It’s Scrappy time again — just as every day should be. If we watched a Scrappy cartoon a week we’d be watching them for a little over two years!
Behind the scenes at Thunderbean is all about drawing for an upcoming project, moving files, finishing this or that and really just catching up on various things on the long list of things to catch up. I’ve been working at night making final versions of Flip the Frogs for the Blu-ray set, smiling the whole time. More films have been arriving to scan in the coming weeks, and my kitty Bouba, a faithful companion otherwise, jumped behind my computer and unplugged several USB connections as files were transferring, corrupting a sound file I had just scanned from a print. Tail between my legs (or more properly Bouba’s tail between the USB ports!) I had to write Mark Kausler back and break the news that I may need to borrow the same print back again! I won’t hold it against Bouba, but I’m putting a bunch of obstacles behind this computer from now on to prevent his less-than-productive meddling.
By this point next week, I hope to have the majority of Flips all on their final versions. I’ll share some of the work on the in next week’s post.
Now, onto this week’s cartoon: Graduation Exercises!
Ben Harrison and Manny Gould spent most of their time in the 30s working on Krazy Kat or Color Rhapsody cartoons at Columbia, but they did tackle two Scrappy cartoons in 1935: Scrappy’s Ghost Story and Graduation Exercises. I don’t think either film is a classic, but it’s interesting to see the difference in having a different team working on a Scrappy.
Graduation Exercises, this week’s cartoon, starts out great: Scrappy and Oopy are on their way to Scrappy’s last day of class. Oopy’s distractions cause Scrappy to be late to graduation, so Oopy devises a plot to sneak into class so Scrappy can still graduate.
The contrast of the characters moods in the first sequences of the film are just wonderful, and the film really shows promise. Sadly, once in the classroom, the film nearly falls flat, turning into a basic chase, missing the mark on following in the footsteps of pretty good first act.
The character animation is wonderful as Scrappy and Oopy dress up to attempt to fool the teacher. Some of the action and animation continues to be fun throughout (the timing on the pin on the chair gag is really nicely done) but the film really goes nowhere more interesting. Still, the animation alone makes it a fun outing. It holds up as simple entertainment, save for one unfortunate black stereotype/ Eddie Cantor impression.
I watched this cartoon again twice tonight to just enjoy the animation. Make sure to pull out your Scrappy Puppet theatre and light it with your Scrappy Christmas lights so you can relive their adventures after the cartoon is over. Have a good week everyone!