Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske & Jack Kinney (1948)

Melody Time is a 1948 American live-action/animated musical film produced by Walt Disney. The tenth Disney animated feature film, it was released to theatres by RKO Radio Pictures on May 27, 1948. Made up of seven segments set to popular music and folk music, the film is, like Make Mine Music before it, the popular music version of Fantasia. Melody Time, while not meeting the artistic accomplishments of Fantasia, was mildly successful. It is the fifth Disney package film following Saludos Amigos, The Three Caballeros, Make Mine Music, and Fun and Fancy Free.

“In the grand tradition of Disney’s greatest musical classics, such as Fantasia, Melody Time features seven classic stories, each enhanced with high-spirited music and unforgettable characters. A feast for the eyes and ears full of wit and charm. A delightful Disney classic with something for everyone”.

Walt Disney

Melody Time is considered to be the last anthology feature made by the Walt Disney Animation Studios. These package features were little-known short-film compilations that Disney produced and released as feature films during World War II. They were financially and artistically lightweight productions meant to bring in profits to allow the studio to return to fairy tale single-narrative feature form, an endeavour which they successfully completed two years later with Cinderella. While the shorts contrast in length, form, and style, a common thread throughout is that each is accompanied by songs from musicians and vocalists of the ’40s. This sets it apart from the similarly structured Fantasia, whose segments were set to classical music instead. As opposed to Fun and Fancy Free, whose story was bound to the tales of Bongo and Jack and the Beanstalk, in this film Walt Disney has let his animators and his color magicians have free rein.

Rose Pelswick, in a 1948 review for The News-Sentinel, described the film as an ‘adventure into the intriguing make-believe world peopled by Walt Disney’s Cartoon characters”. It also explains that “with the off-screen voice of Buddy Clark doing the introductions, the episodes include fantasy, folklore, South American rhythms, poetry, and slapstick”. A 1948 review by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette described it as a “mixture of fantasy, abstraction, parable, music, color, and movement”.

Once Upon a Wintertime

This segment features Frances Langford singing the title song about two romantic young lovers on a winter day in December, during the late 19th century. The couple are Jenny and Joe (unlike most Disney cartoons, Jenny and Joe lack spoken dialogue). Joe shows off on the ice for Jenny, and near-tragedy and a timely rescue ensues. This is intertwined with a similar rabbit couple.

Bumble Boogie

This segment presents a surrealistic battle for a solitary bumblebee as he tries to ward off a visual and musical frenzy. The music, courtesy of Freddy Martin and His Orchestra (with Jack Fina playing the piano), is a swing-jazz variation of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee, which was one of the many pieces considered for inclusion in Fantasia.

The Legend of Johnny Appleseed

A retelling of the story of John Chapman, who spent most of his life roaming the Midwestern United States (mainly Ohio and Indiana) in the pioneer days, and planting apple trees, thus earning his famous nickname. He also spread Christianity. Dennis Day narrates (as an “old settler who knew Johnny well”) and provides the voices of both Johnny and his guardian angel.

Little Toot

The story of Little Toot by Hardie Gramatky, in which the title protagonist, a small tugboat in New York City, wanted to be just like his father Big Toot, but could not seem to stay out of trouble. The Andrews Sisters provide vocals.

Trees

A recitation of the 1913 poem Trees by Joyce Kilmer, featuring music by Oscar Rasbach and performed by Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians. The lyrical setting accompanies animation of bucolic scenes seen through the changing of the seasons. To preserve the look of the original story sketches, layout artist Ken O’Connor came up with the idea of using frosted cels and rendering the pastel images right onto the cel. Before being photographed each cel was laminated in clear lacquer to protect the pastel. The result was a look that had never been seen in animation before.

Blame it on the Samba

Donald Duck and José Carioca meet the Aracuan Bird, who introduces them to the pleasures of the samba. The accompanying music is the 1914 polka Apanhei-te, Cavaquinho by Ernesto Nazareth, fitted with English lyrics. The Dinning Sisters provide vocals while organist Ethel Smith appears in a live-action role.

Pecos Bill

The finale follows about Texas’ famous hero Pecos Bill. Raised by coyotes, he became the biggest and best cowboy that ever lived. He out hissed the Rattlesnake. And learned about all of the animals. It also features his horse Widowmaker, who’s been saved by the vultures that try to eat him. He brought the rain from California to save Texas from the drought. But when he woke up from the river, he heard a cow mooing. There was the band of evil rustlers stealing the herd of cattle. But they didn’t know the herd they stole was Bill’s. So he lassoed them and knocked out all of their teeth one by one. The Rustlers were now finally reformed and started to sing, “Yippee-I-Yay!” Then, Bill and Widowmaker traveled through the desert. He got a stick and then he dug the rio grande. And it recounts the ill-fated romance between Bill and a beautiful cowgirl named Slue Foot Sue, with whom he fell in love at first sight until a jealous Widowmaker made Sue to get literally stranded at the Moon at their wedding day. This retelling features Roy Rogers, Bob Nolan, the former’s horse Trigger, and the Sons of the Pioneers telling the story to Bobby Driscoll and Luana Patten in a live-action frame story.

Fleischer Studios (1932)

Minnie the Moocher is a  1932 Betty Boop cartoon produced by Fleischer Studios and released by Paramount Pictures.

Happy Halloween!

What better way to kick off this Halloween than with the Betty Boop classic Minnie the Moocher. Enjoy!

Hobo Moon Cartoons aims to preserve the beloved Halloween classics of yesteryear for future generations to enjoy!

The cartoon opens with a live action sequence of Cab Calloway and his orchestra performing an instrumental rendition of the song St. James Infirmary. Then Betty Boop gets into a fight with her strict, Yiddish speaking, Jewish parents, and as a result, runs away from home with her boyfriend Bimbo, and sings excerpts of the Harry Von Tilzer song They Always Pick on Me and the song Mean to Me.

