Monday, 19 November 2018


Ub Iwerks had a thing for emotion lines radiating from characters’ heads. You could almost turn it into a drinking game, but you’d pass out before the first minute of a cartoon was over.

These frames are from the first 17 second of Nurse Maid (1932). And there are more and more of these expression-lines through the whole cartoon. And in the next Iwerks cartoon. And the next. And the next.

The Iwerks cartoons love those irradiating lines, where everything stands still, except for two frames of different lines that are alternated. Here’s an example with the Iwerks Crone. I’ve slowed it down a bit.

Iwerks used these effects until his last cartoon, the tedious Happy Days (1936). I don’t know about his later shorts for Columbia, but you don’t find them in the two that were released as Warner Bros. cartoons that were, more or less, Bob Clampett cartoons.


  1. I have a hard time sitting through those Iwerks cartoons. They're unfunny. Sometimes painfully so.

    1. "Office Boy" and "Soda Squirt" are at least worth watching to see just how much they got away with in the pre-Hays Code era (Office Boy has what we now call "sexual harassment" out the wazoo, while Soda Squirt had that really weird sequence of a mincing gay man turning into Mr. Hyde and trashing the soda shop). I'd like to see a modern cartoon pull crap like this (some do, but they either screw it up or not make it funny).

      My point: there are some Flip the Frog cartoons I like, even if it's for historical, "OMG, how'd they get away with that?" reasons. But I can see why they'd be considered not funny and very boring (though, to be fair, most early 1930s cartoons were like that. That's just what happens when you rip off Disney).

    2. I guess, Jon, there was a transition to be made from musical cartoons with little if any plot, and some studios weren't very adapt at moving forward. Even Schlesinger fumbled around until Tex got there and got his bearings.