Tuesday, 27 October 2015

In One End, Out the Other.

You couldn’t get away from skeletons if you were watching a cartoon made in New York City in 1933. Yet another example is found in the jaunty musical Tropical Fish, made by Terrytoons.

The cartoon abounds in what are now clichés (dog and cat fish, small fish eaten by a succession of larger fish), but they’re presented in such an unassuming way, they’re fun to watch. There’s some social commentary on Wall Street greed and Prohibition and there’s a red-hot, jazz-singing temptress. And there may be the most disconcerting gag in a cartoon.

Some Walt Disney cartoons in the late ‘20s and early ‘30s featured a scene where a character would swallow the camera. Terry goes Disney a little further. The camera goes in one end of the fish and out the other. I’d prefer not to think of what the “other” actually is.

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