Betty and Bimbo end up in a cave with a walrus, who has Cab Calloway’s voice, and sings Minnie the Moocher and dances to the melancholy song. Calloway is joined in the performance by various ghosts, goblins, skeletons, and other frightening things. Betty and Bimbo are subjected to skeletons drinking at a bar, ghost prisoners sitting in electric chairs, and a cat with empty eye-sockets feeding her equally empty-eyed kittens. Betty and Bimbo both change their minds about running away and rush back home with every ghost right behind them. Betty makes it safely back to her home and hides under the blankets of her bed. As she shakes in terror, the note she earlier wrote to her parents tears, leaving “Home Sweet Home” on it. The film ends with Calloway performing the instrumental Vine Street Blues.

History of Fleischer Studios

Fleischer Studios was an American corporation which originated as an animation studio located at 1600 Broadway, New York City, New York. It was founded in 1921 as Inkwell Studios by brothers Ma Fleischer and Dave Fleischer who ran the pioneering company from its inception until Paramount Pictures, the studio’s parent company and the distributor of its films, acquired ownership. In its prime, Fleischer Studios was a premier producer of animated cartoons for theaters, with Walt Disney Productions becoming its chief competitor in the 1930s.

Fleischer Studios is notable for Koko the Clown, Betty Boop, Bimbo, Popeye the Sailor, and Superman. Unlike other studios, whose characters were anthropomorphic animals, the Fleischers’ most successful characters were humans (With the exception of Bimbo in the 1930s.). The cartoons of the Fleischer Studio were very different from the Disney product, both in concept and in execution. As a result, the Fleischer cartoons were rough rather than refined, commercial rather than consciously artistic. But in their unique way, their artistry was expressed through a culmination of the arts and sciences. This approach focused on surrealism, dark humor, adult psychological elements, and sexuality, and the environments were grittier and urban, often set in squalid surroundings, reflecting the Depression as well as German Expressionism.

The Fleischer Studio was built on Max Fleischer’s novelty film series, Out of the Inkwell (1919-1927). The “novelty” was based largely on the results of the rotoscope, invented by Fleischer to produce realistic animation. The first Out of the Inkwell films were produced through The Bray Studio, and featured Fleischer’s first character, “The Clown,” which became known as Ko-Ko the Clown in 1924.

In 1921, The Bray Studio ran afoul with legal issues, having contracted for more films than it could deliver to its distributor, The Goldwyn Company. The Fleischer Brothers left and began their own studio with Dave as Director and Production Supervisor, and Max as Producer. In 1924, Veteran Animator, Dick Huemer came to The Inkwell Studio and redesigned “The Clown” for more efficient animation. Huemer’s new design and experience as an Animator moved them away from their dependency on The Rotoscope for fluid animation. In addition to defining the clown, Huemer established the Fleischer style with its distinctive thick and thin ink lines. In addition, Huemer created Ko-Ko’s companion, Fitz the Dog, who would evolve into Bimbo in 1930.

Throughout the 1920s, Fleischer was one of the leading producers of animation with clever moments and numerous innovations including the “Rotograph”, an early “Aerial Image” photographic process for compositing animation with live action backgrounds. Other innovations included Ko-Ko Song Car-Tunes and sing-along shorts featuring the famous bouncing ball, a precursor to Karaoke.

Norman McLaren (1950)

This 1949 animation by Canadian filmmaker Norman McLaren is a moving vision of jazz activity. Featuring a soundtrack by the Oscar Peterson Trio the film ebbs and flows in unison with the energy of the performers. This is the explosion of color you’ve been waiting to hear.

Norman McLaren was a Scottish Canadian animator, director and producer known for his work for the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). He was a pioneer in a number of areas of animation and filmmaking, including hand-drawn animation, drawn-on-film animation, visual music, abstract film, pixilation and graphical sound.

His awards included an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject in 1952 for Neighbours, a Silver Bear for best short documentary at the 1956 Berlin International Film Festival for Rythmetic and a 1969 BAFTA Award for Best Animated Film for Pas de deux.

Jack Kerouac (1958)

In honor of Jack Kerouac’s birthday, born on this day in 1922, I present to you a segment from The Subterraneans, a fictional account of a short romance. Please enjoy.

Jack Kerouac Reads From The Subterraneans

The Subterraneans is a 1958 novella by Jack Kerouac, beat poet and author. It is a semi-fictional account of his short romance with Alene Lee in Greenwich Village, New York. Kerouac met Alene in the late summer of 1953 when she was typing up the manuscripts of William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, in Allen’s Lower East Side apartment. In the novella, Kerouac moved the story to San Francisco and renamed Alene Lee “Mardou Fox”. She is described as a carefree spirit who frequents the jazz clubs and bars of the budding Beat scene of San Francisco. Other well-known personalities and friends from the author’s life also appear thinly disguised in the novel. The character Frank Carmody is based on William S. Burroughs, and Adam Moorad on Allen Ginsberg. Even Gore Vidal appears as successful novelist Arial Lavalina. Kerouac’s alter ego is named Leo Percepied, and his long-time friend Neal Cassady is mentioned only in passing as Leroy.

“Because of the objections of my early publishers I was not allowed to use the same personae names in each work.”

Jack Kerouac, Visions of Cody

The position of jazz and jazz culture is central to the novel, tying together the themes of Kerouac’s writing here as elsewhere, and expressed in the “spontaneous prose” style in which he composed most of his works.

“Making a new start, starting from fresh in the rain, ‘Why should anyone want to hurt my little heart, my feet, my little hands, my skin that I’m wrapt in because God wants me warm and Inside, my toes—why did God make all this so decayable and dieable and harmable and wants to make me realize and scream—why the wild ground and bodies bare and breaks—I quaked when the giver creamed, when my father screamed, my mother dreamed—I started small and ballooned up and now I’m big and a naked child again and only to cry and fear.—Ah—Protect yourself, angel of no harm, you who’ve never and could never harm and crack another innocent in its shell and thin veiled pain—wrap a robe around you, honeylamb—protect yourself from harm and wait, till Daddy comes again, and Mama throws you warm inside her valley of the moon, loom at the loom of patient time, be happy in the mornings.'”

