THE CARTOON CRYPT: Metal Eating Bird (1930)

THE CARTOON CRYPT

Here is an utterly bizarre short by the largely forgotten animator and actor Charley Bowers. You have to skip over the excessively obnoxious first 40 seconds to get to the film. The fantastic animation isn’t until the last half of the film.

Read more about this film on the Internet Movie Database.

There’s a Charley Bowers DVD that I gotta see one of these days. Here’s the product description for that:

Who is Charley Bowers? The inventor of the no-slipping banana skin, unbreakable eggs, and cat-pushing trees! At the end of the 1920s, this unknown genius created and directed a score of cinematic burlesques filled with surrealist imagination, crammed with fantastic sights and animated puppets, among which the most delicious include “Egged On,” “Fatal Footstep” and “Now You Tell One.” His body of work is unique, though the astonishing course his career took has been chronicled by few and left him as one of the more enigmatic figures of American cinema. After a childhood spent with the circus, he became interested in animated drawing, adapting comic strips for the cinema including the “Mutt and Jeff” series created by Bud Fisher. Advances in animation which developed during this period explain the astonishing illusions which emerged in these comedic shorts. In the 1930s he directed “It#s a Bird,” his first sound film. Bowers returned to animation for advertising films, in particular the first short film by Joseph Losey, the oil-commissioned “Pete Roleum and His Cousins,” while also continuing his puppet films. He died in 1946, completely forgotten. To this day, 11 of the 20 short comedies are still considered lost. At the end of the 1960s, vault discoveries provided more of his story and three of the exhumed films were shown in 1976 at the Annecy Animated Film Festival, where they were met with enthusiasm. After 1992, worldwide research retrieved surviving prints of the missing films with requests to the world#s notable cinema collectors, who allowed access to their original elements. For the first time this extraordinary collection assembles the complete films of Charley Bowers which survive today, magnificently restored from the original elements with the collaboration of ten cinema societies.

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