Thursday, 2 February 2017

Foul-Mouthed Phone

Yes, you weren’t hearing things in The Cuckoo Murder Mystery, a 1930 Ub Iwerks cartoon.

There’s a creative gag where the a cuckoo clock drops the numbers on its face into a phone to reach the number for Detective Flip the Frog.

Flip’s phone desperately rings but Flips sleeps through the noise. The phone turns to the audience and says “Damn!”

Finally, the phone bops Flip on the head with its mouthpiece.

No animators are credited.


  1. Wasn't this in the pre-Code era? I notice a few expletives in other early films as well, including some of Hitchcock's early work.

    1. That's right. In Hitchcock's 1935 British film " The 39 Steps ", Robert Donat complains to Madeleine Carroll about " These damned handcuffs ".

  2. Ah, the pre-Code era, and, soon, we will get to hear the FLIP THE FROG cartoons in full more of those splicey clicks, making you wonder what might have been cut, but nothing beats the expletive in the Max Fleischer cartoon, "I'll be Glad When You're Dead, You Rascal You" coming from Louis Armstrong's mouth, and I wonder if anyone knows why the comment was made, but you have to listen carefully. So many people that I've shown the clip to don't hear it, no matter how many times I've played it for them. Other things are happening around it, and on the laserdisk, you can hear it.