Monday, 15 October 2018

Shoeshop Celebrities

Columbia’s The Shoemaker and the Elves has everything a 1935 colour cartoon had—an original song, fairy tale characters and really mild gags.

Oh, and it has celebrity caricatures, too.

There’s a scene where shoes on a conveyer belt land on top of an elf (fuh-nee!). Another elf jumps in a pair of shoes. Look who it is!

Perhaps writer Art Davis showed his opinion of the gag by having Chaplin whisked out of the cartoon with a cane.

Next gag, another elf jumps into some shoes.

Then the elf lets his hair down. He’s Greta Garbo!

The cartoon involves a shaky shoemaker who, as a male chorus tells us over the opening titles:

This is the tale of a brother
As poor as a poor little mouse
Though his cupboard was bare
He was willing to share
All that he had in the house.

The shoes (some of them have holes in the bottom and are not stitched together properly) are the reward for the shoemaker taking in a hungry poor boy. He sings at the end: “Stay here, be my son, there is work to be done.” Yes, a touching tale of child labour is ahead.

Sid Marcus gets the animation credit with Joe De Nat supplying the music. This was the third Color Rhapsody made by the studio, and in a red-green colour process.

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