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 Studios (1930)

Seymour Kneitel along with Dave Fleischer directed this animated short film, but was uncredited.

Screen Songs are animated cartoons featuring the famous “bouncing ball” produced by Max Fleischer and distributed by Paramount Pictures between 1929 and 1938. The cartoons are sing-alongs featuring popular song hits of the day along with the ethnic stereotypes and humor typical of the era in which they were produced. In the 1930s, the series began to feature current popular musical guest stars such as Cab Calloway, Rudy Vallee, and Ethel Merman.

Fleischer Studios was an American corporation that originated as an animation studio located at 1600 Broadway, New York City, New York. It was founded in 1921 as Inkwell Studios, Inc. and Out of the Inkwell Films by brothers Max 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 characters included 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, who was a black-and-white cartoon dog). 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, consciously artistic rather than commercial. 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. Furthermore, the environments were grittier and urban, often set in squalid surroundings, reflecting the Great Depression as well as German Expressionism.

Extreme Ghostbusters

Rafael Rosado (1997)

Darkness at Noon, Part 1 is the first episode for Extreme Ghostbusters.
When Achira, a disease-spreading entity, is released by a group of subway workers, former Ghostbuster
Egon Spengler, now a college professor teaching paranormal studies at a New York university,
rounds up the only students in his class to be the next team of Ghostbusters.
Darkness at Noon, Part 2 is the second episode for Extreme Ghostbusters and the second part of the
Darkness at Noon story. With Achira spreading her disease through a possessed Kylie Griffin,
Egon Spengler, himself infected, helps to train and equip the new recruits for battle.

Written by Billy Brown, Dan Angel, and Dean Stefan

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

Bruce Bickford and Frank Zappa (1979)

Baby Snakes is a film which includes footage from Frank Zappa’s 1977 Halloween concert at New York City’s Palladium Theater, backstage antics from the crew, and stop-motion claymation from award-winning animator Bruce Bickford.

Jordana Moore Saggese & HĂ©loĂŻse Dorsan Rachet (2019)

Learn about the life of American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, from his start as part of graffiti duo SAMO to his rise as an internationally renowned painter.

Like Beat writers who composed their work by shredding and reassembling scraps of writing, artist Jean-Michel Basquiat used similar techniques to remix his materials. Pulling in splintered anatomy, reimagined historical scenes and skulls, he repurposed present day experiences and art history into an inventive visual language. Jordana Moore Saggese explores the chaotic and prolific art of Basquiat.

SAMO was a graffiti tag which started as an inside joke when Jean-Michel Basquiat and a few of his friends were still teenagers. They tagged funny, thought-provoking lines all over New York City from 1977 to 1980. It accompanied short phrases, in turns poetic and sarcastic, mainly painted on the streets of downtown Manhattan.