Cartoon

Barry Keith Grant

In some ways, jazz and the movies have parallel histories. Both developed around the turn of the last century on the margins of polite society - film as a novel working-class divertissement in peep shows and in vaudeville; jazz as a rough, improvised march music played by downtown New Orleans blacks. They met, as Charles Berg notes, in the darkened, smoke-filled chambers of Bijou Dreams during the first decade of this century. Sitting beneath cataracts of flickering images, pianists ragged and riffed through the pop and standard tunes of the day. Sometimes their efforts help underscore the drama. Mostly, however, their improvised medleys served to fill up the aural void and cover up the wisecracks and whirs from the projector.1

The improvised musical accompaniment for silent films was as important to the development of jazz as the Storyville brothels (and is thus deserving of more attention in official jazz histories than has been acknowledged hitherto). Today, some consider jazz and movies to be the USA's unique contributions to the history of art. Such a claim is certainly debatable, but there is no denying that together the two forms came to define the vibrant essence of US popular culture in the 1920s - the so-called Jazz Age - and have been central to US culture ever since.

Heralding the arrival of sound in 1927, as the Jazz Age wound down into the depression, was Warner Bros.' The Jazz Singer. It may be true that the film featured no jazz music as we understand the term today, but, as Krin Gabbard has shown in some detail, 'jazz' was already a resonant term for the archetypal dramatic conflict in the movie's narrative between 'serious' and popular forms of music (embodied in The Jazz Singer as traditional Hebrew prayer singing and blackface entertainment, respectively).2 One might say that the idea of jazz, if not the authentic music itself, worked comfortably into the musical genre which, as Jane Feuer notes, has employed this conflict between highbrow and lowbrow art as one of its central animating tensions.3 Thus, from the inception of the film musical, jazz has had a considerable presence in the movies, and has signified on a number of levels: as background music and as theme music (both diegetically and non-diegetically), as narrative verisimilitude and as a symbol of Otherness - whether racial, sexual or merely as an indication of a bohemian as opposed to bourgeois lifestyle.

A cursory glance at film history after the arrival of sound reveals the consistent presence of jazz, both within the musical genre and beyond. In the 1930s many Hollywood musicals featured performances by such prominent jazz stars as Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong (although, because of the racist conventions of the day, they functioned more as supporting characters or were simply themselves in performance rather than featured as protagonists). After the Second World War came a cycle of Hollywood biopics about white swing bandleaders such as The Fabulous Dorseys (1947), The Glenn Miller Story (1954) and The Benny Goodman Story (1955), their conservatism bespeaking the dominant mood of the Cold War.4 In the 1950s a number of Hollywood arrangers and composers - who as a group typically employed the Romantic tradition of musical expression with its reliance on thematic leitmotifs - began creating film scores that contained elements of jazz; Leonard Bernstein's score for West Side Story (1961), featuring such jazz musicians as trumpeter Pete Candoli and drummer Shelly Manne, was one of the most notable. Genuine jazz composers also began scoring for films, a distinguished early example being Ellington's score for Otto Preminger's prestigious Anatomy of a Murder (1959). By the 1960s such major jazz figures as saxophonists Stan Getz (Mickey One, 1965) and Sonny Rollins (Alfie, 1966) were composing and playing for important mainstream films, and the prolific pianist/composer/arranger Quincy Jones was providing music for movies ranging from edgy thrillers (In the Heat of the Night, 1967) to tepid comedies (Cactus Flower, 1969). By the beginning of the 1980s David Meeker had identified almost 4,000 films that employed jazz in one way or another.5

Of course, the representation of jazz in film, as with everything in the cinema, is an expression of ideological functions. As Gabbard asserts, '[m]ost jazz films aren't really about jazz' - like the music itself, he writes, the representation of jazz in the movies is about 'race, sexuality, and spectacle'.6 Jazz, like much popular US music, is always already entangled in the complex history of race relations in the United States. Spirituals, gospel music, minstrelsy, ragtime, rock 'n' roll and dance crazes from the cakewalk to the twist - all developed out of a shuttling network of cultural appropriations and reappropriations by both races. This is certainly true of jazz as well, but because it was dominated by black musicians, Hollywood movies conventionally tinged the music with negative connotations. This attitude to jazz was to a large extent shaped by the music's historical development: its association with the New Orleans brothels, the nightclubs and speakeasies of New York and Chicago, the corrupt Pendergast government in Kansas City in the 1930s and the well-publicised use of drugs by such jazz luminaries as Charlie Parker and Billie Holiday.

