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“Things-come-to-life”

Posted in WB Cartoon Companion on March 24, 2004

    Popular term for a long-lived genre of cartoons at Warner Brothers. A precise definition of the genre is a difficult to come by, but in general it involves a setting in which inanimate figures spring to life from magazine covers, advertisements, food labels, or whatever else happens be handy, depending on the cartoon’s setting. The figures interact with one another, producing the gags.

    Quite common in the Harman-Ising era, the genre managed to live on though the late 1930s with a nifty trio of cartoons directed by Frank Tashlin, right on into the mid 40s, when Bob Clampett capped the genre with his manic Book Revue (1946): the last word in this type of cartoon.

    The author considers the following cartoons to be examples of the genre, acknowledging that certain cartoons may not be on this list which might well qualify:

        Red Headed Baby (Harman/Ising, 1931)
        A Great Big Bunch of You (Harman/Ising, 1932)
        The Shanty Where Santy Claus Lives (Harman/Ising, 1933)
        Three’s a Crows (Harman/Ising, 1933)
        I Like Mountain Music (Harman/Ising, 1933)
        We’re In the Money (Harman/Ising, 1933)
        Sittin’ on a Backyard Fence (Duvall, 1933)
        How Do I Know It’s Sunday (Freleng, 1934)
        The Girl at the Ironing Board (Freleng, 1934)
        Those Beautiful Dames (Freleng, 1934)
        Buddy Steps Out (King, 1935)
        Billboard Frolics (Freleng, 1935)
        Toytown Hall (Freleng, 1936)
        Speaking of the Weather (Tashlin, 1937)
        September in the Rain (Freleng, 1937)
        Have You Got Any Castles? (Tashlin, 1938)
        You’re an Education (Tashlin, 1938)
        Sniffles and the Bookworm (Jones, 1939)
        Goofy Groceries (Clampett, 1941)
        Book Revue (Clampett, 1946)

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• The Warner Brothers Cartoon Companion is © (copyright) 1996 E. O. Costello. All rights reserved.

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