Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lonesome Ghosts

Hey gang- here's another great cartoon!

This is one of the many Disney cartoons I saw as a kid, over and over and over again on VHS, taped off TV.

As an adult, a part of me finds the Warner Brothers cartoons more appropriate to my tastes- the humor is sharper, the characters better. The prevailing opinion is that while Warner Brothers had better gags and more appealing characters, Disney excelled in smooth, technically brilliant animation. So with a Disney cartoon, you're less likely to actually laugh out loud.

This sounds about right to me... think about Bugs Bunny's wit vs. Mickey Mouse's personality, or lack thereof. On the other hand, Donald Duck, while somewhat narrowly defined, is one of the funniest cartoon characters to watch. More about him in a future post. For now, let's get down to my insane-obsessive analysis.

First of all, look at these bums, lying around, waiting for the phone to ring. This cartoon came out in 1937 – 47 years before Danny Aykroyd & company captured our imaginations with Ghostbusters. Now that's forward-thinking!

I also love the idea of trying to catch ghosts with shotguns and nets. At around the five minute mark, Donald even punches a ghost in the face. Who would think of doing this?

The ghosts' voices are funny to me too- the creators just added a weird echo to them to make them sound "otherworldly" or something, but it's a 1930's effect so it sounds like they're in a bathroom stall or something. I love it- it's one of those details that brings me back to watching it as a kid.

This above is the kind of thing you see more of in the Disney shorts. Both Disney and WB showed you crazy things you couldn't see in real life, but while a Bugs Bunny cartoon might be filled with quotable dialogue, shorts like this were more based around complex visual gags. Mickey bouncing off the door (twice), then having to catch his balance before pulling the door to the floor. It's the kind of thing you can only see in cartoons and here is rendered beautifully- the timing, the subtle details that go by before you even realize they're happening.

Mickey catching his balance after bouncing off the wall is one of those moments I love. It happens so fast you barely notice it, but goes so far in terms of bringing life to the character.

Here's another one of those visual gags- this is a fairly long, slapsticky scene of Goofy getting caught up in this armoire-type thing. He's not saying anything particularly funny, but the animation is executed perfectly so it's great to watch.

I haven't seen this one in years, I can't imagine why these old cartoons are never on TV anymore. Kids would still love them. Youtube is great!


  1. Remember how creepy this was when you were a kid?

    I used to watch this over and over around Hallowe'en. I don't think I found Michael Eisner's reaction to Goofy's costume as hilarious back then as I find it now.

    Also, the intro song is amazing. I still remember some of the lyrics. Although I forgot about "Black cats and bats and ghosts/ make such attractive hosts."

  2. I don't think I remember this, but you're absolutely right on every count. We had a few of these package specials of Disney cartoons that they would play on TV, that my parents taped and we would watch over and over again. This wasn't one of them but it follows the same style. Come to think of it, I think I may post on some of those.

    This, if anyone out there is reading, was in the 80's, when you could actually still see old Disney cartoons on television, and not just new CGI creepouts and "That's So Raven" type stuff.

    Thanks for posting this!!!