According to Claudia Gorbman, 'jazz during the studio era often conveyed connotations such as sophistication, urban culture, nightlife, decadence'.7 Kathryn Kalinak concurs, using the same words to describe how jazz was used in Hollywood movies, and she also discusses the association of jazz with the depiction of female desire in a phallocentric cinema as illicit and transgressive.8 Of course, the very name 'jazz' (originally 'jass'), like so many other phrases in popular music ('rock 'n' roll', 'in the groove'), originally had meanings that were sexual in character. By the late 1950s these connotations had become so diffused that, according to jazz critic Gary Giddens, jazz clearly had come to signify a vague sense of 'sleaziness'.9 Beginning with Alex North's music for A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) and Elmer Bernstein's brassy score for Otto Preminger's The Man With the Golden Arm (1955), jazz has to a large extent been marginalised as music suited to particular (that is, seedy) subjects such as drug addiction (The Man With the Golden Arm; The Connection, 1961) and urban lowlife (Panic in the Streets, 1950; Odds Against Tomorrow, 1959).

Paradigmatic of the knotty issues of race and representation that inform the history of jazz in the movies is The King of Jazz (1930), one of the first feature film musicals, which appeared just three years after The Jazz Singer. The royal moniker of the title belongs to the fortuitously named Paul Whiteman, known among jazz fans, since his famous Aeolian Hall concert of 1924, for appropriating elements of jazz for a sweeter band sound aimed at white audiences. Whiteman at various times employed several important (white) jazz musicians in his orchestra - trumpeters Bix Biederbecke and Frankie Trumbauer, vibra-phonist Red Norvo and guitarist Eddie Lang among them - all of whom left the band rather quickly because they were given little room for a solo or for improvisation. The King of Jazz makes it clear that Whiteman is responsible for the music: in an early scene, he 'unpacks' his orchestra by opening a case out of which step matted diminutive versions of the musicians. The film's treatment of jazz is consistent with Whiteman's approach to the music.

The King of Jazz purports to show the historical evolution of jazz, yet, amazingly, it does so by virtually erasing the music's roots in black experience. With the exception of an early sequence in which each instrument is introduced and each musician riffs for several bars, virtually none of the music in The King of Jazz could be classified as jazz. Instead, most of the music in the film is rather tepid pop material, sung by matinee idols like John Boles. The film's final sequence, entitled 'The Melting Pot of Music', shows how different ethnic and cultural musical influences combined to produce jazz. Scottish bagpipers, Irish tenors, Russians with balalaikas and so on perform before an immense symbolic bubbling cauldron. African and Afro-American influences are noteworthy only by their absence. Later, introducing an abbreviated performance of Gershwin's 'Rhapsody in Blue' (which his orchestra had premiered at the Aeolian Hall concert), Whiteman explains that the piece contains both 'primitive and modern musical elements' and that 'Jazz was born in the African jungle with the beating of the voodoo drums'. The music begins with a drum introduction, played by a dancer in a black body suit (rather than a black dancer) dancing on a giant drum.

The effacement of the black contribution to jazz, as it appears in The King of Jazz, is an ideological operation - like its softening of jazz music itself -designed to make it more acceptable to a mainstream white audience. (The same strategy was at work in the early rock 'n' roll era when major record labels had their white pop singers cover black rhythm and blues songs.) This is the trajectory that Gabbard traces in many movies using jazz, and in the developing 'non-phallic' personae of black jazz performers such as Nat King Cole who have managed to achieve significant crossover success with white audiences. So the film's music, like its very title, denies the blackness of jazz by valorising the entirely white orchestra - just as LeRoi Jones noted of Benny Goodman's nickname 'The King of Swing'.10

