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‘Joy Like This Cannot Be Bought!’ A Cartoon Variation of Hansel and Gretel

After exploring all 75 of the Silly Symphony cartoons in spring, now we explore their competitors this summer. Fleischer Studios, home of Betty Boop, released "Little Dutch Mill," the second in the Color Classics series, on October 26, 1934.

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PJ Lifestyle Cartoon at Noon

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July 14, 2014 - 12:00 pm

Does this cartoon have an anti-bankers, anti-capitalist message? Is the villain an offensive stereotype? What do you think?

How can conservatives conquer Hollywood? PJ Lifestyle editor Dave Swindle argued in March 2014 that it was through studying how technological changes transformed the culture in the age of classic Hollywood. In this ongoing series mid-day Monday-Friday at PJ Lifestyle he highlights animated short films from the 1920s, '30s and 1940s, beginning with an emphasis on Walt Disney's Silly Symphonies. What are some of your favorite cartoons of the era? Please email URLs to DaveSwindlePJM[@]gmail.com or tweet to @DaveSwindle for shorts you'd like to see featured in the future. Image illustration courtesy shutterstock / Ismagilov.

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All Comments   (3)
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In the Fleischer's world, the cartoon's lead animator was the cartoon's de facto director -- in this case, Willard Bowsky, who was described by fellow animator Shamus Culhane as the studio's resident Republican/anti-FDR guy on staff. He'd probably have been the last one to deliberately put out a short backing Roosevelt's actions against the banks and Wall Street (though this early in the Color Classics' series, listed director Dave Fleischer was far more involved in the crafting of each short, and as with the case with the following "Song of the Birds" may have been the one to drive the story line here).
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is great. The complaint is against "filthy" money-men. Men who put money and it's acquisition and keeping first, unconcerned with other things. As the pigpen-ish mad man main character says when introduced: he likes to be mean and dirty.

Would that not today be like the corrupt wealthy of todays culture? Like the Hip-Hop billionaires whose wealth comes from marketing morally-blind licentious and violent lyric laid down on simple rhythm-based tunes? Or the filth and debased morals pushed out into the culture by Hollywood and Broadway? Or the dirty, greasy hands of the corruptocrats in DC, NY, and every regional power center? Such debased ethos perversely comes to rudely express a love of being dirty and mean. Do we not see that in the Liberal mindset today? Especially the force-it-down-your-throats mentality of PC?

In the culture of the time -- 1934 -- the Dutch were regarded as an example of the moral high ground, combining a modest lifestyle with cleanliness and community, in a village centered lifestyle not unlike the shetls. Of course the Dutch were also known as shrewd businessmen, but that aspect does not make it into this short.

Yet the Dutch cultural ethic can be quite selfish and heartless, hyper-individualistic, as any study of the Dutch experience in early America will show again and again, and as tragically demonstrated in the reality of the German occupation during WWII where 72% of the Jewish population of the Netherlands was exterminated.

Also: here's a site that gives the technical information and excellent technical illustrations of how this particular Fleischer cartoon was made: http://www.michaelspornanimation.com/splog/?p=2707
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Can't quite wrap my head around the idea that this Zukor-Fleischer work could be based on the 30's Euro vision of 'The JEW'.
All I can say is that it really was a different world then.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
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