Saturday, October 19, 2019

Some Cartoons For Saturday Morning #41 - Pre-Code Edition

Happy Saturday morning my friends. Once again it is time for more classic cartoons. This week centers completely around cartoons from the pre-code era.

We start with a cartoon from Columbia starring our buddy, Scrappy. This cartoon is called The Wolf At the Door (1932), and stars Scrappy and Oppy as Mounties trying to help a door goat who has a wolf at his door. A surpising large portion of this film involves Oppy trying to get out the door. These scenes feel like they could have been inspired by Charlie Chaplin's The Gold Rush (1925). Strictly pre-code gags involve where Scrappy puts hot water for Oppy and a gesture the house makes at the end of the film. An exhibitors review in The Motion Picture Herald stated, "A very satisfactory comic. Patrons enjoyed this very much."


Next comes possibly the best of Columbia's Krazy Kat cartoons, The Minstrel Show (1932). This is a fast paced cartoon with great music and very imaginative (and often quite funny gags). This is just pure 1930's cartoon fun at its best. An exhibitors review in The Motion Pictured Herald stated, "An extra good cartoon. Several of the grownups stayed to see this one twice."

The next cartoon is probably the most pre-code of the films included here. Honestly even those who are very familiar with pre-code Hollywood might be shocked by just how much this film gets away with. Raunchy gags seems to follow raunchy gag here, as a pretty secretary is the butt of many dirty jokes. As well as these raunchy gags around the secretary there is also the shocking site of a toilet, 28 years before Psycho (1960). This is one of the fastest paced and most enjoyable Flip the Frog films. So enjoy, Office Boy (1932).

Betty Boop is certainly the queen of early 1930's cartoons. Watching her films this becomes no surprise. These films are full of the pure unbridled creativity that marks the best cartoons of this era. A perfect example of this is Betty Boop For President (1932). This is an extremely fun cartoon and the political satire is still just as true today as it was back then. The ending image is a reference to prohibition by the way. An exhibitors review in The Motion Picture Herald stated "Boop is giving Mickey Mouse a close race. Everyone enjoyed this short reel." Another stated, "This is the best cartoon we have run in a long time. Betty stands Number 1 with our patrons above all others. Paramount has the shorts."

This post ends with the pre-code cartoon character who is the most well remembered and popular today, Mickey Mouse. Here is one of his very early films, Wild Waves (1929).

-Michael J. Ruhland

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