Friday, 15 January 2016

A Wild Ride For the Dollar

Dollar bills go on a wild ride in the “Non-Essential Spending Carnival” in the John Sutherland propaganda film The Devil and John Q (1952).

After a roller coaster and merry-go-round rides symbolic of American government spending, the frantic greenbacks wave their arms in a tea-cup ride symbolising the “craziness” of government housing, government loans, government subsidies and government power projects in cycle animation. Unfortunately, only a murky version of this cartoon is on line so it’s a little tough to see some of neat frames and perspective animation. Les Baxter accompanies the action with a dissonant circus score.

There’s wonderful animation of the devil in his various guises throughout the cartoon, with Emery Hawkins, Bill Higgins, Russ Von Neida and Arnold Gillespie receiving credit (Gillespie would have his own commercial studio, Quartet, within a few years).

This cartoon for Harding College boasts some great effects animation of fire as well. It was produced after MGM severed its theatrical contract with Sutherland, so it never appeared in theatres. Frank Nelson is the voice of the devil. That may seem odd considering John Sutherland was a devoted corporate cheerleader and Nelson was a staunch trade unionist (heading AFRA for a while) but a pay cheque is a pay cheque.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice article. Frank Nelson seemed to have gotten his first major voice role in these John Sutherland cartoons, and I think he was in ALL of them. (JS distributor MGM's 1936 Harman-Ising short "Bottles" had him in the earliest role that I know, at least from the not-always-accurate "Animated Film Encyclopedia" (2000) by Graham Webb).S