Friday 5 October 2012

The Brementown Blur

Whoever was directing “The Brementown Musicians” for Ub Iwerks tried an effect that other studios used later but didn’t have the technical expertise in 1935 to pull it off.

The background changes behind some characters while they’re still walking. The only problem is the method they chose was to double-expose the animation during the background transition, and the animation doesn’t match up. You see ghost imagines.

No animator credits appear on any the ComiColor cartoons, Iwerks’ version of the We’ve-Got-to-Make-it-Look-Like-Disney shorts that every studio inflicted on people, featuring children or animals and a bad guy everyone beats up at the end. Iwerks’ contract ran out in 1936.


  1. yeah, that sort of effect appears bad if you don't time it just right with the animation to make it as seamless as possible.

  2. The Fleischers and the Kneitel Unit pulled off something similar in 1933's "Seasin's Greetinks!", but instead of a full background dissolve they used an 'iris-in' background change from in front of Olive's house to the iced-over river, as Olive struggles with legs flailing to stay upright on her ice skates.

    Kneitel would use the same type of iris-in background dissolve with animation in front of it a decade later in "The Marry Go-Round" -- it's an interesting effect, and is better-staged technically than the full background dissolve in this cartoon, though the full dissolve from one background to the next would become more common as the years went by (Disney aside, the Fleischer and Iwerks studios were the two considered the most 'wonkish' when it came to being focused on the technical problems of animation over the animation itself, so it's interesting to contrast and compare how the two studios dealt with the same type of attempted effect in the 1930s).