Sunday, March 29, 2020

Cowboy Church #50

Hello my friends and welcome back for another service of Cowboy Church.

Today's musical selection starts off with Dale Evans singing Let Us Love. This is followed by The Monroe Brothers with their 1936 recording of Do You Call That Religion. Next is Cowboy Copas with his 1953 recording of Purple Robe. and This song was written by Odell McLeod, who wrote two gospel song Copas recorded called From the Manger to the Cross and Four Books of the Bible. Another classic gospel song he wrote was Thirty Pieces of Silver. This song was recorded by the husband and wife bluegrass duo Wilma Lee and Stony Cooper in 1949 and that recording will follow. One of most overlooked but important people in the Outlaw Country movement was Billy Joe Shaver. Billy Joe was one of the most talented songwriters in the history of country music and today's Cowboy Church includes one of his most famous works, I'm Just an Old Chunk of Coal. I am going to let Billy Joe Shaver himself tell you about the history of this song from a 2012 interview with Rolling Stone Magazine's Patrick Doyle. When Patrick asked him when he become born again, Billy Joe gave a very open and honest answer that gives a new meaning to this beautiful song. He said "I’ve slipped back since then many times since, but it was when I wrote [1981’s] 'Old Chunk of Coal.' I went out on the Harpeth River in Nashville. I went way up a treacherous pathway up this cliff to jump off of it. It looked like the Devil’s tower or something. It was cloudy, no stars or moon or anything, dark as pitch. Way up on top that cliff was an altar – or something that looked liked one. I thought I jumped off a cliff, to tell you the truth. I’d already seen Jesus actually, or a vision of him shaking his head saying, “How long you gonna do this?” It was pure white. I was really screwed up, man. I’d taken a bunch of stuff and done a bunch of stuff and come in my house about four in the morning and this vision was waiting on me, and then I got in my truck and drove out there to this place. At the top of that cliff was an altar, or something that looked like one, and I wound up with my back to the edge of the cliff and my elbows and everything on the altar, and my boots were off of my feet and they looked just like they were gold. It would take me forever to tell you what really happened, but I found myself asking God to forgive me for being such an idiot, and he helped me because he gave me that song.  I came down that path after all that stuff, slipped my boots and came down that path singing that first half of that song." (to read the whole interview, you can click here) This is the kind of testimony that shows just how God can work through any of us. We are never to far gone for God to help us, and he will often show himself and change our lives in times when things seem hopeless. Billy Joe felt his life was over but God was not through with him yet. He knew that Billy Joe had much hope to give this world through songs like this and through sharing his own story. God had not played much of a role in Billy Joe's music before this. In fact on his 1973 album Old Five and Dimers (one of the defining albums of the Outlaw country movement) he kidded this with a song called Jesus Christ, What a Man! in which includes the line "Sing me more songs about Jesus, for I am a big Jesus fan..." However as his career went on the amount of songs about God he recorded increased and his live shows afterwards always included spirituals. The version of Just and Old Chunk of Coal included here is live from the 1994 Farm Aid. Hank Williams Jr. is best known for his rowdy party songs, but over his long career he has recorded much more than this. This included many sentimental love songs like Eleven Roses and quite a few gospel numbers. In 1969 he recorded a whole album of gospel songs called Sunday Morning. Next is one of the songs from that album, Are You Walkin' and Talkin' For the Lord. Hank Williams Sr. as many of you know, wrote one of the all time best country gospel songs, I Saw The Light. He originally recorded this song in 1948, but the video on this post is from a 1951 episode of The Kate Smith Evening Hour. Hank would die New Years Day, 1953. Hank Williams singing the line "no more darkness" makes one wish he had turned away from the darkness in his own life. Hank isn't the only famous country singer featured in this video, a young and very energetic June Carter is hard to look away from here. George Jones then sings Someone's Watching Over You Tonight from his 1962 gospel album, Homecoming in Heaven. This song was written by J.P. Richardson, who is better known as The Big Bopper. The Big Bopper would have a great career as an early rock and roll singer. George Jones fans probably know him best for writing George Jones' first number 1 hit (in 1959), White Lightning. This song could not be more different from the fast paced silliness of White Lightning but George was nothing if not versatile and he delivers a fantastic performance here. Today's musical selection ends with The Sons of the Pioneers with their 1937 recording of Lead Me Gently Home Father. At this time the group was composed of Bob Nolan, Leonard Syle (later to become Roy Rogers), Lloyd Perryman, Hugh Farr, Carl Farr and Sam Koki. The group would later record this song again in 1948, however I personally prefer this earlier version. 

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isiah 41:10

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7

 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6

 The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion. Proverbs 21:8

Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the Lord gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged. 1 Chronicles 31:13

 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13

May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones. Thessalonians 3:13

 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16.33

 Thank you for joining me come back next week for another service of Cowboy Church. Happy trails to you until we meet again.


-Michael J. Ruhland

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Some Cartoons For Saturday Morning #64

Hello my friends and Happy Saturday Morning. Once again it is time for more classic cartoons.

I have shared many vintage cartoons on this blog that have caricatured old movie stars. However these weren't the only stars to be made into cartoon characters during Hollywood's golden age. Radio stars also got their share of kidding from cartoon makers. This next film is an example of that. It is a delightful Color Rhapsody from Columbia, The Big Birdcast (1938). Even if you are not familiar with the stars being kidded here this is still a fun little movie. One exhibitors review from the Motion Picture Herald, "After seeing Disney's cartoons, it's hard to speak highly of others. This one's fair." Another exhibitor's review took the film on its own terms stating, "This was in color and boy was it clever. Had plenty of birds pulling imitations of  famous actors and actresses. Plenty of swing music too. An excellent short that deserves space on every exhibitor's program." 

