Random semiconscious musings

Sunday, August 26, 2007

It's Fair Today

Hi readers.... ok first, the excuses. Summer is coming to a close and this traditionally means that I am busy beyond comprehension. So I apologize for the absence of a plethora of regular posts, even though I have lots of cool stuff to share....

With the recent release of the magnificent Universal Studios DVD set featuring Woody Woodpecker and Friends, I'm personally happy that many people can finally see what masterpieces these cartoons are, since they have been yanked from syndication for many years now due to appearing 'dated'. The Lantz Studios were somewhat of a revolving door for many fantastic talents from all different studios, especially the big names like Disney, Warner Brothers, Famous, and Columbia Pictures. Even though this roster of talent might infer that the studio's output looked like a mishmash of ideas, it was surprising how the multitude of energies available came together to produce a once-in-an-eternity collaboration of success after success. I am a devout, unrelentless fan of the "Swing Symphonies".... just one of those cartoons is better than an entire season of much of the crap that's on TV today.

Without further ado I thought I would present one of my favourite Universal cartoons from 1941, the rarely-seen "Fair Today".... Jon, it's for you! This was always one of my favourites even when I was a child watching it on Channel 10's lunchtime cartoon shows. My brother and I used to always repeat lines from cartoons we thought were funny and the "Have you seen my little boy?" bit from this struck us as exceptionally amusing, where we would fill in the word "boy" with something else, and proceed to deliver the punchline with much the same enthusiasm as the old woman at the end of the cartoon (Yeah I know, I was a weird kid. But weird kids make for interesting adults ;) )

Anyway, why do I like this cartoon?

Basically, because it's stupid. The jokes are silly and simple. It's superficial- and that's why I like it. It reflects the light-hearted and dopey mindset of many people in the early 40s... (especially since the threat of war loomed on the horizon). Personally, I don't always feel like watching something and having to assess the sociopolitical ramifications of exposure to segregate populace or the subversive underlying intonations of satirical content.... I just want to appreciate dumb jokes.

There's some half-decent Les Kline animation in here (if you can believe it... maybe it was before he got sloppy in the mid-40s.... see the "J-E-L-L-Y" scene...) some nice Laverne Harding animation (she did all the old Lady stuff and a few of the farm animals, namely the bull and the penguin) and some extremely hilarious Alex Lovy animation to boot too (I believe he did the bit with the "draft horses" and the pickpocket.. very funny....) Does anyone know what Ralph Somerville contributed to this cartoon?

Plus I really appreciate the 'adult' jokes in here....

(and for the last time... cartoons were NOT NECESSARILY MADE FOR KIDS..... hence the 'corn' gag, one of the funniest jokes in the cartoon).

Huge thanks go out to Mark Kausler. Enjoy.