Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Of Snake and Bears

The Iwerks cartoon stock company crone with a beehive hairdo gets stuck in a tree and threatened by a rattlesnake in “Phoney Express” (1932). Flip the Frog shoots and misses.

Instead, the bullet shears off the beehive. Down comes the old crone, followed by the beehive landing back on her head. The snake’s expressions are great.

Flips shoots at the snake again. Instead, a bear falls out of the tree. What was it doing up there? Being convenient to the plot, I guess. Look! It’s the ubiquitous radiating lines! (in one Iwerks cartoon, I gave up after counting 30 separate times they were drawn).

The bear chases Flip and the crone. He fires his gun and when the smoke clears, there are two bears. He fires again. Now there are four. And reused animation.

The chase ends inside a cave. We don’t see the fight, just stars and puffs of smoke coming out of the cave’s entrance.

Flip and the crone emerge proudly wearing bearskin coats. Three of the four bears come out, embarrassed they’re in their long underwear. The fourth bear is more, um, bare than that. Enough with the radiating lines!

There are never animation credits on the Flip cartoons. I imagine Grim Natwick’s work is probably seen somewhere here.


  1. Actually, Al Eugester animated this scene. Other animators are Grim Natwick, James Schulane, and Irven Spence.

  2. The bears have Mickey Mouse heads.