Random semiconscious musings

Monday, August 04, 2008

Censored Cartoons suck

What is it August already? Holy moly, where does the time go. Better dust off those cartoons and get posting again.


OK- I agree that Bob Clampett made some cartoons that were real masterpieces. I also agree that he contributed to the Golden Age of animation in huge offerings. He had a fantastic staff of writers and an even better roster of animators at his disposal.

But I will not consider him a god.

There were no directors in the history of WB's studio that had a perfect track record. Each and every one of them had standouts, and each and every one had real dogs. But the more I watch Clampett's cartoons, the more I see his either relying on topical references, other entertainment venues, or borrowing from previous directors (especially Tex Avery). It's more of a case of, "When he was good, he was very, very good- but when he was bad....."

So today I thought I would bring to you one of Bob's lesser received efforts. What's really odd is that this cartoon is bookended by two hilarious cartoons of his, "Porky's Last Stand" and "Ali Baba Bound". At times I wonder if he just wasn't under pressure to submit something to the output schedule, since it seems like this entry is rushed and stuffed with long-winded, one-note reference jokes, so he threw together whatever he had available and called it a cartoon.

Back to the title: I hate censored cartoons- mostly because as a grown man, I don't appreciate someone else preaching to me what is and isn't appropriate for my viewing pleasure. I think I'm old enough to choose this for myself by now, and should have the full intended version available to me if I want it.

This particular cartoon has been televised and severely edited in the process. All the caricatures of the African Natives have been excised, trimming the length of this cartoon from 7:14 to 3:38.... pretty pathetic, isn't it. And there really aren't any derogatory jokes made from the caricatures either (like direct slavery references or mocking the Natives' facial features). They're just drawn as caricatured Natives.

Clampett threw a couple of topical references into this cartoon- one is boxer Tony Galento, seen at approximately 2:33.

Later on in the cartoon, we are treated to the big band sounds of the "Professor of Swing", Kay Kyser... I love that big band sound, hotcha.

He also uses a running gag featuring Spencer Tracer as "Stanley" parodied from the 1939 movie, "Stanley And Livingstone", who continually looks for Livingstone. Notice when we first see Kay Kyser in Spencer Tracy's exposure, he originally looks like "Livingstone" from the movie as well, until he pulls off the mask.

The title is also a parody of the previously released movie from Columbia Studios in 1930, "Africa Speaks".

Does anyone know who the Mayor is that's caricatured at 3:35?

Also, listen for the Elmer-ish sounding Kangaroo at 3:21.

So here is Clampett's "Africa Squeaks" in its total uncut form... yes, it's a real groaner, many jokes lost due to dating of the references.... so at least enjoy the wonderful animation by John Carey and Vive Risto.