THE CARTOON CRYPT: Pete Roleum and His Cousins (1939)

Here is a gorgeusly designed and animated, extremely bizarre stop-motion animation for the petroleum industry from the demented mind of Charley Bowers, the man who made the previously posted and equally bizarre Metal Eating Bird.

Note that you can get a dvd called Charley Bowers: The Rediscovery of an American Comic Genius (1926), which includes all of the Bowers films known to still exist here.

THE CARTOON CRYPT: Willie Whopper in Stratos Fear (1933)

Here is a fun and very surreal Willie Whopper cartoon from Ub Iwerks.

Read more about this cartoon on The Big Cartoon Database.

This cartoon, along with almost all of Ub Iwerks cartoons for his own studio, are available on the excellent DVDs The Cartoons that time Forgot Volume One and Volume Two. Stratos Fear is on Volume 2.

Interesting to note that the color in the Ub Iwerks Comicolor cartoons on these DVDs seems to have held up much better than the color on the previously mentioned Fleischer Color Classics on the Somewhere in Dreamland set… or at least seems to have faded differently. The blues in these cartoons are much more brilliant than the blues in any of the Fleischer Color Classics. If someone actually restored the color in the cartoons in either set, I would guess the they would look quite candy-store different.

THE CARTOON CRYPT: Betty Boop in Betty in Blunderland (1934)


Another excellent, surreal Betty Boop cartoon… I love the Jabberwocky in this. The featured song in it, “How Do You Do,” is an altered version of the song “Everyone Says I Love You.” Below is Groucho Marx’s wonderful version of that song from Horse Feathers (1932) (starts at 36 seconds in or so). There are other great versions of that song in Horse Feathers as well… note that you can see the entire movie on YouTube starting here. I’ve exported the music from both movies as mp3’s for your listening pleasure… you can grab those here.

Read more about this cartoon on the Big Cartoon Database here.

THE CARTOON CRYPT: The Mascot (1933)


A great, great short by Ladislaw Starewicz, The Mascot, in three parts. I posted a short excerpt from this cartoon previously… this is the full cartoon at a much better quality. The Mascot is one of the most bizarre and beautiful puppet animations I’ve ever seen. And it has a monkey! Don’t miss it!

Part 1

Part 2


Read more about Ladislaw Starewicz at Animation Heaven and Hell.

Read more about Ladislaw Starewicz at Wikipedia.

See a tribute site to Ladislaw Starewicz made by his granddaughter.

For more old cartoons with monkeys, go here.

THE CARTOON CRYPT: Samurai Elf Versus Mickey Mouse and his Legion of Snakes


An utterly bizarre Japanese cartoon from 1934, found courtesy of the excellent Cartoon Brew website. A whole lot more interesting information on this can be found in the comments there.

Here is part of a comment there by “EricW”:

This appears to be Komatsuzawa Hajime’s “Toybox Series #3: Picture Book 1936″ (a.k.a. Momotaro vs Mickey Mouse). I found this description at “One very popular cartoon character was Momotaro, the “Peach boy,” who appeared in a number of cartoons designed not just for domestic consumption within Japan, but for propaganda use in occupied countries as well. For example, Picture Book 1936 (Momotaro vs. Mickey Mouse) presented fanged Mickey Mouse look-alikes riding giant bats, attacking peaceful Pacific islanders (represented by cats and dolls, for some reason); the hero Momotaro jumps out of a picture book, repels the American mice, and cherry trees blossom throughout the island as the grateful natives sing “Tokyo Chorus.”

THE CARTOON CRYPT: Metal Eating Bird (1930)


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.