Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Boogie Woogie WACs

Pat Matthews was known for his sexy girl characters at the Walter Lantz studio, especially his animation on “Miss X” in a pair of 1944 releases.

But there’s a nice little walk cycle of three women in uniform in Lantz’s Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company “B”, released three years earlier in 1941.

Whether Matthews was responsible, I don’t know. His son told animation blogger Kevin Langley that Matthews worked on Pinocchio but got caught at the Disney strike, which started in late May 1941, and went to work for Walter Lantz. This Lantz cartoon was released in early September, so it is possible the scene is Matthews’. I honestly don’t know who else at Lantz might have animated it. (Late note: a comment below points out the cycle is re-drawn from Scrub Me Mama With a Boogie Beat, released at the start in 1941. It’s unlikely, then, that Matthews animated this).

There are 36 drawings in this strut cycle. All but two of them are animated on twos, the other two drawings are one frame each to give a bit of a hitch in the walk. Here is a middle drawing, followed by two extremes.

They don’t look like much, do they? Ah, but here’s where the magic of animation comes in. Add the in-betweens and you get something pretty neat.

Alex Lovy and La Verne Harding get screen credit for animation. Danny Webb, who was in the army and on the other side of the U.S. from Hollywood when this cartoon was released, is the frog-voiced sergeant. My guess is the black vocalists who sing the title song provide some of the character voices as well.

It’s unfortunate there are a couple of stereotype clichés in this short and mangled Amos-and-Andy English (though not as bad). It’s not a great cartoon but you can enjoy Darrell Calker’s fine brassy score. Oh, and the Boogie Woogie WACs.


  1. From SCRUB ME MAMA WITH A BOOGIE BEAT. https://m.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=932854206726109&id=100000046148015&set=a.896762923668571&source=43

  2. Never noticed before that their breasts bounce and jiggle. Good job, Pat!

  3. Lantz and whoever did the animation here seem to be going for a Lena Horne look on the girls (the female African-American charactures here definitely are not offensive in the way the male ones are, which made it similar to a lot of the cartoons that were later banned for their imagry, including Clampett's "Coal Black" over at Warner Brothers).

    1. One reason is there's no gag here. The male characters (certainly more so in Scrub Me) get stuck in stereotype gags that would, mercifully, finally wear out their welcome.