Next our friend Mighty Mouse heads out west to face an old west outlaw in Mighty Mouse Meets Deadeye Dick (1947). A review in Boxoffice magazine called this "... easily the best reel of the Mighty Mouse adventures." An exhibitor's review in the Motion :Picture Herald simply stated, "Excellent color cartoon." This is one of my favorite Mighty Mouse cartoons.

Next comes one of my favorite Terry Toons, a Dimwit cartoon called How To Relax (1954). The ending of this film is fantastic. Dimwit started life as a supporting player in other characters' cartoons, especially those of Heckle and Jeckle. Because of the popularity of Disney's hilarious Goofy cartoons of the 1950's, it was decided to put Dimwit in similar roles and similar films. How to Relax could have easily been a Goofy cartoon with no story changes at all. This idea would only last for three films (this one, How to Keep Cool (1953) and Daddy's Little Darling (1957)). However a movie like this makes you wish there were more.

Since Dimwit taught us How to Relax, I think it is only right for Goofy to teach us How to Fish (1942).

There are Teen Titans Go! fans, fans of the original Teen Titans cartoon and fans of the original original Teen Titans cartoon.

Now for a Garfield quickie from Garfield and Friends (1988-1994).

Ending today's selection of cartoon is a delightful Krazy Kat film, Whacks Museum (1933). A review in The Film Daily stated "This one ranks just so-so among animated cartoon comedies." The review also states "Nothing very exciting is devolved, however, and the action is a bit slow." However I find this to be a fun little movie.

Motion Picture Herald, 1935

Thank you for joining me come back next week for more animated treasures. Until then peace, love and cartoons.

-Michael J. Ruhland

Friday, March 27, 2020

Bob Dylan Has a New Song (Not a Drill)

You read the title right Bob Dylan has released a new song, his first self penned song since his 2012 album, Tempest. This new song is called Murder Most Foul and is a 17 minute epic about the assassination of JFK. This song shows Bob at his best and I can't believe I am saying this but this is up to par with his brilliant work of the 1960's. The lyrics more ramble at times but Bob does this purposely to further emphasize how this song speaks to us about an era of American history we can never have back. The lyrics combine the epic poetry of such works as Desolation Row with the political intimacy of works like The Times They Are A Changin' into a near perfect accumulation of two distinct and different sides of Bob's art.I found myself completely moved listening to this song, more so than I have any new song in quite a while. Bob is still one of America's best songwriters.

Bob Dylan himself stated, "Greetings to my fans and followers with gratitude for all your support and loyalty across the years. This is an unreleased song we recorded a while back that you might find interesting. Stay safe, stay observant and may God be with you."

-Michael J. Ruhland

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Movies to Stream on Disney+

Hello my friends. With many of you stuck at home, I feel it is a good time to recommend some movies that you can stream in your own homes. Today I recommend some films that are available on the Disney+ streaming app. In this post I am trying to avoid the most obvious options such as Frozen or Avengers: Endgame. That is not to say that these will all be obscure movies, just not obvious choices.

The Journey of Natty Gann (1985) During the 1980's Disney was experimenting to an extant they hadn't since Walt's death and that they haven't since then. While this certainly did lead to some flops, some truly great movies came out of it. One of the best is The Journey of Natty Gann. This film is not the squeaky clean image that comes to mind with Disney. There is bit of cussing as well as a rough edge here, but underneath this exterior is a truly heartwarming story and the timelessness of Disney's best work.

Pollyanna (1960) In contrast to the rough edged Natty Gann, Pollyanna is an unabashedly sentimental movie. However this film is charming enough to win over, even the most cynical movie fan. This is due to one of the best casts to ever appear in a Disney film (lead by the always charismatic Hayley Mills).

Greyfriars Bobby (1961) The Disney studio has made many live action films about dogs, but to me this is the best one. It is a slower-paced and very atmospheric movie that has such a natural charm that sneaks up on you when you least except it.

The Great Muppet Caper (1981) Following a recommendation of a slow paced and subtle movie, comes a recommendation of the complete opposite. The Great Muppet Caper is the fastest paced silliest and funniest of all the Muppet movies. This is a pure laugh fest from start to finish.  
The Three Caballeros (1945) The most pure cartoony animated feature to come from the Disney studio. This movie features wild animation, non stop energy and just pure fun. Also it stars the one and only Donald Duck, so why would you not want to watch it?

Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made (2020) The best of the Disney + original movies so far. This is a completely charming and often very funny tale of a kid who starts his own detective agency in an attempt at achieving greatness. This is a silly and often very funny film.

Duck Tales The Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp (1990) I am not calling this a masterpiece by any means. However if you want an unpretentious but fun way to pass an hour and fourteen minutes, this fun animated adventure film based off of the popular TV show will do the trick nicely.

The Parent Trap (1961) The most delightful of all the live action Disney comedies, this film is pure fun from the animated opening credits to the memorable final scene. Hayley Mills is at her  most charming in a duel role. With comedy ranging from silly slapstick to very clever satire, as well as a delightfully charming story, this is a Disney classic on all levels.

Escape to Witch Mountain (1975) One of the best movies to come out of Disney after Walt's death. This is a fantasy film of the highest measure, that quickly pulls you into its imaginative world. There are so many little scenes that don't really move the story but add so much to appeal of the film's fantasy. Simply irresistible.

The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men (1952) This in my mind is only second to the Errol Flynn movie for the best film version of Robin Hood. Featuring exciting action, a great cast, clever writing and a completely believable romance, this is a pure delight. Personally I think this outshines Disney's better remembered animated version.

Teacher's Pet (2004) An animated Disney movie that feels little like a Disney movie. This is a fast paced comedy that never lets up on the great jokes, and one of the few feature films based off a TV show to actually top the TV show. This is an incredible imaginative and laugh out loud funny movie and an animated film completely unashamed to be a cartoon.

Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors (2018) This may be a smaller scale movie than the big screen Marvel films, but this animated adventure is still a delight. This is due to a good sense of humor, likable characters, fun action and more. This animated movie may not be as well known as the live action Marvel films, but that is a shame as it is a pure delight.

Perri (1957) Combing Disney's nature documentary footage with a fictional story may not sound like the best idea but it works incredibly well here. This movie is the definition of charm.

The Absent Minded Professor (1961) One of Disney's best live action comedies scores hugely due to Fred MacMurray's fantastic charisma and some sure fire comedy moments.

Swiss Family Robinson (1960) About as good as fantasy adventure movies get. This classic film is timeless entertainment of the highest order.

-Michael J. Ruhland

Silent Films on TCM For April

Hello my friends, fellow silent film lovers and TCM fans. To make sure you don't miss anything important, here is a list of the silent films playing on TCM this April.

Sunday, April 5th

Scar of Shame
(1927) Director: Frank Perugini. Starring: Harry Henderson and Norman Johnstone. 9pm Pacific. 12am Eastern.

Thursday, April 9th

Haunted Spooks
(1920) Director: Alf Goulding. Starring: Harold Lloyd and Mildred Davis. 2:30am Pacific. 5:30am Eastern.

Sunday, April 12th

The Jazz Singer (part-talkie, mostly silent) Director: Alan Crosland. Starring: Al Jolson, May McAvoy. 10pm Pacific. 1am Eastern.

Thursday April, 16th

(1926) Director: Fritz Lang. Starring: Brigitte Helm and Alfred Abel. 8pm Pacific. 11pm Eastern.

Saturday, April 18th

Safety Last (1923) Director: Fred Newmeyer. Starring: Harold Lloyd and Mildred Davis.

Sunday, April 19th

The Passion of Joan of Arc
(1927) Director: Carl Theodore Dryer. Starring Maria Falconetti and Eugene Sylvain. 1:15am Pacific. 4:15am Eastern.

Bardelys the Magnificent (1926) Director: King Vidor. Starring: John Gilbert and Eleanor Boardman. 10:45pm Pacific. 1:45am Eastern.

Monday, April 20th

Flesh and the Devil
(1926) Director: Clarence Brown. Starring Greta Garbo and John Gilbert. 4am Pacific. 7am Eastern.

Sunday April 26th

The Great Buster: A Celebration (Documentary on silent film star Buster Keaton) (2018) Director: Peter Bogdanovich. 9pm Pacific. 12am Eastern.

Sherlock Jr. (1924) Director: Buster Keaton. Starring: Buster Keaton, Kathryn McGuire. 11pm Pacific. 2am Eastern.

Wednesday April, 29th

The Unknown
(1927) Director: Tod Browning. Starring: Lon Chaney and Joan Crawford. 7:15am Pacific. 10:15am Eastern.

He Who Gets Slapped (1924) Director: Victor Seastrom. Starring: Lon Chaney and Norma Shearer. 8:15am Pacific. 11:15am Eastern.

When a Man Loves (1927) Director: Alan Crosland. Starring: John Barrymore and Dolores Costello. 8pm Pacific 11pm Eastern.

Old San Francisco (1927) Director: Alan Crosland. Starring Dolores Costello and Warner Oland. 11:15pm Pacific. 2:15am Eastern.

-Michael J. Ruhland

Monday, March 23, 2020

Silent Film Stars VS. Public Gossip

Hello my friends and fellow silent film lovers. As many of you know more than anytime after, movie stars of the silent era were larger than life figures to most moviegoers. While movie star scandals are just a fact of life today and something we hardly really think about, back then these scandals were a much bigger deal (with the exception of sexual assault which is an even bigger deal today as it should be), as fans expected these actors to live up to the larger than life figures seen on the screen. That is why movie stars felt they had to protect themselves by avoiding any situation that might bring about any gossip detrimental to their image. The following 1922 article from Film Fun magazine, discuss a set of rules the stars made for themselves for this very reason. If you have any trouble reading the following pages click on them and then use your touch screen to zoom in. 

-Michael J. Ruhland

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Charlie Chaplin in 1915

Hello my friends. I know pretty much everyone who reads my blog loves Charlie Chaplin like I do. He is one of filmdom's finest comedians and his best films remain just as fresh and funny today. In today's time many of us associate him with combining slapstick and pathos, yet this was hardly a part of his films in 1915. These movies were simply slapstick comedy with gags and nothing more. Yet he was extremely popular at this time and his short films were considered the finest comedy movies of the era. They may seem crude and primitive to us today, but this is because in our minds (even if we try not to) we put the films in comparison with the movies he made when he reached the height of his artistic powers. Back then though Charlie Chaplin was something new and exciting as well as quite different than anything that had previously been done in film comedy. Why audiences were so attracted to these films is because underneath the crudeness, they saw the start of something new and exciting. It had not been fully formed or realized at this point but it was still noticeable to moviegoers, even if they couldn't define what it was they felt. This brief article in Film Fun Magazine in 1915 gives us a glimpse of how Charlie Chaplin was accepted by moviegoers in 1915. If you are having any trouble reading the following page click on it and use your touch screen to zoom in. 

Now as a bonus here are some Charlie Chaplin films from 1915.

-Michael J. Ruhland 


Cowboy Church #49

Hello my friends and welcome to another service of Cowboy Church.