Mardou Fox
Jack Kerouac

Jean-Louis Lebris de KĂ©rouac, known as Jack Kerouac, was an American novelist and poet of French Canadian ancestry, who, alongside William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, was a pioneer of the Beat Generation.

Nina Simone (1976)

Watch Nina Simone perform a medley of Stars and Feelings live at the Montreux Jazz Festival, 1976

In honor of Nina Simone’s birthday, born on this day in 1933, I present to you Nina Simone!

Nina Simone was one of the great female vocalists of the 20th Century. She was equally at home singing jazz, blues, soul, gospel or pure pop. Hugely prolific throughout the fifties, sixties and seventies, she recorded only rarely in her later career, but remained a major live performer until well into the nineties when, becoming increasingly frail, she retired to France where she died in 2003 at the age of 70.

Nina Simone made four appearances at the Montreux Festival between 1968 and 1990. This clip features a segment of the performance from 1976 as the main feature.

Nina Simone was one of the most extraordinary artists of the twentieth century, an icon of American music. She was the consummate musical storyteller, a griot as she would come to learn, who used her remarkable talent to create a legacy of liberation, empowerment, passion, and love through a magnificent body of works. She earned the moniker ‘High Priestess of Soul’ for she could weave a spell so seductive and hypnotic that the listener lost track of time and space as they became absorbed in the moment. She was who the world would come to know as Nina Simone.

When Nina Simone died on April 21, 2003, she left a timeless treasure trove of musical magic spanning over four decades from her first hit, the 1959 Top 10 classic “I Loves You Porgy,” to “A Single Woman,” the title cut from her one and only 1993 Elektra album. While thirty-three years separate those recordings, the element of honest emotion is the glue that binds the two together – it is that approach to every piece of work that became Nina’s uncompromising musical trademark.

By the end of her life, Nina was enjoying an unprecedented degree of recognition. Her music was enjoyed by the masses due to the CD revolution, discovery on the Internet, and exposure through movies and television. Nina had sold over one million CDs in the last decade of her life, making her a global catalog best-seller.

Happy Birthday, Nina Simone!

Nina Simone & Lilian Terry (1968)

“I feel more alive now than I ever have in my life. I have a chance to live, as I’ve dreamed.”

Nina Simone

Lilian Terry had a national radio show in Italy–everyone from Ray Charles to Duke Ellington appeared on her show–and there was one person she always wanted to interview: Nina Simone. But Lilian had heard Nina didn’t enjoy speaking with white people. Thankfully Lillian had a confidant in Max Roach, the legendary jazz drummer, who introduced Lilian to Nina at the Newport Festival in 1968. “Lilian Terry comes from Egypt, ” Roach said. This was true; Lilian was born in Cairo to a father from Malta and a mother from Italy. With that simple introduction, Nina waved Lillian over. Soon they were talking about nefertitti and the pharoahs. Nina even told Lilian she thought she’d been in Egypt in a previous life. A few days later Lilian went to Nina’s house in Mt. Vernon, New York. They sat by the pool, the tape recorder was turned on, and the conversation continued.

Executive Producer: David Gerlach

Animator: Patrick Smith

Audio Producer: Amy Drozdowska

Colorist: Jennifer Yoo

Nina Simone (1982)

Animation brings Color Is a Beautiful Thing to life, off of Nina Simone’s rediscovered album Fodder On My Wings

In honor of Nina Simone’s birthday, born on this day in 1933, I present to you Nina Simone!

Fodder on My Wings is an album by singer/pianist/songwriter Nina Simone. It is part of her later works, and can be regarded alongside Baltimore (1978) as one of her better achievements of that period. It is, however, a rather obscure album and not widely distributed. The album is one of Simone’s most introspective and personal works, with songs about her father’s death and her stay in Liberia, Trinidad, and Switzerland.

Nina Simone, was an American singer, songwriter, musician, arranger, and civil rights activist. Her music spanned styles including classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel and pop.

The sixth of eight children born to a poor family in Tryon, North Carolina, Simone initially aspired to be a concert pianist. With the help of a few supporters in her hometown, she enrolled in the Juilliard School of Music in New York City. She then applied for a scholarship to study at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where she was denied admission despite a well received audition, which she attributed to racism. In 2003, just days before her death, the Institute awarded her an honorary degree.

To make a living, Simone started playing piano at a nightclub in Atlantic City. She changed her name to “Nina Simone” to disguise herself from family members, having chosen to play “the devil’s music” or so-called “cocktail piano”. She was told in the nightclub that she would have to sing to her own accompaniment, which effectively launched her career as a jazz vocalist. She went on to record more than 40 albums between 1958 and 1974, making her debut with Little Girl Blue. She had a hit single in the United States in 1958 with “I Loves You, Porgy”. Her musical style fused gospel and pop with classical music, in particular Johann Sebastian Bach, and accompanied expressive, jazz-like singing in her contralto voice.

Animated video directed by Sharon Liu and Aaron Lampert.

Animated by Nicolette van Gendt & Duncan Gist.

Happy Birthday, Nina Simone!

Nina Simone (1964)

Watch the visualizer for Riton’s Remix of See-Line Woman by Nina Simone from the album Feeling Good: Her Greatest & Remixes

In honor of Nina Simone’s birthday, born on this day in 1933, I present to you Nina Simone!

Originally known as Sea Lion Woman and popularized as See-Line Woman by Nina Simone, is a traditional African American folk song originally used as a children’s playground song.

Nina Simone, was an American singer, songwriter, musician, arranger, and civil rights activist. Her music spanned styles including classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel and pop.