The King of Jazz features an animated sequence at the beginning of the film. The first animated cartoon using the Technicolor process and created by Walter Lantz (subsequently better known as the animator of Woody Woodpecker), it purports to recount how Whiteman became the King of Jazz. A narrator explains that the story takes place 'in darkest Africa', and we see a cartoon caricature of Whiteman loping along in pith helmet with rifle in hand. Whiteman tussles with a lion, but then plays his violin (he began his career as a violinist), soothing the savage beast, who proclaims 'mammy'. As the music plays, caricatured African natives, strong black shadows behind them, strut to the beat. We even see a black rabbit - 'a jungle bunny' - enjoying the music. Whiteman is struck with a coconut hurled by a mischievous monkey, and a huge bump rises on his head - thus he is 'crowned' with his royal nickname.

The sequence is particularly revealing in its racism and its operation of cultural appropriation. Gabbard persuasively argues that when they employ jazz, mainstream films typically seek to repress what Michael Rogin has called the 'surplus symbolic value of blacks'.11 But it may be that, as the animated sequence in The King of Jazz suggests, contemporary cartoons are the site of the return of the repressed. In their dependence on exaggeration and simplification in both imagery and narrative, they create a clear and fundamental language. Warner Bros.' Roadrunner cartoons, for instance, present a pared down essence of 'the chase', not unlike the surreal kinetics of Buster Keaton or Mack Sennett's Keystone comedies.

The music in animated cartoons - at least until the 1940s, according to Roy M. Prendergast - tended, like the cartoons' narratives, toward the simple.12 In the words of animator Chuck Jones, cartoon music was comprised of 'the hackneyed, the time-worn, the proverbial'.13 Indeed, to a large extent cartoon scores were little more than pastiches of popular and folk tunes easily recognisable by the viewer/auditor. As Scott Bradley - an important and innovative cartoon composer - has remarked, '[i]t seemed to me that almost anybody could collect a lot of nursery jingles and fast moving tunes, throw them together along with slide whistles and various noise makers and call that a cartoon score'.14 And so a musical score for a feature film that merely reinforced the emotional tone of the images was called - derogatorily - 'Mickey-Mousing'.

It is no surprise, then, as Prendergast observes, that '[i]f the neglect and misunderstandings about music in feature films has been unfortunate and unwarranted, the total inattention given music in cartoons verges on the criminal'.15 Such neglect is indeed curious, given the proliferation of Silly Symphonies (Disney), Swing Symphonies (Walter Lantz), Screen Songs and Car-Tunes (Fleischer), Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies (Warner Bros.) in the history of the US animation cartoon, and since a considerable number of cartoons - from Disney's The Band Concert (1935) and Fantasia (1940) through Chuck Jones's The Rabbit of Seville (1950) and What's Opera, Doc? (1957) to Ralph Bakshi's American Pop (1980) - exist entirely for the purposes of providing animated images to accompany music.

Many cartoons, interestingly, featured jazz.16 In the early 1930s, the Fleischer Studio released a series of Betty Boop cartoons combining Betty, her friends Bimbo and Ko-Ko and jazz artists such as Armstrong, Cab Calloway and the Boswell Sisters through the technique of rotoscoping (a method of animation in which the photographic image of a live figure is projected and traced frame by frame). The Fleischer Brothers developed the technique, using it to full advantage in their jazz cartoons for Paramount Pictures, particularly those featuring the unique and charismatic jive choreography of bandleader Calloway. The next decade saw the appearance of popular short animated loops, of about three minutes, for jukeboxes employing rear-projection, featuring such artists as Ellington, Count Basie, Lionel Hampton and Fats Waller, but they were eventually withdrawn because of pressure from theatrical distributors who viewed them as competition.17