Today's musical selection begins with Dale Evans singing Jesus is my Closest Friend. Next is a delightful Sons of the Pioneers original, The Sea Walker. This song was written by one of the group's founding members, Tim Spencer. This recording was made in 1947 and the lineup of The Sons of the Pioneers at this time was Tim Spencer, Bob Nolan, Lloyd Perryman, Pat Brady, Hugh Farr and Karl Farr. This is followed by Jerry Lee Lewis performing In the Garden on a 1983 episode of the Austin City Limits TV show.  Afterwards is Cowboy Copas with his 1950 recording of From the Manger to the Cross. We jump ahead a few decades for a song off of George Strait's 2011 album, Here For a Good Time. This song, called Three Nails and a Cross, is one of my favorite of king George's songs. George has a co-writing credit on this song that he shares with Bobby Boyd, Dean Dillon and his son Bubba. We then jump back to 1950 to hear Hank Loklin sing The Holy Train. Then we jump back further for the Prairie Ramblers with their 1935 recording of Do Lord Remember Me. This is followed by one of the legends of rockabilly, Carl Perkins with a medley of old gospel tunes. The songs included in this medley include Amazing Grace, Down By the Riverside, I'll Fly Away and Old Time Religion. This was recorded live in Suffolk in 1978. In his memoir, Never Look at the Empty Seats, Charlie Daniels wrote, "I think the most pressure I was ever under as a songwriter was when I wrote the songs for our first gospel album, The Door. It was such a special project to me. I wanted it to be much more than just another gospel album. I wanted the lyrics to have impact and hopefully speak to some of the people who, like me, had such a hard time understanding the gospel message and were falling through the cracks." (Daniels, 260) Charlie worked very hard on each song and rewrote some multiple times. The effort paid off. This fantastic 1994 album shows The Charlie Daniels Band at their best and it won them their first Dove Award. That is why I am including a song from that album, Jesus Died For You, in this Cowboy Church post. 

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father's God, and I will exalt him. Exodus 15:2

Whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:11

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Luke 12:6-7

For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 2 Corinthians 1:5

 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” Matthew 4:17

Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? Romans 2:4

Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. Revelation 3:3

Thank you for joining me come back next week for another service of Cowboy Church.  Happy Trails to you until we meet again.

-Michael J. Ruhland

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Some Cartoons For Saturday Morning #63

Happy Saturday Morning. Once again that means it is time for more classic cartoons.

People often argue these days about who the most powerful superhero is. However all of you reading this blog know the answer to that. It's Mighty Mouse of course (and as we learn from today's first cartoon, he is "the world's greatest thinker"). While most superheros take a whole feature length to save the day, Mighty Mouse does so in films that last less then seven minutes. In fact considering that he often doesn't show up until near halfway through his cartoons, he does it much quicker. Just a few slapstick gags and the villains are defeating. In The Electronic Mouse (1946), he faces on of his toughest foes.

The Film Daily, 1930
Speaking of superheros. I have to wonder what the heck is up with all he flashing bright colors at the beginning of  the Filmation superhero cartoons and if they ever hurt anybody's eyes. 

Next up comes a very fun early Terry Toon, Cocky Cockroach (1932). The following is a review from The Film Daily, "A lively animated Terry-Toon recounting the adventures of hero cockroach saving his darling from spider villain. The cartoon is done in the heroic manner of grand opera and also melodrama and is very amusing. The musical scoring by Phillip Scheib is original for this opus, and helps to put it over with class." The animation of the cockroach singing to his lady love is by one of my favorite animators Bill Tytla.

Next is an absolute joy of a cartoon from Poland, Cat and Mouse (Myszka i Kotek) (1958).

Following is a delightful animated short film from Yugoslavia, Cow on the Moon (Krava na mjesecu) (1959).

Come back next week for more animated treasures. Peace, love and cartoons.

-Michael J Ruhland

Friday, March 20, 2020

Grandpa Goes to the Movies

I love looking through old issues of Film Fun Magazine. True there are other old movie magazines that are much better for doing actual research into the making and release of classic films, but few are as fun to read as Film Fun. As the title suggests this magazine is simply a lighthearted and silly magazine that talks about movies. Below is a page from a 1919 issue humorously addressing an old man's reaction to this new fangled form of entertainment. Sorry it is a little blurry but if you zoom in it is still very readable.

-Michael J. Ruhland

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

A Magically Delicious St. Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day get out a bowl of Lucky Charms and enjoy these TV commercials.

-Michael J Ruhland 

Forty Shades of Green -Johnny Cash

Hello my friends and happy St. Patrick’s Day. Johnny Cash had a special fondness for Ireland and that occasionally showed up in his song writing. One of the best examples of this was his classic Forty Shades of Green. He began writing this song in 1959 after a lovely trip to Ireland. It was released in 1961 as a B side to The Rebel Johnny Yuma. So enjoy this classic song perfectly appropriate for today.

-Michael J Ruhland

Monday, March 16, 2020

Movie Review: Wendy

Michael's Movie Grade: A-

An original and engrossing take on the Peter Pan legend.

I may be in the minority as most critics and audiences seem to be underwhelmed by this movie, but I loved Wendy. I was completely engrossed in the dark and mysterious fantasy world it presented, so different from any other film version of Peter Pan. This movies not only doesn't shy away from the dark side of the classic legend, but delves into it. The thought of not growing up is lovely and many of us wish the magic of childhood could last forever. Yet this idea sounds better than the harsh reality it would present. To suppress healthy feelings in favor of more simplistic ones. We can't live our lives denying and suppressing every dark thought we have or we can not be fully human. This film's version of Peter can almost seem delusional in his refusal to grow up and this leads to some of the movie's darkest and most powerful moments. Yet in his outward adventurousness there is an appeal to the inward child to all of us. Wendy speaks of a voice that says "sneak away." In Peter we see a clear call to adventure. Yet this movie has more depth than to simply tell us we have to grow up. Much of this movie reminded me of the final words of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, "Lastly, she pictured to herself how this same little sister of hers would, in the after-time, be herself a grown woman; and how she would keep, through all her riper years, the simple and loving heart of her childhood: and how she would gather about her other little children, and make their eyes bright and eager with many a strange tale, perhaps even with the dream of Wonderland of long ago: and how she would feel with all their simple sorrows, and find a pleasure in all their simple joys, remembering her own child-life, and the happy summer days." This is also the same message this film tries to send that we can grow up but not completely let go of the magic and joy of childhood. As a kid at heart this is a message I try to live every day, in that I try to balance being a responsible adult, with childlike joy and excitement. This is shown perfectly in the movie's fantastic balance between dark realism and pure childlike fantasy. 

