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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Old Man of the Mountain & Oogie Boogie's Song

I don't think I've ever talked about a Betty Boop cartoon before, but I guess there's a first time for everything.

This particular one, The Old Man of the Mountain, is one I think I was drawn to because of the music choice. Cab Calloway actually did some songs for the cartoons. I know he also sang for Minnie the Moocher (without a doubt the biggest mindfuck of the animated world).

I have the funny feeling what draws me to the Fliecher's cartoons of this era was simply the animation and the music... that's it! Even though the stories were weak and weird as hell, at least they aren't boring! In fact, I think most of them are really funny simply because of how crazy these cartoons were. (kind of like watching Ren and Stimpy, actually.) Old Man is probably my personal favorite one so far. You can watch it below.

I also wanted to bring up the kind of influence Betty Boop has on animation, even today.

I'm sure someone's gonna read this and think: What does The Nightmare Before Christmas have to do with Betty Boop? Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

Actually, I want you guys to find this movie (if you have it) and watch it again. Specifically, watch the scene where the main villain Oogie-Boogie enters. That whole song sequence seems to have somewhat been influenced on those Calloway-Beety Boop catoons. From what I've researched, Tim Burton asked the film's composer, Danny Elfman, to listen to Minnie the Moocher as an aid for writting Oogie-Boogie's song. You can really feel the influence in the song. There's even a line from the original cartoon that was homaged in the movie! I'm not saying what it is, though!

The song itself is really damn good. I'd be lying if I didn't say it wasn't one of the best villian songs ever composed! I can tell that Oogie's actor, Ken Page, seemed to really enjoy himself when singing this. He really seems to combine the darkness and sadistic nature of the character with the pure enjoyment of what Oogie plans on doing with Santa. In fact, I think you can learn everything you need to know about Oogie is in this song. (aside from what he's really stuffed with. Again, watch it for yourself!)

Don't believe me? Watch it yourself!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Professor Ludwig von Drake

My God, I love this guy! He always brightens my day with his kooky narrations and wacky inventions. I just think he's one of the most underrated Disney characters out there (Trust me, there's a lot!). Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think he was created by Bill Justice (Wikipedia now says both Walt and Milt Kahl created him now) as a host for The Wonderful World of Color. As an added bonus, Paul Frees created that wonderful German accent he speaks in. Today, the equally-talented Corey Burton performs him. Below are some videos of his best stuff, including his Academy Award nominated short, A Symposium on Popular Songs (1962), and two of my favorite shorts of his from House of Mouse.