Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Alias St. Nick

Hugh Harman and Rudy Ising’s Toyland Broadcast was released at Christmas time in 1934 but it really wasn’t a holiday-themed cartoon. The first Christmas cartoon the two produced for MGM was the following year with Alias St. Nick, where a cynical mouse discovers Santa is really a hungry cat when the menace’s stomach is accidentally revealed to be a balloon.

The mouse goes in for a closer look. All these expressions are by Bob Allen.

A toy train goes under the cat, pushing the balloon/stomach above him. The shocked cat shoves it back down and pretends everything is normal. Cynical mouse ain’t buying it. Allen’s expressions are good, but there are so many as the cat keeps looking around the cartoon just slowwwwwws down. Of course, it’s 1935, where cartoons didn’t exact chug along with exaggerated speed.

Film Daily reported 200 theatres had been booked the cartoon over Christmas. It played with The Man Whe Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo starring Ronald Colman in at the Four Star theatre in Los Angeles and Ah Wilderness at Loew’s in Toronto. Loew’s in Washington, D.C. held a Christmas Toy Matinee that also included Mickey’s Service Station, What, No Spinach?, Robber Kitten and Arthur Godfrey conducting a community sing. In New York, it was paired with a different feature (see right).

1 comment:

  1. The short still has some lingering facial expressions and posing from Hugh and Rudy's Warner Bros. years. And they really liked showing the audience those expressions.