One thing that all those who disagree with me about this movie still liked was how visually beautiful it was. This movie is a joy to look at from beginning to end. Also making this film work so well is Devin France's wonderful performance as the title character. She plays this role to perfection capturing both all the little subtle nuances as the character and the more broad childlike joy.

I would say that this is a must see movie, but few seem to agree with me on that. So I guess all I can say is that I absolutely loved this film, because it moved something deep down inside of me.

-Michael J. Ruhland

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Cowboy Church #48

Hello my friends and welcome to another service of Cowboy Church.

Today's musical selection starts with Dale Evans singing Where You Are. Next is a song that is performed by what some may consider a strange combination, Johnny Cash and U2. This song, The Wander, was written by Bono in 1993 (under the working title The Preacher). The song was inspired by the book of Ecclesiastes, but takes place in a future time with a narrator who is worried about the lack of God in society. It is considered to be one of Bono's best songs, but for some reason whenever he tried to record it himself, it didn't work for him. Then he came up with the brilliant idea of having Johnny Cash sing the song (this idea came to Bono when he learned Johnny was going to be in Dublin). Bono would say that Johnny would teach him a lot about how to deliver a song like this during this recording section giving advice about how to put over each word effectively. Johnny told a reporter, "I don't know if it will ever be released or even what it's called." The song would be released on the U2 album, Zooropa and John would state that this song gave him a sense of artistic renewal. Next is The Monroe Brothers with their high energy 1937 recording of On My Way to Glory. This followed by another bit of bluegrass flavored gospel with The Stanley Brothers Have A Little Talk With Jesus. This is followed by even more bluegrass gospel music with Ricky Skaggs performing Little Mountain Church House. Next The Sons of the Pioneers remind us to Read the Bible Everyday in a classic 1948 recording. This is followed by The Sons of the San Joaquin with an upbeat fun version of the gospel classic, The Unclouded Day. This recording comes from their incredible 1997 album, Gospel Trails. Today's musical selection finishes with The Carter Family's classic 1927 recording of Can The Circle Be Unbroken. This song was based off of the 1907 Christian hymn (written by Charles H. Gabriel and Ada R. Habershon) Will the Circle Be Unbroken. Uncle A.P. reworked this song changing the lyrics to be about the death of a mother. Though this version would be covered by an incredible amount of artists many of them would change the title back to Will the Circle Be Unbroken as well as changing that one word in the chorus. However these cover versions would use A.P.'s lyrics for the rest of the song. This is one of my all time favorite songs, because it is a sad song, but one which also finds hope within its darkness. This is a song about trusting in God in times when it is very difficult to which is something many gospel songs don't cover but which many Christians struggle with.

Psalm 27

1 The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall.
3 Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.
4 One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.
5 For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.
6 Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD.
7 Hear my voice when I call, LORD; be merciful to me and answer me.
8 My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, LORD, I will seek.
9 Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, God my Savior.
10 Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me.
11 Teach me your way, LORD; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors.
12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, spouting malicious accusations.
13 I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.

14 Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.

Psalm 25

1 In you, LORD my God, I put my trust.
2 I trust in you; do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me.
3 No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause.
4 Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths.
5 Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.
6 Remember, LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old.
7 Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you, LORD, are good.
8 Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
9 He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.
10 All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful toward those who keep the demands of his covenant.
11 For the sake of your name, LORD, forgive my iniquity, though it is great.
12 Who, then, are those who fear the LORD? He will instruct them in the ways they should choose.
13 They will spend their days in prosperity, and their descendants will inherit the land.
14 The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them.
15 My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only he will release my feet from the snare.
16 Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.
17 Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish.
18 Look on my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins.
19 See how numerous are my enemies and how fiercely they hate me!
20 Guard my life and rescue me; do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
21 May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, LORD, is in you.

22 Deliver Israel, O God, from all their troubles!

From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Matthew 4:17

Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? Romans 2:4

Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. Proverbs 28:13

Many plans are in a man's heart, But the counsel of the LORD will stand. Proverbs 19:21

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD. Isaiah 55:8

 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. Jeremiah 29:11-12

 This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. 1 John 1:5

For whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. Romans 10:13

Thanks for joining me come back next week for more Cowboy Church. Happy trails til we meet again.

-Michael J. Ruhland 

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Movie Review: I Still Believe

Michael's Movie Grade: A-

An excellent and moving Christian film that will satisfy Christians, fans of Jeremy Camp and those who love movie romances.

The most obvious thing to praise in a musical bio-pic is the songs. So I'll start there. There is a reason Jeremy Camp is one of the most popular Christian artists today. His music is fantastic and it is a joy to listen to them here.

This movie tackles a subject that is hard for many Christians including myself. This is how to have faith when it is hard to understand why he is letting things happen. This film does nor sugarcoat any of this, letting the full hardness and heartbreak of these situations and the crisis in faith they can cause. We have to understand though that God can use these moments for his own good even if that seems impossible to understand. The title song (which I already liked) takes on a whole new meaning when put into the context of the true story. It is important to remember this among the large amount of Christian movies that either kind of address this issue or don't at all. Yet despite this difficultly this film helps one find the hope among the hard times and does this in a very intelligently but instantly understandable way.

Along with being a musical bio-pic and a Christian film this is also a romance. This is done extremely well. The love story is perfectly set up and extremely believable. The two leads (KJ Apa and Britt Robertson) had fantastic chemistry and it was a joy watching them share the screen. All this made the emotional scenes and the Christian message even more powerful and relatable.

