Tuesday, 14 February 2017

The Boney Horse

Van Beuren cartoons had a skeleton fixation. At least that’s how it seems. After Walt Disney made The Skeleton Dance in 1929, Van Beuren cartoons created some three thousand miles away started featuring skeleton gags.

At least there’s a reason for one in the 1930 musical cartoon Oom Pah Pah. One of the songs is the 1903 hit “Any Rags?” There was a time in New York City when someone in a horse-drawn cart would shout “Any rags?” at passing buildings and people would drop rags out the window onto the cart. The song memorialising this custom included the lyrics “Any bones?” In the cartoon, the horse collapses in a pool and re-emerges as bones.

As the song continues, the horse melts again and re-emerges with his head facing the cart.

The horse rights its situation by pulling its head through its butt and back into the normal position.

Since someone will mention it, “Any Rags?” was also heard in a Fleischer cartoon of the same name in 1932.

Gene Rodemich supplied the score while John Foster and Harry Bailey supervised the animation part.


  1. Junk dealers were once known as "rag-and-bone men." (The protagonists of "Steptoe and Son" referred to themselves as such, and they had a horse-drawn wagon.)

  2. Okay, I would place early 30's Lantz toons top of the pile for skeleton visuals. Name me an early talkie Oswald (Lantz or Nolan) that DOESN'T have a skeleton gag!