot, happen any better.

Please make a mental note of this. Something good is gonna happen soon. ;)

BobKat said...

Well, I'm envious :> Not only that but because I only have dial-up internet I'll have to watch this a WORK tomorrow, lol.

Lewis Carol may have gotten stoned, but back then it was legal... historians claim he was more into cocaine, and suffering delusions at the time...

It's true though, many artists find inspiration from being stoned... especially being OPEN to new ideas, or what's in front of one's nose.

In 1933, cannabis had an increased influence in art until it was outlawed in 1937. Not that that changed much, except to drive many artists underground.

Alcohol use on the other hand, dulls the senses... which is why Wall St. makes excessive use of drink when it comes to selling derivatives and other imaginary wealth.

Not that one HAS to use anything like cannabis to be inspired or to be artistic, but it does seem to HELP.

Thanks Ann T.

Happy 4:20...

Ann T. said...

Dear BobKat,
For brainstorming ideas, sleep deprivation works for me. No alcohol or cannabis for that.

I appreciate the backgrounder. Thanks for writing in!

Ann T.