Perhaps jazz was featured in so many cartoons because the two forms are similar in certain ways. Just as jazz escapes the constraints of melody and notation, so the cartoon is the one type of mainstream cinema that has frequently been able to break away from the tyranny of narrative. It might also be said that the transformation of objects and the visual surprises typical of cartoons are analogous to the unpredictable musical potential extracted from standard pop tunes by jazz musicians, or like the common jazz device of interpolating unexpected phrases of one song into another. The fiction film offers no experimental uses of jazz soundtracks equivalent to, say, George Pal's short pixilated Puppetoons fantasies (1941-7), which often incorporate a jazz soundtrack (by such luminaries as Charlie Barnet, Peggy Lee or Duke Ellington), or Norman McLaren's abstract visual tracks accompanying the pianists Albert Ammons in Boogie Doodle (1948) or Oscar Peterson in Begone Dull Care (1949). With the rare exception of synthetic scores for such films as Forbidden Planet (1956) or The Birds (1963), mainstream cinema has stayed away from this abstract music, which McLaren, referring to it as 'animated sound',18 experimented with in his short films Neighbors and Two Bagatelles (both 1952), or which the Whitney Brothers employed in their Five Abstract Film Exercises (1943-4).19

The racial and sexual connotations of jazz, which mainstream feature films sought to minimise if not erase, are uncomfortably excessive in many animated cartoons. Walter Lantz's Scrub Me Mama With a Boogie Beat (1941), for example, seemingly employs every racist stereotype about blacks of the period. In this animation, as in so many others - even those ostensibly celebrating jazz by featuring it on the soundtrack - black characters are little more than, in the words of Donald Bogle, 'toms, coons, mulattoes, mammies, and bucks'.20 The short is set along a southern levee in Lazy Town, a place inhabited by shiftless coons and uninspired mammies. Caricatured blacks loll about snoring and uttering laconic moans when bitten by slow-moving mosquitoes. But the town is energised when a sexy black woman disembarks from a docked steamboat and infuses everyone with 'rhythm'. When she sings 'Boogie Woogie Washerwoman', the men now eat watermelon speedily while 'shoeshine boys' enthusiastically buff up bare black feet.

Similarly, Boogie Woogie Man (1943) employs as its main joke a gag that serves to legitimise the use of a racist insult. The narrative concerns a convention of 'spooks' in a Nevada ghost town who are meeting to solve the problem that their traditional way of scaring people with sheets and chains has become passé. Some of the ghosts, the more shadowy ones, are clearly those of black folk, but in case we miss the point, the convention delegate from Lenox Avenue steps up to the podium complete with a panama hat, zoot suit sheet and thick lips. He makes a speech, telling the assembled spirits that they need to 'get hep' and find new ways to scare people and encourages them to boogie, which they do, accompanied by the music of the Spook Jones band. Through humour, apparently, the cartoon was able to get away with referring to blacks as 'spooks', at the same time suggesting that boogie woogie is a 'frightening' musical style.

But even less obviously objectionable jazz cartoons employed similar representational strategies and mobilised similar meanings. In the 1930s several cartoons featuring jazz soundtracks were made by Hugh Harman and Rudolf Ising, who instituted both Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies for Warner Bros. Their Swing Wedding (1937) has been called 'one of the finest one-reelers in all of animation', yet while it may be an excellent example of the animator's art, its racism nevertheless remains objectionable.21 The setting of the cartoon is a swamp; four frogs with exaggeratedly thick lips sing 'Beat Your Feet on the Mississippi Mud'. Numerous other frogs follow, several of which are caricatures of specific black performers: there are, among others, frog versions of Josephine Baker, Louis Armstrong, Fats Waller (complete with bowler and cigar), Bill Robinson and Cab Calloway (wearing tails but no trousers). Others are straightforward racist stereotypes: there is a Zip Coon or Dandy Jim, the stereotype of the citified black with exaggerated elegance (formalised in minstrelsy), and a group of amphibian chorines modelled on those of the Cotton Club. A 'Smokey Joe' frog appears, a clear caricature of Stepin Fetchit, the black actor whom Bogle calls 'the arch-coon', 'the embodiment of the nitwit coloured man'.22 This frog, with his drawled 'Yowza' and 'Who dat?', is nothing less than a caricature of a caricature. Throughout the cartoon there is much emphasis on signifiers of sexuality - breasts, buttocks and shaking bodies, as all the creatures boogie to the music.

