Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Short Subject: The Karnival Kid (1929)

A sentient hotdog getting spanked and two cats singing on a fence getting hit with a chamber pot, it’s an Ub Iwerks animation all right.

Also Mickey appears in here as the hotdog seller and Minnie as well as a dancer.  These really early shorts are so hit and miss for me.  Sometimes I really like the off the wall comedy by today’s standards and at times like this not so much.  It’s the hotdog thing that’s really bothering me.  The idea of singing meat being spanked for not wanting to be eaten is getting into gallows humour for me and that’s just not something I enjoy. 

The cats on the fence are really the Goofy and Pluto comparison again.  At least there Goofy stands upright and wears clothes where Pluto doesn’t do either.  Here the ring leader cat doesn’t even have the distinction of wearing clothes.  It’s just bigger than the ones on the fence.  

Also the animation is obviously still figuring out so many things.  The lip movements bug me, you can see the lack of squash and stretch, but the animation of a party favour being unfurled towards the camera is excellent.  I like the fade out of the tile card to just show the carnival kid title.  I like that there’s a time transition card and that it’s animated too.  I really like the shadow that looks like Minnie only to reveal that it’s really the cat manipulating a puppet.  I also love Mickey’s quip about it being scam and to keep your money in your pants, a great use of his rogue personality without making him into an asshole.

To sum up this short is mediocre for me.  Some sections of animation are really nice others not so much when compared to what would come from the studio later.  I like Mickey’s quipper attitude here and desire to actually romance Minnie as opposed to just demanding it ala ‘Plane Crazy’.  The thing with the hotdogs I don’t enjoy and the lack of distinct character design for characters that aren’t Micky and Minnie is jarring.      

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