Friday, 22 February 2013

Mummies and Skeletons by Van Beuren

Let’s see. Skeletons? Check. Piano playing? Check. Ancient Egypt? Check. Ah! It must be a Van Beuren cartoon.

The title “Piccaninny Blues” [sic] is enough to make anyone cringe in this day and age. But George Willeman of the Library of Congress found a nitrate print of this 1932 cartoon (while looking for something else) and I loved his screen grabs from it so much that I had to pass on some of them. The picture quality is outstanding and the drawings capture the oddness that seems to have been mandatory in every Van Beuren cartoon of the early ‘30s.



Silhouette camels with shadows. Ultra-stylised greyhounds (or maybe they’re whippets). And who knows what those long-nosed things are supposed to be. There’s something to love in every Van Beuren cartoon (well, until Burt Gillett took over in 1934).

John Foster and Manny Davis get co-director credits on this one.

1 comment:

  1. WOW, those stills! Although this isn't actually “Piccaninny Blues,” it sure looks to be some lost/unseen VB joint unaccounted for in filmographies. Maybe a super early Cubby Bear? Would be great if Mr. Willeman at LOC digitized & youtube'd it for posterity. Thanks for sharing these pics!

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