Friday 4 May 2018

Angry South Seas God

I couldn’t tell you who was responsible for effects animation at the Walter Lantz studio in the ‘50s, but he did a nice job in Alley to Bali, a 1954 cartoon which showed the directorial merits of Don Patterson.

In this scene, an unidentified volcanic deity spews fire when native princess Babalu gives it a sacrifice of gas-inducing vegetables. Patterson has the cameraman darken the scene and then the camera shakes when some lightning drawings are shot.

Babalu then retreats (her mouth movements don’t quite match Grace Stafford’s dialogue) to find the human, er, woodpecker and buzzard, sacrifice the god demands.

Somehow, I can hear Happy Homer Brightman in the story meeting cutting up at the thought of naming the native princess “Babalu” (“Just like Ricky Ricardo! Babalu! Get it?! ‘Hey Luuuuucy! Get me a long pig!’ Ha, ha, ha!”).

The Lantz cartoons always seem to be suffering from one problem or another, usually in story or direction. Here, the cartoon slowly moves along, there’s a far-too-quick climax (and a pretty weak one), then the short just kind of ends. Patterson seems to have done the best with what he was given, though I can picture Tex Avery would have really punched up the bar-dance scenes.

Ken Southworth, Ray Abrams and Herman Cohen are the credited animators.

1 comment:

  1. You can also hear the boss coming in and demanding a good explanation for half of the plot:

    Lantz: "Homer, you have some splanin' to do!"

    H.B: "Ewwwwww!"