"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:18

-Michael J. Ruhland

Some Cartoons For Saturday Morning #62

Hello my friends and Happy Saturday evening. I am sorry for the delay in this post but I have been extremely busy at my paid job this week.

Today's first cartoon is a delightful late Karzy Kat cartoon from Columbia, The Auto Clinic (1938). Despite this film being from the late 1930's it feels like it is from the early 1930's. Every object is alive and the gags are surreal in that early 1930's way. Still this is a really fun cartoon with a lot of fast paced gags and a lively musical score. A review in The Film Daily called the cartoon a "Clever Cartoon Number" and said, "The robot machines for various mechanical operations are very ingenious." A review in The Motion Picture Daily stated, "There is a good imaginative idea in this cartoon that should be viewed as novel amusement for every audience." 

The most Pre-code cartoons of the early 1930's were certainly the Betty Boop films. Red Hot Mama (1934) was an especially shocking film for the time. The cartoon was even banned in the UK for making Hell look like fun. It definitely didn't go over with everyone in the states as well as evidenced by the following long exhibitor's review from The Motion Picture Herald. "Red Hot Mama: Betty Boop - I can remember several years ago after sound had been established that a great cry arose within the day that youngsters of that day (and the show patrons of tomorrow) were unable to find any entertainment in the movie palaces because the biz had gone high hat and no entertainment remained for them. I screened 'Red Hot Mama' a cartoon yesterday on my Sunday matinee, hence this letter. I have always felt that in screening these cartoons the youngsters were getting a treat. I enjoy their hearty laughs and suppressed excitement when their favorite cartoon is on the screen. However the cartoon, 'Red Hot Mama' must have been drawn while the guy was drunk. Betty Boop starts out sweetly, is suddenly transported to Hell and pursued and tortured by all sorts of fire devils, imps and what have yous. One variety, the ability to bound in the air and come down on a spear studded tail stabbed in the floor. A grand subject for your juvenile trade?  Naturally my Sunday program was without a cartoon. The only recommendation I have for this is that the one responsible for it it be compelled to sit through a screening of this net time he has a pink elephant fantasy. Some exhibs have said they hesitant to report on products through the herald for fear of getting in bad with the local exchange. My opinion is that people who are sincere in this business welcome constructive criticism. Report fairly on pictures of merit and likewise that class of product that is detrimental to our interests. I am not a crank but it is cartoons such as Symphonies and 'Jack and the Beanstalk,' "Little Red Hen' that are in demand and not such a thing as 'Red Hot Mama.' - E. A. Reynolds, Strand Theatre, Minn., Small town and country patronage."

When Gene Dietch took over the Terrytoons studio in 1956, the studio's output changed drastically. One cartoon that really shows this is The Bone Ranger (1957). The idea of a dog chasing after a bone was one that could have easily been done by the old studio, however they would have done it completely differently. They would have made a simple slapstick gag fest. However this cartoon seems more concerned with the character and the animation of the lead character, than really making one laugh. The slapstick impact of even tired and true gags appears muted here and never calls attention to itself. There is even a surprising bit of sentimentality in this film. The background art is also completely different from anything the old Terrytoons would have done. Those cartoons would have used a standard cartoon background that would hardly call attention to itself. However this film has a very stylized and very eye-catching background that plays a large role in the effectiveness of this cartoon. 

Next is one of the old school Terrytoons before Gene Deitch took over. This cartoon stars Mighty Mouse and is called Hot Rods (1953).

Following is a very late Looney Tunes cartoon, Quacker Tracker (1967). This is one of those Daffy Duck and Speedy Gonzales films. It is not one of the highest quality Looney Tunes, but it is fun in its own strange way.

Today's cartoon selection ends with an excellent silent Felix the Cat cartoons, Felix Pinches the Pole (1924).

-Michael J. Ruhland 

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Movie Review: The Hunt

Michael's Movie Grade: D-

Despite this movie's constant attempts to be controversial and edgy, once you get down to it, it doesn't really say anything.

This film is nowhere near as smart as it thinks it is. It constantly references the current political climate, but makes no actual commentary than basically to say that both sides are jerks. The liberal characters are mean spirited caricatures of liberals and the conservatives are mean spirited caricatures of conservatives. This is in the end the height of this film's political commentary, yet it is constantly shoved down our throats like it is some brilliant revelation. It isn't this is stuff we have seen in mindless comedies a million times, yet we are supposed to take it as something brilliant and thought provoking here. This all makes this the weakest kind of satire imaginable. It presents its message in a heavy-handed manner yet says nothing at all.

Another problem with making the characters all complete caricatures is that it is hard to care about any of them. Because of this the only reaction I had when a character died was "that was really gory." Because of this there is not the satisfaction of seeing the bad guys being killed or the horror of the good guys being killed. There is just simply people being killed. This makes the gore simply unpleasant to look at and little else. This works against this movie's attempts at suspense because in the end, we really don't care what happens one way or another. 

While the majority of the humor in this film falls completely flat not working on a single level, there were a couple moments that made me laugh. After these moments were over, I couldn't help but wish the rest of the film could have captured the dark comedy in these scenes. Unfortunately these are isolated moments in what is otherwise a complete mess of a movie.

If you want to watch a movie about humans hunting other humans watch The Most Dangerous Game.
-Michael J. Ruhland

TCM Film Festival is Cancelled.

Sad news my friends, due to the Coronavirus, there will be no TCM Festival this year. As a huge lover of the TCM fest and someone who looks so forward to this every year I am saddened by the news. Since I can not control the world around me though, there is little I can do. I am still looking forward to the 2021 festival however.

God bless you all and try not to let this news depress you too much.

