Maybe it’s my imagination, but it seems there were reels and reels of cartoons out of New York in the early ‘30s involving characters caught in nightmarish or out-of-control situations. One of the best is ‘Swing You Sinners’ (1930).
The Fleischer studio was, far and away, the tops of the three major cartoon operations in New York. At their best, the Fleischer cartoons are fun and extremely warped (though you can say the same thing for Terry and Van Beuren, too). ‘Sinners’ benefits from a never-ending flow of things on the screen. Something is always morphing into something else. Things suddenly sprout a mouth, arms and legs and behave like humans.
A really interesting effect happens at the beginning of ‘Sinners.’ Bimbo gets into a fight with a chicken. To emphasize the violence, the background drawing is rotated clockwise behind the animation. Look where the chicken coop is in the top drawing.
And, yes, Bimbo and the chicken have exchanged heads. Some of the gags are so casual and so much is going on, you miss them the first time. That’s just one good reason to watch the Fleischer cartoons over and over.
Ted Sears (later a Disney writer) and Willard Bowsky (who died in France during World War Two) are the credited animators in this.
It’s a shame the Fleischer cartoons got watered down as the ‘30s wore on but there was a time when a point could be made they were more entertaining than the cheery animated antics that came out of the West Coast.