Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Truly Obscure Animated Cartoons #1


Here's a classic cartoon you won't see on DVD, VHS, on the big screen or on cable TV (although you may find it on overseas television as part of the Totally Tooned In show, which has never aired in the United States).

Flora, a witty spoof of film noir, was produced in 1946 by the much maligned Screen Gems Studio - and released to movie theaters in 1948, some time after the outfit's utterly unlamented demise. Often more concerned with off-kilter story concepts and oddball ideas than sight gags or characters, Screen Gems or Columbia cartoons, even at their very best, are completely different from the films of Disney, Warner Brothers and MGM - and this, for many, takes a lot of getting used to.

While Columbia cartoons often experiment in a big way - and fail in a bigger way - as a lifelong comedy and animation buff, I love their cleverness and originality. For me, the films that don't cut the mustard are those that copy Disney (in the 1930's) or Warner Brothers (1940's), not the cartoons that try really crazy s#^&%$!*t, swing for the fences and strike out.

Alex Lovy, later known for his work on Walter Lantz' Woody Woodpecker and Chilly Willy cartoons, as well as Hanna-Barbera's The Flintstones and The Jetsons, directed this Color Rhapsody cartoon, one of the last in the series. It is one of the best films from his lengthy career.

Thanks a million, thadk, for making this one available.

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