The sixth of eight children born to a poor family in Tryon, North Carolina, Simone initially aspired to be a concert pianist. With the help of a few supporters in her hometown, she enrolled in the Juilliard School of Music in New York City. She then applied for a scholarship to study at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where she was denied admission despite a well received audition, which she attributed to racism. In 2003, just days before her death, the Institute awarded her an honorary degree.

To make a living, Simone started playing piano at a nightclub in Atlantic City. She changed her name to “Nina Simone” to disguise herself from family members, having chosen to play “the devil’s music” or so-called “cocktail piano”. She was told in the nightclub that she would have to sing to her own accompaniment, which effectively launched her career as a jazz vocalist. She went on to record more than 40 albums between 1958 and 1974, making her debut with Little Girl Blue. She had a hit single in the United States in 1958 with “I Loves You, Porgy”. Her musical style fused gospel and pop with classical music, in particular Johann Sebastian Bach, and accompanied expressive, jazz-like singing in her contralto voice.

Animated video directed by Sharon Liu and Aaron Lampert (2022).

Happy Birthday, Nina Simone!

Nina Simone (1965)

Watch the visualizer for Hot Chip’s Remix of Be My Husband by Nina Simone from the album Feeling Good: Her Greatest & Remixes

In honor of Nina Simone’s birthday, born on this day in 1933, I present to you Nina Simone!

From the album Pastel Blues (1965).

Nina Simone, was an American singer, songwriter, musician, arranger, and civil rights activist. Her music spanned styles including classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel and pop.

The sixth of eight children born to a poor family in Tryon, North Carolina, Simone initially aspired to be a concert pianist. With the help of a few supporters in her hometown, she enrolled in the Juilliard School of Music in New York City. She then applied for a scholarship to study at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where she was denied admission despite a well received audition, which she attributed to racism. In 2003, just days before her death, the Institute awarded her an honorary degree.

To make a living, Simone started playing piano at a nightclub in Atlantic City. She changed her name to “Nina Simone” to disguise herself from family members, having chosen to play “the devil’s music” or so-called “cocktail piano”. She was told in the nightclub that she would have to sing to her own accompaniment, which effectively launched her career as a jazz vocalist. She went on to record more than 40 albums between 1958 and 1974, making her debut with Little Girl Blue. She had a hit single in the United States in 1958 with “I Loves You, Porgy”. Her musical style fused gospel and pop with classical music, in particular Johann Sebastian Bach, and accompanied expressive, jazz-like singing in her contralto voice.

Animated video directed by Sharon Liu and Aaron Lampert (2022).

Happy Birthday, Nina Simone!

Nina Simone (1965)

Watch the visualizer for Sofi Tukker’s Remix of “Sinnerman” by Nina Simone from the album Feeling Good: Her Greatest & Remixes

In honor of Nina Simone’s birthday, born on this day in 1933, I present to you Nina Simone!

Sinnerman is an African American traditional spiritual song that has been recorded by a number of performers and has been incorporated in many other media and arts. The lyrics describe a sinner attempting to hide from divine justice on Judgment Day. It was recorded in the 1950s by Les Baxter, the Swan Silvertones, the Weavers and others, before Nina Simone recorded an extended version in 1965.

Sinnerman is one of Nina Simone’s most famous songs. She recorded her definitive 10-minute-plus version on her 1965 album Pastel Blues, on which the credit is simply given as “Arranged by Nina Simone” . Simone learned the lyrics of the song in her childhood when it was used at revival meetings by her mother, a Methodist minister, to help people confess their sins. In the early days of her career during the early sixties, when she was heavily involved in the Greenwich Village scene, Simone often used the long piece to end her live performances. An earlier version of the song exists, recorded live at The Village Gate, but was not used on the 1962 Colpix album Nina at the Village Gate. It was added as a bonus track to the 2005 CD release.

Nina Simone, was an American singer, songwriter, musician, arranger, and civil rights activist. Her music spanned styles including classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel and pop.

The sixth of eight children born to a poor family in Tryon, North Carolina, Simone initially aspired to be a concert pianist. With the help of a few supporters in her hometown, she enrolled in the Juilliard School of Music in New York City. She then applied for a scholarship to study at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where she was denied admission despite a well received audition, which she attributed to racism. In 2003, just days before her death, the Institute awarded her an honorary degree.

To make a living, Simone started playing piano at a nightclub in Atlantic City. She changed her name to “Nina Simone” to disguise herself from family members, having chosen to play “the devil’s music” or so-called “cocktail piano”. She was told in the nightclub that she would have to sing to her own accompaniment, which effectively launched her career as a jazz vocalist. She went on to record more than 40 albums between 1958 and 1974, making her debut with Little Girl Blue. She had a hit single in the United States in 1958 with “I Loves You, Porgy”. Her musical style fused gospel and pop with classical music, in particular Johann Sebastian Bach, and accompanied expressive, jazz-like singing in her contralto voice.

Animated video directed by Sharon Liu and Aaron Lampert (2021).

Happy Birthday, Nina Simone!

Nina Simone (1965)

Watch the visualizer for Rudimental’s Remix of “Take Care Of Business” by Nina Simone from the album Feeling Good: Her Greatest & Remixes (2022)

In honor of Nina Simone’s birthday, born on this day in 1933, I present to you Nina Simone!

Nina Simone, was an American singer, songwriter, musician, arranger, and civil rights activist. Her music spanned styles including classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel and pop.

The sixth of eight children born to a poor family in Tryon, North Carolina, Simone initially aspired to be a concert pianist. With the help of a few supporters in her hometown, she enrolled in the Juilliard School of Music in New York City. She then applied for a scholarship to study at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where she was denied admission despite a well received audition, which she attributed to racism. In 2003, just days before her death, the Institute awarded her an honorary degree.

To make a living, Simone started playing piano at a nightclub in Atlantic City. She changed her name to “Nina Simone” to disguise herself from family members, having chosen to play “the devil’s music” or so-called “cocktail piano”. She was told in the nightclub that she would have to sing to her own accompaniment, which effectively launched her career as a jazz vocalist. She went on to record more than 40 albums between 1958 and 1974, making her debut with Little Girl Blue. She had a hit single in the United States in 1958 with “I Loves You, Porgy”. Her musical style fused gospel and pop with classical music, in particular Johann Sebastian Bach, and accompanied expressive, jazz-like singing in her contralto voice.

