Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Drunk Turtles

Ah, there’s nothing like a Don and Waffles cartoon. Four of them were made by Van Beuren in 1930. They’re all strange, which is what makes them fun. Take, for example, “The Haunted Ship.” How many characters are chased in the sky by a bolt of lightning which grows jagged arms and legs? Or bizarre, scaly sea creatures swimming past the camera? Or skeletons? Okay, they seem to have appeared somewhat regularly in Van Beuren cartoons, even after Don and Waffles became Tom and Jerry.

But what can beat singing turtles? Thanks to animation, not only can they breathe underwater, but they can drain beer at a submerged ship’s bar, then launch into a fine chorus of ‘Sweet Adeline.’ The outlines of their mouths shake when they hold a note in vibrato.

The turtles return at the end of the cartoon to do a final chorus of the song. Then their wrinkly heads stretch right into the camera and fill the frame, as the background goes black. Zooming heads were a Van Beuren specialty. A lovely cartoon ending.

John Foster and Mannie Davis were the animators on this and Gene Rodemich supplies one of his enjoyable scores.

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