Tin Pan Alley Cats (1943, directed by Bob Clampett) similarly caricatures blacks as ('hep') cats rather than frogs. They have the same inevitable thick lips, complemented this time by the rolling eyes that became so familiar during the minstrel era, and in film by such burnt-cork performers as Al Jolson and Eddie Cantor, and there are similar feline caricatures of Armstrong, Waller et al. The cartoon establishes an opposition between Uncle Tomcat's Mission, where 'Give Me That Old Time Religion' is played in a leisurely manner, and The Kit Kat Klub, where the real cool cats go for hot jazz. The cartoon, though, takes an overtly moralistic tone: the Kit Kat Klub becomes a surreal nightmare, what Patrick McGilligan calls a 'jive pell-mell frenzy', with the freaked out protagonist fleeing at the end to the security of the Mission.23 The point is clear that jazz is a music that is wild and sinful, unleashing the nightmarish and chaotic impulses of the mind as well as the body; it is better to remain within the orderly calm of religion and polite music.

As in the cartoon sequence of The King of Jazz, a jungle setting is used in I'll Be Glad When You're Dead, You Rascal You (1932), by Max and Dave Fleischer. It begins, as most of the Fleischer cartoons do, with a filmed segment, here of Louis Armstrong performing the title tune. Betty Boop inexplicably finds herself in the jungle, complete with pith helmet and garter. The images of the black natives, waiting for Bimbo and Ko-Ko to cook in the cauldron, are reminiscent of Lantz's Africans in The King of Jazz. And again Armstrong appears, but now as an animated drawing, which dissolves into a photographed image of his head singing, and then into a stereotyped black native pursuing Bimbo and Ko-Ko while singing the title tune. Betty is tied to the stake, a delicious treat for the natives. Armstrong sings some rather risqué lines ('You bought my wife a bottle of Coca-Cola/ So you could play on her Victrola'). But, ultimately, the threat of black sexuality that even a genial persona like Armstrong might engender, a fear which has been presented so hysterically in movies since D. W. Griffith's infamous Birth of a Nation (1915), is defused, as the natives are shown to be comic figures with polka-dot underwear rather than phalluses beneath their grass skirts.

Most of these cartoons feature numerous sight gags about the hot style of jazz playing - drums or bass slapped with feet, for example, or thermometers rising rapidly. This visual aspect of the cartoons is generally enjoyable, and jazz fans in particular are likely to be delighted by some of the in-jokes. But it is significant that these narratives are located in swamps, jungles and alleys - that is to say, black landscapes and ghettos. (Perhaps it is not insignificant that in 1929 Harman and Ising also created the infamous Bosko, a black character featured in a series of cartoons, who even by the 1960s was an embarrassing caricature.) These spaces provide a remarkably consistent cluster of visual iconography that ascribes to jazz and blackness the characteristics of sexuality, animalism, poverty, illiteracy and primitivism.

Rotoscoping, with its more faithful, realistic rendering of live action, befits the cartoon world of the Fleischer Brothers, which is often not only emphatically physical (Ko-Ko the Clown often moves through a filmed rather than animated world) but downright kinky - as summed up in the image of Betty Boop's garter and white underwear visible beneath her shockingly short dress. In Minnie the Moocher (1932), Betty runs away, only to be confronted immediately upon doing so by the sexual desire out there in the world beyond the insulated comforts of home. She enters a vaginal-like cave where a walrus figure with menacing phallic tusks - actually a rotoscoped Calloway - sings the erot-ically charged title song ('she was a real hot hoochie coocher') and then pursues her lustfully. The cartoon climaxes in a wild chase, the music degenerating into novelty chase music reminiscent of the barnyard cheapening of jazz in 'Livery Stable Blues', the first recorded jazz tune (1917) by the white Original Dixieland Jazz Band. The cartoon may be seen as an animated tale about entering puberty, and, significantly, the confrontation with sexuality takes the form of a creature who 'mutates' out of a black jazz musician.