Animated video directed by Sharon Liu and Aaron Lampert (2022).

Happy Birthday, Nina Simone!

William Hanna & Joseph Barbera (1946)

Solid Serenade is a 1946 one-reel animated cartoon and is the 26th Tom and Jerry short, produced in Technicolor and released to theatres on August 31, 1946 by Metro-Goldwyn Mayer. It was produced by Fred Quimby, directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, and the musical supervision was by Scott Bradley. Ed Barge, Michael Lah, and Kenneth Muse animated it. Excerpts of this cartoon are seen in three other Tom and Jerry shorts: Jerry’s Diary, Smitten Kitten, and Smarty Cat, the latter instance with altered audio and an added scene of Tom whistling.

Animation historian Michael Barrier wrote that Tom’s appearance stabilized by the time of Solid Serenade, giving him a more streamlined and less inconsistent look. Jerry, whose appearance was already economical, only became cuter, according to Barrier. Describing music director Scott Bradley’s work, academic Daniel Ira Goldmark called Solid Serenade “an excellent overview of Bradley’s techniques”, as it uses both popular songs and an original score.

Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby is a 1944 Louis Jordan song, released as the B-side of a single with “G.I. Jive”. “Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby” reached #1 on the US folk/country charts. The song appeared in the Tom and Jerry cartoon Solid Serenade and sung by Ira Woods as Tom Cat on the bass.

Louis Thomas Jordan was an American saxophonist, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and bandleader who was popular from the late 1930s to the early 1950s. Known as “The King of the Jukebox”, he earned his highest profile towards the end of the swing era. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as an “early influence” in 1987.

Charles Schulz & Bill Melendez (1966)

Join the Peanuts gang for a timeless adventure as Charlie Brown preps for a party, Snoopy sets his sights on the Red Baron, and Linus patiently awaits a pumpkin patch miracle.

https://www.pbs.org/video/its-great-pumpkin-charlie-brown-preview-fjdqkp/

Happy Hallowe’en, kiddies! Enjoy this spooky treat. Hahahaha!

Hobo Moon Cartoons aims to preserve the beloved Halloween classics of yesteryear for future generations to enjoy!

The Peanuts gang celebrates Halloween while Linus waits for the Great Pumpkin.

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is a 1966 American prime-time animated television special based on the comic strip Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz. A Halloween special, it was the third Peanuts special to be produced and animated by Bill Melendez.

The special features music composed by jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi, whose contributions include the theme song Linus and Lucy. It was also the first Peanuts special whose title used the pattern of a short phrase followed by “Charlie Brown”, a pattern which remained the norm for almost all subsequent Peanuts specials.

Fleischer Studios (1932)

Minnie the Moocher is a  1932 Betty Boop cartoon produced by Fleischer Studios and released by Paramount Pictures.

Happy Halloween!

What better way to kick off this Halloween than with the Betty Boop classic Minnie the Moocher. Enjoy!

The cartoon opens with a live action sequence of Cab Calloway and his orchestra performing an instrumental rendition of the song St. James Infirmary. Then Betty Boop gets into a fight with her strict, Yiddish speaking, Jewish parents, and as a result, runs away from home with her boyfriend Bimbo, and sings excerpts of the Harry Von Tilzer song They Always Pick on Me and the song Mean to Me.

Betty and Bimbo end up in a cave with a walrus, who has Cab Calloway’s voice, and sings Minnie the Moocher and dances to the melancholy song. Calloway is joined in the performance by various ghosts, goblins, skeletons, and other frightening things. Betty and Bimbo are subjected to skeletons drinking at a bar, ghost prisoners sitting in electric chairs, and a cat with empty eye-sockets feeding her equally empty-eyed kittens. Betty and Bimbo both change their minds about running away and rush back home with every ghost right behind them. Betty makes it safely back to her home and hides under the blankets of her bed. As she shakes in terror, the note she earlier wrote to her parents tears, leaving “Home Sweet Home” on it. The film ends with Calloway performing the instrumental Vine Street Blues.

History of Fleischer Studios

Fleischer Studios was an American corporation which originated as an animation studio located at 1600 Broadway, New York City, New York. It was founded in 1921 as Inkwell Studios by brothers Ma Fleischer and Dave Fleischer who ran the pioneering company from its inception until Paramount Pictures, the studio’s parent company and the distributor of its films, acquired ownership. In its prime, Fleischer Studios was a premier producer of animated cartoons for theaters, with Walt Disney Productions becoming its chief competitor in the 1930s.

Fleischer Studios is notable for Koko the Clown, Betty Boop, Bimbo, Popeye the Sailor, and Superman. Unlike other studios, whose characters were anthropomorphic animals, the Fleischers’ most successful characters were humans (With the exception of Bimbo in the 1930s.). The cartoons of the Fleischer Studio were very different from the Disney product, both in concept and in execution. As a result, the Fleischer cartoons were rough rather than refined, commercial rather than consciously artistic. But in their unique way, their artistry was expressed through a culmination of the arts and sciences. This approach focused on surrealism, dark humor, adult psychological elements, and sexuality, and the environments were grittier and urban, often set in squalid surroundings, reflecting the Depression as well as German Expressionism.

The Fleischer Studio was built on Max Fleischer’s novelty film series, Out of the Inkwell (1919-1927). The “novelty” was based largely on the results of the rotoscope, invented by Fleischer to produce realistic animation. The first Out of the Inkwell films were produced through The Bray Studio, and featured Fleischer’s first character, “The Clown,” which became known as Ko-Ko the Clown in 1924.