-Michael J. Ruhland

Monday, March 9, 2020

Movie Review: Emma.

Michael's Movie Grade: A+

A top notch film adaption of Jane Austen's classic novel.

This movie is a pure joy to watch from beginning to end. Emma is as charming as anyone could ever hope for. This is due in no small part to an incredible performance by Anya Taylor-Joy as the title character. Already so early in her career this young actress has already proven to be one of the brightest upcoming stars and here she is given a role that suits her perfectly. She never goes out of her way to make her character likable, yet we can't look away from her whenever she is onscreen. Mia Goth is also just as incredible as Harriet Smith and quickly wins our hearts. Much of this charm is also due to the fantastic direction by Autumn De Wilde (in what is shockingly her feature film debut). She had previously been a music video director and that probably plays a large part in why this film is so visually and stylistically gorgeous (though of course cinematographer Christopher Blauvelt and art director Alice Sutton have a lot to do with this as well). As soon as the film starts it's unique look immediately captures your attention. De Wilde also does an excellent job at making this movie flow at a relaxed pace without the film ever feeling slow or boring. This film is just as much a comedy as a period drama and although the humor is much less broad than your average Hollywood comedy, it is no less funny and I certainly wasn't the only one in the theater who laughed quite a bit. Every comedic bit is perfectly set up and pays off beautifully. Yet none of it distracts from the story itself, which is also very charming.

I don't want to give any summary of this picture as if you don't know Jane Austen's novel it is best to go into Emma not knowing what to except. Just know that the film is completely and utterly delightful.

-Michael J. Ruhland

Movie Review: The Way Back

Michael's Movie Grade: B

While this follows the cliches set by so many other sports films, it tells its story well with some surprisingly effective emotional scenes.

We have all seen these types of movies before and know what to except. Therefore for the get go The Way Back has little chance of wowing us with originality. So what matters most with a movie like this is how well it tells its story and this film does a surprisingly good job. The one thing about this movie that does surprise is that it goes into darker areas than the average feel good sports drama. Our main character has lost his son and has let this descend him to depression and alcoholism. Most sports dramas would use this as a an obstacle that sports helps him overcome but this movie dives into the darkness that is happening in the man's soul. When we see him hit bottom we really see him hit bottom and some scenes can be plain difficult to watch. This is helped by Ben Affleck giving one of his best performances. One scene in a hospital is a simple yet undeniably powerful moment that stuck in my mind after the movie was finished. However I must admit that this part of the story can be too rushed and simplified in order to have your more typical sports drama scenes. These parts of the movie are cliche as can be and features dialogue we have heard a million times. However director Gavin O'Connor (Miracle) knows his way around this type of movie and manages to make even the most cliche material work.

   -Michael J. Ruhland

Movie Music Monday: South of the Border

The movies have served as a musical education to me. They have constantly broadened and expanded my musical taste and knowledge and continue to do so. From the cowboy music of The Sons of the Pioneers, Gene Autry and Roy Rogers to the classical music of Fantasia to the musical standards of the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers musicals to the rock and roll of Elvis Presley and concert films like The Last Waltz (1978) to jazz legends like Miles Davis, Paul Whiteman and Louis Armstrong to crooners like Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, movies have helped introduce me to so much great music. These Movie Music Monday posts I hope will give you some of the same experience the movies have given me.

Today's song is South of the Border. In Gene Autry's autobiography, he remembered how he first became acquainted with this song. He wrote, "Neither a prison in Nashville nor an airfield in Dallas was the oddest place I ever found a song. That happened during my prewar tour of the British Isles in 1939. Two young Englishmen, Michael Carr and Jimmy Kennedy, visited my dressing room in Dublin between shows. They had written a song with me in mind and hoped I would record it. The song was 'South of the Border.' They had never been to Mexico and had seen it only in my films (which meant they were probably looking at Arizona). How two Englishmen came to write a song about a country they had never seen, for a movie cowboy they had never met is a question I wish I could answer. But 'South of the Border' sold over a million copies." (Autry, 27). Later in the book Gene wrote, "As luck would have it one of the things I brought back was the song written for me by the two British lads Michael Carr and Jimmy Kennedy - 'South of the Border.' There was even time for a script to be written and for the film of the same name to become our last release for 1939." (Autry, 74). The following is an exhibitor's review of that movie from The Motion Picture Herald, "South of the Border: Gene Autry, Smiley Burnette - Here is one exhibitor who is thanking the Almighty that Republic discovered Gene Autry and 'South of the Border is the answer to our prayer. We played it three days to sell out business. Never saw the like of it. Don't know where they came from. Wish we had played it a week. Any exhibitor who hasn't played this one has missed the boat. Did more business than 'Snow White' by $175 in three days against four days. More than 'Boys Town,' 'Jesse James' and 'Kentucky' and that's something. We're going to try it book it for a return showing in a couple months. I didn't think it was possible to do business on this picture like we did. Were the creditors tickled! We gave it a big campaign in advance and it paid; yes sir! If any of our good friends out west haven't played this, do so. - Harold Rankin, Plaza Theatre, Tilbury, Ontario, Canada. General Patronage."

Gene wasn't the only one to record this song in 1939. Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians, also did their version.

Shep Fields and His Rippling Rhythm Orchestra also recorded the song in 1939, having one of their biggest hits.

Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys recorded one of my favorite versions of the song in 1948.

Frank Sinatra had a hit off the song in 1953.

Mel Tormé performed the song on his 1959 album, ¡Olé Tormé!: Mel Tormé Goes South of the Border with Billy May.

Pasty Cline did a version for her 1961 album Showcase.

Jazz musician Herb Alpert used the song as the title track for a 1964 album.

Chuck Berry did a cover of the song on his self titled 1975 album. Chuck changed the lyrics more than little.

Willie Nelson recorded this song twice for his 1988 album What a Wonderful World.