The Fleischers's The Old Man of the Mountain (1933) also uses a rotoscoped Calloway in a lascivious pursuit of Betty in a cave. A handicapped man looks her up and down and tosses his crutches away; Betty tugs provocatively at the old man's beard, and he responds by literally pulling her dress off. She ducks behind a tree but is pushed up by a tumescent root grown from the ground. The cartoon is a riot of sexual symbolism, all the while underscored by Calloway's lowdown brand of jazz. Betty and Calloway were also teamed in the Fleischers's Snow White (1933). In this cartoon's plot, the wicked Queen learns she is no longer the fairest in the land because of Betty, and the seven dwarfs look like diminutive 'Old Men of the Mountain'. But the fairy tale narrative, which eventually disappears entirely, is really a thin excuse for the images of bondage and sexual pursuit of Betty. We see her encased in a block of ice and, more sexually resonant, tied to a suggestively arched tree trunk. Ko-Ko, normally a pal of Betty's, transforms into a ghost-like creature (its whiteness connecting it to Calloway's distinctive white zoot suit) who sings 'St. James Infirmary Blues'.

In all three of these cartoons Calloway morphs into a pronounced sexual threat to pure-as-snow Betty. This is consistent with such racist responses to jazz generally and to Calloway specifically. For instance, Daniel J. Leab reports that Lloyd T. Binford, head of the Memphis censorship board, excised Calloway's appearance in an unidentified 1945 film because Calloway was, as he put it, 'inimical to public health, safety, morals, and welfare'.24 The live action sequences of Calloway, which begin each of the Fleischer cartoons, and the rotoscoping technique make even a viewer otherwise unaware of Calloway's striking persona and performance style, conscious that he is associated with the sexual threat to white womanhood as represented by Betty.

Jungle Jive (1944), to conclude, depicts a riotous anthropological pastiche of Otherness. The cartoon is set on a jungle island, its inhabitants an uneasy combination of Africans and Polynesians living in grass huts and throwing boomerangs. But just as the natives begin to grow restless, they find a box of musical instruments in the sea. They experiment with the instruments, tentatively at first, but then they become 'infected' with the jazz rhythms they produce until a full-blown hot swing arrangement emerges from their efforts. The typical bunch of sight gags follow, such as the bass player who slaps his instrument too hard, snapping a string that wraps around his neck and makes him look like an exaggerated Ubangi. According to Lantz, of the twenty-six musical cartoons he made, about ten featured black characters, none of which he considered racially questionable.25 The fact that he could make such an assertion, however, only emphasises how pervasive such racist imagery is.

Most histories of black American film fail to take serious account of the treatment of blacks in animation, even of such cartoons as Clampett's Coal Black and De Sebben Dwarfs (1942).26 Film scholars have focused, quite logically, on mainstream feature film, where the treatment of blacks by dominant white culture has had more obvious visible impact. But as this discussion has demonstrated, cartoons using the culturally charged music known as jazz, repay close analysis as well. Black writers such as Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones) have focused on jazz as an authentic black contribution to the culture of the US and have polemicised about its co-optation by white culture. Perhaps the jazz cartoons have been critically neglected because they were programme fillers and may seem more ephemeral, more trifling, than mainstream cinema.

Whatever the reason, it is important to remember that all the leading cartoon production units, like all the Hollywood studios, were owned and operated by white men. (Indeed, some of these units, like the one at Warners', may have had relative freedom but they were nevertheless part of the company and its overall production profile.) The musical directors of these cartoons, moreover, tended to be white. For this reason, and because movies, whether live-action or hand-drawn, inevitably articulate the dominant ideologies of race, even well-intentioned cartoons like Song of the South (1946), Disney's treatment of the Uncle Remus stories, cannot avoid a racist dimension. Perhaps, because of their apparently benign status as 'entertainment', they are in some ways even more insidious than mainstream films - and for that reason are no less deserving of serious analysis.

Notes

This is a significantly revised version of an essay that appeared originally in Popular Music and Society 13: 4 (Winter 1989): 49-57.

1. Charles M. Berg, 'Cinema sings the blues', Cinema Journal 17: 2 (Spring 1978): 1.

2. Krin Gabbard, Jammin' at the Margins: Jazz and the American Cinema (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1996): 35-63.

3. Jane Feuer, The Hollywood Musical (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1984).

4. For more on this group of films see James Chapman, 'A short history of the big band musical', in this volume.

5. David Meeker, Jazz in the Movies, 1917-1977 (London: British Film Institute, 1977).

7. Claudia Gorbman, Unheard Melodies: Narrative Film Music (London and Bloomington: British Film Institute/ Indiana University Press, 1987): 86.