In 1921, The Bray Studio ran afoul with legal issues, having contracted for more films than it could deliver to its distributor, The Goldwyn Company. The Fleischer Brothers left and began their own studio with Dave as Director and Production Supervisor, and Max as Producer. In 1924, Veteran Animator, Dick Huemer came to The Inkwell Studio and redesigned “The Clown” for more efficient animation. Huemer’s new design and experience as an Animator moved them away from their dependency on The Rotoscope for fluid animation. In addition to defining the clown, Huemer established the Fleischer style with its distinctive thick and thin ink lines. In addition, Huemer created Ko-Ko’s companion, Fitz the Dog, who would evolve into Bimbo in 1930.

Throughout the 1920s, Fleischer was one of the leading producers of animation with clever moments and numerous innovations including the “Rotograph”, an early “Aerial Image” photographic process for compositing animation with live action backgrounds. Other innovations included Ko-Ko Song Car-Tunes and sing-along shorts featuring the famous bouncing ball, a precursor to Karaoke.

Rudolf Ising (1931)

Piggy takes his girlfriend, Fluffy, to a jazz concert.

You Don’t Know What You’re Doin’! is a 1931 Warner Bros. Merrie Melodies cartoon short directed by Rudolf Ising. The short was released on October 21, 1931, and stars Piggy, one of the series’ early recurring characters. First released on October 21, 1931, the film is perhaps one of the most amusing and effective of the cartoons from the studio’s earliest years.

The musical soundtrack was done by the then-nationally famous Abe Lyman Orchestra, which adds a happy energy throughout the cartoon. The eccentric virtuoso trombone playing of Orlando “Slim” Martin is prominently featured. Martin played not only music but also some rather bizarre effects on his horn. His trombone solo representing the drunken automobile is especially memorable. The Schlesinger Studio had their sound effects department construct mechanical devices to roughly reproduce some of Martin’s sounds, which became standard cartoon sound effects.

Jon Batiste (2021)

I decided to post this video just for the simple fact that Jon Batiste is one of the most animated characters I can think of. That, and we could all use a little FREEDOM!

Check out Jon Batiste on his website at https://www.jonbatiste.com/

New Orleans musician Jon Batiste just released his new song FREEDOM, and his video makes the streets of New Orleans sing.

Batiste, clad in a pink suit, gets New Orleans community members on their feet, singing and dancing throughout Treme, the Seventh Ward, City Park and under the Claiborne Expressway.

The St. Augustine Marching 100 were also prominently featured, which is where Batiste went to school.

Batiste’s music company tweeted the link to the music video Friday, calling it a “tribute to New Orleans.”

Batiste describes the song FREEDOM as “like an old movie,” comparing the likeness of the video’s movements to James Brown and Elvis.

“If you think about movies back in the day, you wouldn’t show a black man with a white woman, or you wouldn’t show a black relationship, or you wouldn’t show a woman in a certain role. That is our sexuality and how people are represented. That’s what people like James Brown, or when we saw Elvis with the twist in the hips, did. They were unlocking something in people that they were trying to hold in. These people became beacons of freedom, and you look at the way they move and the way that they express who they are onstage. That becomes the way that you want to be in life.”

Jon Batiste

When I move my body just like this
I don’t know why
But I feel like freedom (Freedom)
I hear a song that takes me back
And I let go with so much freedom (Freedom)
Free to live (how I wanna live)
I’m gon get (what i’m gonna get)
‘Cause it’s my freedom (Freedom)

I love how you talk
You speaking my language
The way that you walk
You can’t contain it
Is it the shoes
Jumped up, kangaroo
We’re overdue for a little more prancing

Now it’s your time
(It’s your right)
You can shine
(It’s alright)
If you do
I’ma do too

When I move my body just like this
I don’t know why
But I feel like freedom (Freedom)
I hear a song that takes me back
And I let go
With so much freedom (Freedom)
Free to live (How I wanna live)
I’m gon get (What I’m gonna get)
‘Cause it’s my freedom (Freedom)

The reason we get down, is to get back up
If someones around, Go on let them look
You can’t stand still
This ain’t no drill
More than cheap thrills, (Feels like money money money)

Now it’s your time
(It’s your right)
You can shine
(It’s alright)
If you do
I’ma do too

‘Cause when I look up to the stars (Stars)
I know exactly who we are (Ooh)
‘Cause then I see you shinin’
You shinin’
You shinin’ oh!

Free to be!
(Everybody come on) (Freedom!)
(Everybody come ‘round)
(Everybody come on)
(Everybody hit the floor)
Come on now!

I’m stuck to the dance floor
With the, with the whole tape
With the, with the, with the whole tape
(Let me see you wobble)
I’m stuck to the dance floor
With the, with the whole tape
With the, with the, with the whole tape
(Let me see you shake)
Give you just what you ask forgivin’ you the whole shake
I’ma give you the whole shake
(Let me see you wobble)
I’m stuck to the dance floor
With the, with the whole tape
With the, with the, with the whole tape
(Can you make it break?)

I say yeah (Yeah)
Oh yeah (Oh yeah)
(Let me see you wobble)
‘Cause, you do
I’ma do too

When I move my body just like this
I don’t know why
But I feel like freedom (Freedom)
I hear a song that takes me back
And I let go
With so much freedom (Freedom)
Free to live (How I wanna live)
I’m gon get (What I’m gonna get)
‘Cause it’s my freedom (Freedom)

FREEDOM is one of the songs on Jon Batiste’s new album We Are.

Gary K. Wolf & Richard Williams (1988)

“I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way.”

-Jessica Rabbit

Jessica Rabbit is a fictional character in Who Censored Roger Rabbit? and its film adaptation Who Framed Roger Rabbit? She is depicted as Roger’s human toon wife. Jessica is renowned as one of the best-known sex symbols in animation.

Author Gary K. Wolf based Jessica primarily on the cartoon character Red from Tex Avery’s Red Hot Riding Hood. The film version of the character was inspired by various actresses. Richard Williams explained, “I tried to make her like Rita Hayworth; we took her hair from Veronica Lake, and Zemeckis kept saying, ‘What about the look Lauren Bacall had?'” He described that combination as an “ultimate male fantasy, drawn by a cartoonist.”

