THE CARTOON CRYPT: Betty Boop with Henry, the World’s Funniest American (1935)


Here’s another Betty Boop cartoon with a guest star from the funny pages… here with Carl Anderson’s Henry. Unlike the comic strip, for some reason they decided Henry should talk in the movie. A strange decision, as I don’t think it adds much to have him talk in the cartoon, or even to the storytelling… and it is certainly a big part of his comic strip’s appeal. Boy oh boy does Henry look wrong with a mouth. Come to think of it, boy does Henry look wrong.

Read more about this cartoon on The Big Cartoon Database.

THE CARTOON CRYPT: Monkey of the Week, March 30, 2007: Simon the Monk in Monkeydoodle


Whoops, I thought I had published this on March 30th, but I just saved it… here it is now. Our monkey of the week for two weeks ago!

I knew nothing about this cartoon previous to finding it on youtube, but finding it is like finding lost pirate treasure. It is awfully bizarre and interesting, and it stars a monkey in a fez, so it is right up my alley. It’s pretty amazingly raunchy for the time period, too… monkey boobies are prominently featured. It’s made by Les Elton and is from 1931.

I’ve never heard of Mr. Elton previous to this cartoon. Googling for Mr. Elton brought me some interesting information about him at the Stripper’s Guide blog, and, even better, more lost pirate treasure… a series of pretty amazing comic strips he did called “Jack Daw’s Adventures.” Comics historian Allan Holtz, who is the guy who does the wonderful Stripper’s Guide blog, believes this strip is the very first syndicated adventure strip featuring a continuing character… and he has reprinted about 50 of them on his site. A panel sample can be seen below.

THE CARTOON CRYPT: Monkey of the Week, April 6, 2007: The Peanut Vendor


Meet the Peanut Vendor. It is credited to “Len Lye” on youtube (although in the comments, someone claims it is actually by Dave Fleischer). Judging from the other Len Lye films on youtube, it seems unlikely it is by him, as none of the others feature any character animation that I saw… and the character animation in this gem is quite good, and would appear to be by someone with experience. Anyone know the answer to this?


Update: It is directed by Dave Fleischer all right. No wonder it’s so great.

Update 2: Or not… Tyler in the comments points us to, which credits it to Len Lye here. Tyler says:

Hi – I can assure you that this film is by Len Lye – see my comment on YouTube. The monkey happens to be owned by the New Zealand Film Archive, actually. Lye made one other stop-motion animated film – The Birth of the Robot. Anyway, glad you liked the film.

Thanks Tyler! says:

Experimental Animation (also “Peanut Vendor”) (1934)
3 min, 35mm, b&w, sound
Music: “Peanut Vendor” by Red Nichols and his Five Pennies
The protagonist of this film is a marionette monkey built by the film-maker himself. Lye presented this film as a prototype in the hope of finding partners for a series of puppet films, but without success.

So, presumably, the Internet Movie Database is wrong, which credits the film to Dave Fleischer (item 301) and makes no mention of it under Len Lye’s filmography. Or it’s right and the Len Lye site is wrong, but I’m leaning towards Len Lye at this point, since I have seen no credible attributon to Fleischer. I have no idea who did it, but it’s a great cartoon! Now I want to see The Birth of the Robot…