Friday 19 May 2023

Three-in-One Dinosaur

You Van Beuren cartoon fans reading this will know, in the early ‘30s, the studio loved to mush the mouths of singing quartets together to form one mouth.

The studio liked to do the same thing with bodies.

Here’s a good example from the middle of Stone Age Stunts (released Dec. 7, 1930). Three dinosaurs lumber onto the stage of a saloon to engage in a ballet (with a wood block sounding every time their feet hit the floor).

Suddenly, for no reason, they mush into one dinosaur with three heads, which shout “Rah! Rah! Rah!”. The conjoint dino plops down on the ground exclaims “Hey!” to end the performance. Why? Because it’s a Van Beuren cartoon. It doesn’t have to make sense.

The summary from The Motion Picture Herald, which rated this one “Good”:
A considerable amount of originality makes this Aesop Fable highly entertaining, combining modern civilization with cavemen days. The prehistoric mouse and his sweetie are having a gay time in a cabaret located in a skyscraper mountain when it catches fire, and the brave firemen, elephants who spray water through their trunks, save the lovers.
I don’t know how much “originality” there was in the designs of Milton and Rita Mouse.

George Stallings and Eddie Donnelly are the credited animators, with music and dance synchronisations by Gene Rodemich and Jack Ward, who later worked for the Fleischer/Famous studio. The melody over the opening titles is “I Just Roll Along.”

In case you want to travel back to 1936, you could rent this short from the YMCA Motion Picture Bureau, 347 Madison Avenue, New York, for $1.25 a day (in 16 mm.).


  1. I like the dancing dinosaurs better than the pas de deux with the fanged frogs that immediately follows it. Nice wooly mammoth in the opening shot.