Short Animation Blogathon: Day 4

Today we reach the end of our Short Animation Blogathon! Thanks so much to everyone who contributed–you all wrote amazing things about a huge variety of animation. One of our more selfish goals with this blogathon was to introduce ourselves to more short animation and, thanks to all of you, it was a complete success! To close out the week, here’s my own write up on some of my favorite short animation and the last of the links!

Ashley’s Hour of Short Animation

The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics (Chuck Jones, 1965, 10 minutes). When I would watch Looney Tunes, as I invariably did every single day in my early childhood (especially in my pre-kindergarten days), I would hope and pray for The Dot and the Line to come on. The straight-edged Line, vivacious Dot, and coarse Squiggle star in a tale of unrequited love, despair, self-discovery, and triumph, smoothly narrated by Robert Morley. I was drawn in by the soft colors and shapes, captivated by the intricate, delicate designs used by the Line to woo the Dot, and most importantly, intrigued by the abstract form of storytelling, which seemed so starkly unique when set beside the very straightforward, blunt stories of Bugs Bunny and the like. It was unlike everything else in the Looney Tunes lineup and as a result, it was (and still is) my favorite.

Susie the Little Blue Coupe (Clyde Geronimi, 1952, 7 minutes). Unlike The Dot and the Line, this is not a cartoon from my childhood, though it feels like one. I was first introduced to this cartoon last summer by Pussy Goes Grrr’s friend and contributor Jacob Canfield, who designed our lovely banner for this blogathon. I couldn’t get over how blatant the metaphors in this story were: we watch as Susie, a bright little blue car who symbolizes a ’50s trophy wife, rises, falls, and is reborn. I don’t want to get too into the details since I’m working on a larger, more in-depth post about this cartoon but suffice it to say that if you haven’t seen this, you should definitely check it out.

What’s Opera, Doc? (Chuck Jones, 1957, 7 minutes). Back to Chuck Jones and the cartoons of my youth—what is there to say about What’s Opera, Doc? that hasn’t been said countless times? It’s one of the best cartoons ever, possibly Jones’ and co.’s best, and definitely my favorite Bugs Bunny cartoon. So much passion and emotion packed into 7 little minutes, while still maintaining the lightness and frivolity of the average Merrie Melodies toon (even with its darkly funny ending).

Harvie Krumpet (Adam Elliot, 2003, 22 minutes). After I watched the heartbreaking Mary and Max (2009), I sought out Adam Elliot’s earlier short Harvie Krumpet and was pleased to find the same quirky storytelling and humor that made me love Mary and Max so much. Elliot’s strange claymation worlds have a certain charm and darkness to them that seem to tug and pull at each other until they find a perfect balance—as in the case of Harvie Krumpet, who, despite calamity after calamity disrupting his life, develops an optimistic and supremely eccentric outlook. Harvie Krumpet manages to successfully and profoundly tackle broad themes of life, death, self-fulfillment, aging, happiness, and fate more effectively in 22 minutes than many films could ever hope to with a feature-length running time.

Bob’s Birthday (Alison Snowden and David Fine, 1993, 12 minutes) This is a cartoon that, despite being so obviously intended for adults, is still a cartoon from my childhood. When I was a kid, I had trouble sleeping, and I also had a television with cable in my room, which meant if I wanted to I could stay up all night watching TV. In Cartoon Network’s pre-Adult Swim days, they ran a show of adult animation called O Canada at midnight and I watched it a lot. Bob’s Birthday, the Academy Award-winning short that led to the Bob and Margaret TV series, is the short I remember most vividly from those late nights. I was hyper-aware of the fact that this was not meant for kids and yet here I was, watching this mundanely funny toon about Bob’s embarrassing midlife crisis—and just imagine my sense of wonder and rebellion when Bob walked on screen with no fucking pants on. I was like, ten. And here was animated, extremely non-sexual penis on cable television. It definitely altered my little brain, for the better.

And now to conclude Pussy Goes Grrr’s Short Animation Blogathon, here are the final links:

  • Stacia from She Blogged by Night writes “A Delightful Hour of Animated Shorts (Not the Kind You Wear) (Probably),” a fantastic write-up about Adult Swim-era animation. She gives some history and insight on the ways Cartoon Network attempted to grow up with it’s demographic, cashing in on the nostalgic yearnings of twentysomething college students who grew up with Looney Tunes, plus a little X-rated, animated fun thrown in for good measure.
  • And we end, appropriately, with one more dose of the Fleischer Brothers. KC from Classic Movies has “Random Picks” for us, including a salacious line-up of Betty Boop cartoons, an early animated short, and a personal favorite of mine, Poe’s Tell-Tale Heart as narrated by James Mason.

If you have any additional posts for the blogathon, please send them to us and they will get linked. Otherwise, this concludes our fun week of celebrating animation. Thanks to all our lovely contributors and readers! We hope you saw some great cartoons.

  • Sure enough, we had one last submission: the estimable David Cairns also took on Chuck Jones’ The Dot and the Line, unexpectedly positioning it vis-à-vis Vertigo. I couldn’t have asked for a better blogathon coda.

4 Comments

Filed under Cinema, Meta

4 responses to “Short Animation Blogathon: Day 4

  1. Great line up here. I’ve never heard of Harvey Krumpet and I don’t think I’ve seen the specific short Bob’s Birthday though I vaguely remember watching Bob and Margaret, but I remember quite fondly Suzie the Blue Coupe and The Dot and the Line. What’s Opera Doc blurs together with all the other great Looney Tunes but that’s because they’re all pretty fantastic. I was always fond of… don’t remember the title but I remember it was featured as the #1 spot in an early Cartoon Network special ranking the top 100 cartoons of all time. Duck Amuck! Now I remember (and it had nothing to do with Googling it…)

  2. Pingback: Math Appeal « shadowplay

  3. sbbn

    I loved “Bob’s Birthday”! It was censored when I saw it, as were a lot of the shorts. They had little red maple leafs over various bits.

    I liked all of the “O Canada” shorts. One was called “The Cat Came Back,” and while I haven’t seen it in a decade, that song still gets stuck in my head at random times. Another had a married hetero couple doing odd things around the house; I remember the lady taking her eyes off to shake them, and the man liked to saw things so much he sawed their own couch.

    Love your choices. I’m going to check out “Harvie Krumpet” most definitely.

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