The song Why Don’t You Do Right? is an American blues and jazz-influenced pop song written by “Kansas Joe” McCoy and Herb Morand in 1936. Both men are given composer credits on the original 78 record label, although Morand’s name is misspelled. A minor key twelve-bar blues with a few chord substitutions, it is considered a classic “woman’s blues” song and has become a standard.

In 1936, the Harlem Hamfats recorded Why Don’t You Do Right? Band member McCoy later rewrote the song, refining the composition and lyrics. The new tune was recorded by Lil Green in 1941, with guitar by William “Big Bill” Broonzy. The recording was an early jazz and blues hit.

The song has its roots in blues music and originally dealt with a marijuana smoker reminiscing about lost financial opportunities. As it was rewritten, it takes on the perspective of the female partner, who chastises her man for his irresponsible ways: “Why don’t you do right, like some other men do? Get out of here and get me some money too.”

One of the best-known versions of the song was recorded by Peggy Lee and Benny Goodman on July 27, 1942, in New York. Featured in the 1943 film, Stage Door Canteen, it sold over one million copies and brought her to nationwide attention.

Lee often stated that Green’s recording was influential to her music. In a 1971 interview she said, “I had the record, and I used to play it over and over in my dressing room, which was next to Benny Goodman. Finally he said, ‘I think you really like that song.’ I said, ‘Oh, I love it.’ He said, ‘Would you like to sing it?'” Lee said yes, so Goodman had an arrangement made of it for Lee to sing.

In 1988 Why Don’t You Do Right? was sung by Jessica Rabbit in a very provocative way.

Hugh Harman & Rudolf Ising (1930)

Congo Jazz is a Looney Tunes cartoon starring Warner Bros.’ first cartoon star, Bosko. The cartoon was released in September 1930. It was distributed by Warner Bros. and The Vitaphone Corporation. Congo Jazz was the first cartoon to feature Bosko’s falsetto voice that he would use for the bulk of the series’ run. It has the earliest instance of a “trombone gobble” in animation.

In 1927, Harman and Ising were still working for the Walt Disney Studios on a series of live-action/animated short subjects known as the Alice Comedies. The two animators created Bosko in 1927 to capitalize on the new “talkie” craze that was sweeping the motion picture industry. They began thinking about making a sound cartoon with Bosko in 1927, before even leaving Walt Disney. Hugh Harman made drawings of the new character and registered it with the copyright office on 3 January 1928.

After leaving Walt Disney in early 1928, Harman and Ising went to work for Charles Mintz on Universal’s second-season Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoons. April 1929 found them moving on again, leaving Universal to market their new cartoon character. In May 1929, they produced a short pilot cartoon, similar to Max Fleischer’s Out of the Inkwell cartoons, Bosko, the Talk-Ink Kid that showcased their ability to animate soundtrack-synchronized speech and dancing. The short, plotless cartoon opens with live action footage of Ising at a drafting table. After he draws Bosko on the page, the character springs to life, talks, sings, and dances. Ising returns Bosko to the inkwell, and the short ends. This short is a landmark in animation history as being the first cartoon to predominantly feature synchronized speech, though Fleischer Studios’ Song Car-Tune My Old Kentucky Home was the first cartoon to contain animated dialogue a few years earlier. This cartoon set Harman and Ising “apart from early Disney sound cartoons because it emphasized not music but dialogue.” The short was marketed to various people by Harman and Ising until Leon Schlesinger offered them a contract to produce a series of cartoons for the Warner Bros. It would not be seen by a wide audience until 71 years later, in 2000, as part of Cartoon Network’s special Toonheads: The Lost Cartoons, a compilation special of rare material from the WB/Turner archives.

In his book, Of Mice and Magic, Leonard Maltin states that this early version of Bosko:

“was in fact a cartoonized version of a young black boy… he spoke in a Southern Negro dialect… in subsequent films this characterization was eschewed, or perhaps forgotten. This could be called sloppiness on the part of Harman and Ising, but it also indicates the uncertain nature of the character itself.”

by Irving Berlin (1912)

Fleischer Studios (1926)

You can sing along with the bouncing ball and Fleischer animation depicting passengers boarding a train, including one late arrival who, magically, opens the conductor as if he were a door! Learn more about Max and Dave Fleischer, Fleischer Studios, and the early days of animation at http://www.fleischerstudios.com/

“Irving Berlin has no place in American music – he is American music”

— Jerome Kern

in 1911, Berlin hit upon the musical composition that catapulted him into legend:  “Alexander’s Ragtime Band.”  A jaunty tip of the hat to the ragtime craze (although not technically of the ragtime genre) the song reached the larger public in several stages: first as a vaudeville number premiered in Chicago by Emma Carus; then as a performance by Berlin at the Friars Frolic of 1911; then increasingly “covered” by performers in vaudeville and early gramophone recordings. It set a new record by becoming the fastest selling song of its time, moving a million copies of sheet music within four months; by 1912, “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” had sold over two million copies of sheet music and subsequently a million more.   It was the most ubiquitous song of its era and had become a cornerstone of the music publishing industry.

Read more about Irving Berlin here: https://www.irvingberlin.com/early-career-and-tin-pan-alley

Walter Lantz (1941)

Scrub Me Mama with a Boogie Beat is a 1941 popular boogie-woogie song written by Don Raye. A bawdy, jazzy tune, the song describes a laundry woman from Harlem, New York whose technique is so unusual that people come from all around just to watch her scrub. The Andrews Sisters and Will Bradley & His Orchestra recorded the most successful pop versions of the song.

The animated short was released on March 28, 1941 by Universal Pictures and features no director credit. However, Woody Woodpecker creator Walter Lantz claims to have directed the cartoon himself. The story was written by Ben Hardaway, animation by Alex Lovy and Frank Tipper, and voiceover work by Mel Blanc and Nellie Lutcher. The short uses blackface stereotypes of African-American people and culture, and of life in the rural Southern United States.

