A cartoon character running at the camera and swallowing it isn’t much of a gag, but it must have looked great in theatres.
You’d find it in Disney, Harman-Ising and Ub Iwerks cartoons (the studios were all related in a way, anyway). Here’s an Iwerks version in the 1934 ComiColor short “The Valiant Tailor.”
The ComiColor cartoons were Iwerks’ entry in the “let’s-try-to-be-Walt Disney” sweepstakes. The attitude was better artwork equals better cartoons. But other than Disney, the cartoon artists didn’t realise cartoons were about more than art. They’re entertainment. There has to be a story that engages the audience. “The Valiant Tailor” has overlays, muted backgrounds and nice colours, but there’s little except a basic storyline. It took me a while to figure out what the tailor was eating (who eats honey out of a bowl, anyway?) and he was far from valiant; he was in a tree that dropped the bowl of goop on the giant’s head.
Art Turkisher incorporates Schubert’s “The Bee” into the score during scene with the bees. Grim Natwick and Berny Wolf are the credited animators.