Sunday, January 25, 2009

When Cartoons were Funny to Watch

Cartoons have always been good for a laugh, and still are. But there was a time when they were also funny to watch. I've been watching a lot of old Disney cartoons from the 30s as of late, mainly to admire the drawing and animation that went into all these great films. Man, some GREAT drawing. But seriously, you could watch these with the sound turned down, and still be just as amused. WHAT HAPPENED? Sure, a lot of the humor is in visual gags, but dialogue and writing have definitely stolen the attention in most contemporary animation. Where scripts trump storyboards. My guess is that funny writing is cheaper to create than funny animation. But if enough people demand it, the studios would bring it back. We've been lulled into talking heads delivering the goods (if there are any goods at all).

Anyway, here are 3 Disney Cartoons featuring Mickey, Donald, and Goofy. It's weird that we have to be reminded that Disney actually made really funny cartoons at one time. Even funnier to see a Mickey with a bit of a temper. If you click on the arrow in the corner of the YouTube window, you can select HQ and watch them in higher quality (a new feature I recently discovered).

The Band Concert (1935)

Moving Day (1936)

Mickey's Circus (1936)


Allie said...

Great posts! I'd say it absolutely has to do with funny writing being cheaper than great and humorous animators- plus a great animation director. Which is a shame.
I can remember watching a lot of these old cartoons when I was little with the volume down- because id wake up at 5am and didn't want to wake my family up. To me the beauty of the silent animation that's pulled off well is because it's playing on the viewers imagination to be playing dolls with the characters. You need to be able to imagine holding the characters midsection and wiggling it around while its moving- but the live characters and inanimate objects. When a door is knock on instead of a sound effect or just a few lines- the whole wall throws itself forwards. It's like a whole bunch of drama queens. Of course, there is a limit and need for self restraint. That's where the art director would need to come in and say "hey, thats great the walls shaking- but it doesn't need to fall on the floor."
This is a great reminder to (as a writer and animator) Make sure the writing isn't leading the show. We want to see things move here, and not just the lips.
That was a family guy jab.
I did it.

Hailey Owens said...

Hi! Interesting post you have in here. I basically grew up in the era where Mickey Mouse can talk now so I don't have much idea of silent cartoons (except Tom and Jerry, if you can count that in). I'm pretty curious of what it'll be like.