I Werks Long Hours

Recently my shop got multiple custom orders, and naturally, everything has to ship on the same day; Murphy’s Law is strictly enforced at my job. So I’ve been working 10 hour days, 6 days a week, plus commute time.

While my bank account is feeling quite robust, I personally have very little left in the way of brains. Since I’ve been unable to concentrate on anything for very long, I’ve been watching short cartoons. This week I bring you a quick roundup of some non-Betty Boop Ub Iwerks shorts. All of these are FREE to view and download at the Internet Archive.

iwerks_hubbardFirst, and in the best condition, we have Old Mother Hubbard. Released in 1935 under the Comi-Color title, it’s based on the nursery rhyme of the same name, with a few twists. Mother Hubbard is laundress for the King, but she’s still got a bare cupboard. When her dog travels to the castle with the laundry, he gets distracted by the smell of chicken wafting from the royal kitchen. (Yes, indeed, he floats nose-first in the waft until he reaches the kitchen window.) Through a series of silly incidents, he makes the previously morose king back into his jolly old self. Dog and Mother are rewarded, and there’s a dance number. While the color is faded, the print is overall in very good condition, and the sound quality is decent. The songs are silly, but upbeat. At about 8 minutes, it’s a cute thing to watch.

iwerks_willie

Courtesy of blu-ray.com

Next we have The Air Race from 1933, starring Willie Whopper. The sound is decent, but the visual quality is quite poor on this one – it looks better if you don’t bring it up to full-screen size. This may be due to the fact that the cartoon was never released by MGM, until it was revised into a later version entitled Spite Flight. This was definitely not designed for kids – at one point the planes in the race are flying so high that they buzz St. Peter at the gates of Heaven – and he flips them the bird. Yeah, you read that right. It’s only seven and a half minutes long, go watch it for yourself if you don’t believe me.

iwerks_rudolphFinally, it’s out of season, but I think you might enjoy Max Fleischer’s version of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Released in 1948, it was the first film in which Ruldolph appears. I’m sure you know the basic story, so I’ll just add that the deer (and other animals) are slightly more anthropomorphic than the ones on the 1968 stop-motion film. It’s a little less than 9 minutes long, and 1:15 of that is the opening credits. Note the web address watermark in the lower-right corner: tvdays.com is the web home of Ira H. Gallen, and a wonderful resource for stock footage, vintage commercials, and rare TV and movie clips. It’s a great place to go down the rabbit hole.

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