-Michael J. Ruhland


Sunday, March 8, 2020

Cowboy Church # 47

Hello my friends and welcome back for another round of Cowboy Church.

Today's musical selection starts with Gene Autry singing Somebody Bigger Than You or I in a clip from his movie, The Old West (1952).  Johnny Cash often felt strong connection with the Apostle Paul. He would even write a book about Paul's life entitled Man in White as well as a song of the same title. In the introduction for the book John wrote "After all Paul became my hero. He was invincible! He made it his life's mission to convert the idolatrous, pagan world over to Jesus Christ. And he did everything he planned that he lived long enough to do." With this in mind it is no surprise that he wrote a song like One of these Days I'm Gonna Sit Down and Talk to Paul. Now that John has passed on, I can't help but wonder what he has said to Paul and what Paul has said to him. Next is Ray Price singing a lovely version of What a Friend We Have in Jesus from his 1976 gospel album, Precious Memories. This is followed by a very upbeat and fast paced fun version of the gospel classic, There's Power in the Blood. The Sons of the San Joaquin are performing this classic and this recording comes from their 1997 album, Gospel Trails. After this Glen Campbell sings In the Garden. Next is The Monroe Brothers with their fantastic 1936 recording of My Savior's Train. It is unfortunately unknown who wrote this song or how long it has been in existence. However The Monroe Brothers helped create a popularity for this song with this recording. This recording inspired versions of this song by the likes of Flatt and Scruggs and The Lily Brothers. It is not hard to see why this version made the song popular. The fast paced instrumentation is toe-tapping bluegrass music at its finest and the brother's high harmonies are lovely. Charlie Monroe would record a live solo version of this song in September 1975, the same month he would pass away from cancer. That recording will follow. Roy Rogers, Dale Evans and The Sons of the Pioneers will all join in with us in singing, The Place Where I Worship. Ending today's musical selection is Skeeter Davis with I'll Meet You in the Morning.

Today's movie is a silent short film starring Bronco Billy Anderson called Bronco Billy's Narrow Escape (1912).

Psalm 48
1 Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, his holy mountain.
2 Beautiful in its loftiness, the joy of the whole earth, like the heights of Zaphon is Mount Zion, the city of the Great King.
3 God is in her citadels; he has shown himself to be her fortress.
4 When the kings joined forces, when they advanced together,
5 they saw her and were astounded; they fled in terror.
6 Trembling seized them there, pain like that of a woman in labor.
7 You destroyed them like ships of Tarshish shattered by an east wind.
8 As we have heard, so we have seen in the city of the LORD Almighty, in the city of our God: God makes her secure forever.
9 Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love.
10 Like your name, O God, your praise reaches to the ends of the earth; your right hand is filled with righteousness.
11 Mount Zion rejoices, the villages of Judah are glad because of your judgments.
12 Walk about Zion, go around her, count her towers,
13 consider well her ramparts, view her citadels, that you may tell of them to the next generation.
14 For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles  7:14
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away. Acts 3:19

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. James 1:17

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

When you have eaten and are satisfied, you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you. Deuteronomy 8:10

Thank you for joining me come back next week for more Cowboy Church. Happy Trails to you until we meet again.

-Michael J. Ruhland

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Some Cartoons For Saturday Morning #61

Hello my friends and happy Saturday morning. Once again that means it is time for some classic cartoons.

Today’s selection starts off with a short film from Russian director Fyodor Khitruck called Story of One Crime (1961). This movie was the first directed by Khitruck (who had spent 25 years as an animator) and differed from earlier society animation by having a more stylized look. This film gained some controversy on its release by being critical of Soviet society. However the movie proved very popular and finally helped animators in Soviet Russia to gain more artistic freedom.

The Max Fleischer Color Classic cartoons are mostly a response to Disney’s Silly Symphonies. As such many of these films feel more like a Silly Symphony than a Fleischer cartoon. There were however exceptions that had a personality all their own. One of the best of these was A Car-Tune Portrait (1937). A review in the Motion Picture Herald called this, "A swiftly-paced animated cartoon effectively photographed in Technicolor." An exhibitor's review (also in the Motion Picture Herald stated, "One I kept away from. Why I don't know but its good and if you haven't played it pick it up." Another stated "This is as a good a short as has been made by any producer. Play it in a top spot."  

Motion Picture Herald, 1935

Next comes a delightful Pooch the Pup cartoon from the Walter Lantz studio, The Crowd Snores (1932). I love early 1930's rubber hose animation and this film is full of it. In fact there as many rubber hose gags as can possibly fit into a 7 minute cartoon. Every object is alive and made of extra stretchy rubber. An exhibitor's review in The Motion Picture Herald stated "These are always good." This shows that though forgotten today, Pooch had some popularity back in his day. Watching this film it is not hard to figure out why.

Following is a Looney Tunes cartoon starring the series' first starring character Bosko. The film is Bosko's Dog Race (1932). Though these early Bosko cartoon may not greatly resemble later Looney Tunes, they are very entertaining in their own right. A review in the Motion Picture Herald stated "Not unusual, this animated cartoon is nevertheless entertaining." An exhibitor's review (also in The Motion Picture Herald) stated, "Extra good cartoon for kids as well as adults enjoyed it."

Next is a fun Terrytoons cartoon, Just a Little Bull (1940). An exhibitor's review in The Motion Picture Herald stated, "A dandy short. None better."


In the later years of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies, Daffy Duck and Speedy Gonzales were often pitted against one another. While these were hardly the best films of either series, they are entertaining in their own weird way. Here is one of those cartoons, Feather Finger (1966).

Ending today’s cartoon selection is a classic Donald Duck cartoon Trombone Trouble (1944).

Thank you for joining me and come back next week for more animated treasures. Until then peace, love and cartoons.

-Michael J. Ruhland