Random semiconscious musings

Sunday, October 14, 2007

I Got-ta Da Frutt Cake

This marks the end of my first week home from my vacation last week. Believe it or not, I actually talk about cartoons, even when I'm on holidays. This last vacation was no different.

I'm now going to prove that cartoons are educational.

While at our resort, my friend was speaking about foods as we ate dinner. He is of Italian extraction, and at the time, the meal we were enjoying was a sort of seafood mix, the likes of which he said is eaten quite often in the area he originates from in Italy. He also elaborated by telling me the names of many of these foods in Italian, which when he does, I find rather entertaining.

The discussion led to the humorous topic of how English-speaking Italians manipulate the English language because Italian dialect has certain repetitive intonations and syllables. At one point he referred to a popular Italian song, which he proceeded to sing a few bars. Within a few seconds I asked myself, "Hey- I know this melody, and I'm not Italian."

I asked him to sing a bit more of it, which he did. I told him I know this song but I can't recall from where. He said that he wondered how I'd have known it, since it wouldn't have been a song that I'd have learned in school or from the radio, especially since there would have been no Italian influence in my upbringing. It was a mystery until I started thinking about cartoons again.

When I was growing up I was lucky enough to be able to watch local indie stations air classic cartoons at lunchtime and on Saturday mornings. I got to see just about every studio's output imaginable. I'm a big fan of the Famous Studios cartoons and as a kid I loved them even more. I especially liked the sing-a-longs and loved the scenes where the lettering would morph into some animated character or object and dance its way off the screen. It was from these cartoons that I also subliminally learned many folk songs, anthems, and big band pieces that were heard in many other production numbers outside of cartoons.

And it dawned on me- the Italian song my friend was singing was featured in a Famous Studios song cartoon, "No Place Like Rome"... (although he was singing it in Italian...)

So here it is... a special cartoon on my blog dedicated to my Italian friend.

See, cartoons are educational.


  • From an education point -- animation-wise -- the cartoon also has some mild early examples of the UPA-zation of the Famous Studio cartoons Al Eugster would start doing more and more in the mid-1950s, with the stylized designs of the spaghetti eater and the opera singer. Both foreshadow the look that would become common in Paramount cartoons by 1957.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:55 AM  

  • Good point John-

    Another example of that is the walk cycle of the characters entering the Tower of Pisa- their upper bodies are on a slid cel and their legs are the only thing animated. This was a very common corner-cutter by the time the full stylization set in.

    By Blogger Larry T, at 8:37 PM  

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