The Scrub Me Mama short is today in the public domain.

Fleischer Brothers (1930)

Swing You Sinners! is a 1930 animated cartoon short, directed by the Fleischer Brothers as part of the Talkartoons. The cartoon is notable for its surreal, dark and sometimes even abstract content.

Let’s join Bimbo as he is chased by a policeman for trying to steal a chicken!

The cartoon was released on September 24, 1930 in the Talkartoons series and was animated by Ted Sears and Willard Bowsky. George Cannata, Shamus Culhane, Al Eugster, William Henning, Seymour Kneitel, and Grim Natwick also worked on it, but are uncredited in the title card. The cartoon was animated by a completely new staff who’d never worked in animation before because the studio had to replace some animators who quit. Animator Shamus Culhane states in his memoirs that though he created and animated what might be construed as a racist caricature of “a Jew with a black beard, huge nose, and a derby,” the studio’s atmosphere and its mixed ethnic crew made the depiction completely acceptable to all the Jews in the studio. The caricature in question is a reference to Jewish-American comedian Monroe Silver.

Motion Picture News wrote on October 11, 1930, “The clever cartoon pen of Max Fleischer again demonstrates itself in this Talkartoon. An off-stage chorus sings the lyrics to the rhythm of the action and the result is usually diverting. The cartoon hero is this time taken into a grave-yard with the absurd results that you might well imagine. Worth a play.”

The soundtrack was composed by W. Franke Harling, with lyrics by Sam Coslow. Title song was based on “Sing, You Sinners!”, some of which is played in the titles of the cartoon.

Patrick Smith (1968)

“I feel more alive now than I ever have in my life. I have a chance to live, as I’ve dreamed.” – Nina Simone in July, 1968

Hear bonus interview outtakes, celebrate Nina’s style and impact on music and the civil rights movement here: http://blankonblank.org/nina-simone​

Lilian Terry had a national radio show in Italy–everyone from Ray Charles to Duke Ellington appeared on her show–and there was one person she always wanted to interview: Nina Simone.

But Lilian had heard Nina didn’t enjoy speaking with white people. Thankfully Lillian had a confidant in Max Roach, the legendary jazz drummer, who introduced Lilian to Nina at the Newport Festival in 1968.

“Lilian Terry comes from Egypt, ” Roach said. This was was true; Lilian was born in Cairo to a father from Malta and a mother from Italy.

With that simple introduction, Nina waved Lillian over. Soon they were talking about nefertitti and the pharoahs.

Nina even told Lilian she thought she’d been in Egypt in a previous life.

A few days later Lilian went to Nina’s house in Mt. Vernon, New York. They sat by the pool, the tape recorder was turned on, and the conversation continued.

Executive Producer: David Gerlach / Animator: Patrick Smith / Audio Producer: Amy Drozdowska / Colorist: Jennifer Yoo

Len Lye (1933)

Experimental animation.

Despite the interest generated by his first film, Tusalava (1929), the early 1930s were a difficult time for artist and animator Len Lye. A series of projects were abandoned through lack of funding, and he supported himself by designing book jackets. By 1934 he was doing relatively menial work in the Wembley studios of Associated Sound Film Industries, while trying to convince investors to back his latest project with his long-time friend and collaborator, Jack Ellitt, provisionally titled Quicksilver. Lye had already produced dozens of set and costume designs for this ambitious science-fiction musical comedy but, although an American producer eventually expressed interest, the film that emerged bore little relation to the original concept, and neither Lye nor Ellitt benefited financially.

In the meantime, Lye turned his attention to puppet animation. He scraped together enough funding and borrowed equipment to produce a three-minute short featuring his self-made monkey, singing and dancing to ‘Peanut Vendor’, a 1931 jazz hit for Red Nichols. The two foot high monkey had bolted, moveable joints and some 50 interchangeable mouths to convey the singing. To get the movements right, Lye filmed his new wife, Jane, a prize-winning rumba dancer. Ellitt assisted in synchronizing the animation with the music.

Lye hoped to use the film to interest advertisers, but again had no success. However, on the strength of the film the head of the newly established Shell Film Unit, Jack Beddington, was later persuaded by Lye’s friend Humphrey Jennings to commission Lye to make a short animated advertising film, The Birth of the Robot (1935).

Jim Henson (1961)

Drums West is a cut-paper animated film produced by Jim Henson. The film was created in Henson’s home studio in Bethesda, MD around 1961. It is one of several experimental shorts inspired by the music of jazz musician Chico Hamilton.

The film was recently rediscovered by the Henson Archives and released in 2013 on the Henson Company’s YouTube channel. At the end, in footage probably shot by Jerry Juhl, Henson demonstrates his working method.

Judging by behind-the-scenes footage of a beardless Jim Henson animating “Drums West,” a 1961 homage to jazz drummer Chico Hamilton, one good sneeze and the party would’ve been over.

Animation is always a painstaking proposition, but the hundreds of tiny paper scraps Henson was contending with in an extremely cramped working space seem downright oppressive compared to the expansive visuals to which they gave rise.

Ralph Bakshi (1989)

THIS Ain’t BeBop is Ralph Bakshi’s first live-action short, starring Harvey Keitel and featuring Ron Thompson (Tony & Pete of American Pop) as the beatnik poet and Rick Singer (Benny of American Pop) as Jackson Pollock.

Mark Bakshi produced the film; his first professional collaboration with his father. Ralph Bakshi wrote a poem influenced by Jack Kerouac, jazz, the Beat Generation and Brooklyn that served as the narration, which was spoken by Harvey Keitel.

After a car crash, Bakshi completed the post-production in stitches and casts. Bakshi said of the work, “It’s the most proud I’ve been of a picture since Coonskin — the last real thing I did with total integrity.”