The first few years of the Silly Symphonies really did feature silliness. That was the whole point of them. None of that “illusion of life” stuff.
Here’s a good example from “Night” (released April 1930). Fireflies are dancing to the immortal song “Glow Worm.” They’re twanging their necks like jew’s harps.
Their heads get cut off and leap into the air.
The heads land upside down on the other’s body. No matter. They bounce back onto their proper bodies.
The glow worms ballet jump off stage, leaving their shoes behind.
The shoes leap up, blink their holes like eyes, and then tap their way off stage. End of song.
I’ll take the fun Disney over the am-I-impressing-you-with-this-old-mill-cartoon Disney any day.