Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Skeleton (Bird) Dance

Could there have been bigger fans of Disney’s “The Skeleton Dance” (1929) than the staff at the Van Beuren cartoon studio in New York? They populated their cartoons with skeletons, sometimes for no particular reason.

A great example is “Romeo Robin” (1930). Here, a couple of dancing birds turn into skeletons. How? Why? Who knows? It’s a Van Beuren cartoon. It doesn’t need to make sense. Here are three drawings, the first two are consecutive.

But it doesn’t end there. As the skeleton birds step their way through the old “Shave and a Haircut” ditty, they lay down and cover themselves with dirt as graves form under them and headstones grow out of the ground. Wreaths pop up. Here are some of the drawings.

The Van Beuren cartoons could be really twisted, which makes them lots of fun.

John Foster and Manny Davis get the screen credit on this one, with another lively score by Gene Rodemich. Apologies for the over-pixilated YouTube screen grabs; I wish I could find a better version.

1 comment:

  1. Were it possible to ask any questions of Van Beuren animators, I think the answer to most of them would be "*shrug* I like to draw skeletons."