8. Kathryn Kalinak, Settling the Score: Music and the Classical Hollywood Film (Madison and London: University of Wisconsin Press, 1992): 167, 120.

9. Gary Giddens, 'Jazz is back on films too', Village Voice, 31 October 1977: 53.

10. LeRoi Jones, Blues People (New York: William Morrow, 1968): 214.

11. Michael Rogin, 'Blackface, white noise: the Jewish jazz singer finds his voice', Critical Inquiry 18: 3 (1992): 417.

12. Roy M. Prendergast, Film Music: A Neglected Art (New York: Norton, 1987) 172. Of course I refer here specifically to cartoons from the US, for the animated film in Europe has consistently been regarded as a legitimate form of artistic expression. From the early films of Viking Eggeling in France, and Hans Richter, Lotte Reiniger and Oskar Fischinger in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s, New Zealander Len Lye's work in England and the postwar work of Jan Lenica and Walerian Borowczyck in Poland, Jiri Trinka in Czechoslovakia and the Zagreb animators of Yugoslavia, to the cartoons of Italy's Bruno Bozzetto in the 1960s and the contemporary animation of the Quay Brothers, Americans who live and work in England, animation outside the US has been consistently informed by political and aesthetic seriousness.

14. Quoted in Prendergast: 170.

15. Prendergast: 168. The two notable exceptions are Ingolf Dahl, 'Notes on cartoon music', Film Music 8 (May-June, 1949): 3 and Chuck Jones, 'Music and the animated cartoon', Hollywood Quarterly 1: 4 (1945-6): 364-70.

16. For a further discussion of animation and jazz see Daniel Goldmark, Tunes for Toons: Music and the Hollywood Cartoon (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005) 77-106; and Jake Austen, 'Hidey hidey hidey ho ... boop-boop-a doop!: the Fleischer Studio and jazz cartoons', in Daniel Goldmark and Yuval Taylor (eds), The Cartoon Music Book (Chicago: A Cappella Books, 2002): 61-6.

18. See McLaren's essay 'Notes on Animated Sound', Hollywood Quarterly 7: 3 (1953): 223-9.

19. Perhaps this affinity also explains the motif of cartoon art for jazz LPs: Dave Brubeck's Dave Digs Disney (Columbia, 1959), Phil Napoleon's Two Beat (Columbia, 1955) and Imagine My Surprise by the fusion group Dreams (Columbia, 1971) are only three of the many albums featuring the work of noted cartoonists such as Arnold Roth and Gahan Wilson. Interestingly, the theme of the television animated series The Flintstones has been recorded by a number of jazz artists, and Vince Guaraldi has recorded the music for the numerous animated Peanuts specials. Perhaps the most frequently recorded song from an animated film is 'Someday My Prince Will Come' from Walt Disney's Snow White and Seven Dwarfs (1937), which was recorded several times by trumpeter Miles Davis and pianist Bill Evans, becoming something of a jazz standard as a result.

20. Donald Bogle, Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies & Bucks: An Interpretive History of Blacks in American Films (New York: Bantam, 1974).

21. Tom Bertino, 'Hugh Harmon and Rudolf Ising at Warner Brothers', in Gerald Peary and Danny Peary (eds), The American Animated Cartoon: A Critical Anthology (New York: Dutton, 1980): 109.

23. Patrick McGilligan, 'Robert Clampett', in The American Animated Cartoon: 156.

24. Quoted in Daniel J. Leab, From Sambo to Superspade: The Black Experience in Motion Pictures (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1974): 134.

25. Danny Peary, 'Reminiscing with Walter Lantz', in The American Animated Cartoon: 196.

26. In addition to the books by Bogle and Leab, see also Thomas Cripps, Black Film as Genre (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1979) and James Murray, To Find an Image: Black Films From Uncle Tom to Superfly (Indianapolis and New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1973).

The Power Of Charisma

The Power Of Charisma

You knowthere's something about you I like. I can't put my finger on it and it's not just the fact that you will download this ebook but there's something about you that makes you attractive.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment