Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Dancing Jungle Snake

You want quirky, pointless cartoons? Then you want Van Beuren! Sure, the studio’s animation in 1930 wasn’t much more polished than it was in the silent days a few years earlier, but there’s always something silly or weird or baffling going on in a Van Beuren cartoon.

Take “Jungle Jazz,” for example. It’s an enjoyable cartoon, even though it’s poorly drafted in some places (the Fleischers’ cartoons looked and were gagged far better than anything from Van Beuren). But who cares? Gene Rodemich comes up with his usual terrific score and arrangement (he loves xylophones), there’s an outrageous take that anticipates the kind of stuff Tex Avery would perfect, there’s dancing for the sake of dancing because that’s what 1930 cartoons were all about, and the proceedings end with a barbershop quartet of animal heads zooming in on the camera.

Don and Waffles are in the jungle. A snake slithers up from behind a rock and dashes after the pair into a nearby hut where, naturally, the first thing Waffles does is start playing the organ.

How’s that for rubber hose animation on Waffles’ arms?

The goony, bloated snake really gets into the music, even tapping the end of its tail against the ground in time. Don reacts by killing the snake with a bone. Why? Because it’s a Van Beuren cartoon!

John Foster and Harry Bailey get screen credit.


  1. Well, snakes are dangerous, dancing or not.

  2. Lol. I love old Van Beurens! Always felt like the animators were hung over while drawing them.

  3. Love Van Beuren's humour of the punchline just being fatally clobbering someone's head on the final beat of the song.