Saturday, June 9, 2012

"Ha Ha Ha!" with Betty Boop and Koko (1934)

It’s hard to believe that this cartoon was once banned for drug use, but it was. In this hysterical classic, Max Fleischer is shown drawing Betty on the board, finishing just in time to quit, and leaving her alone on a blank canvas. Just as you begin to feel sad for her, out pops Koko from the ink bottle, where he is due to arrive at any time, but he just can’t wait to get out!

He quickly learns that life is sometimes not as sweet as it first tastes, but, Betty is there to rescue him. Jumping from the canvas out into the real world of Max Fleischer’s desk, she quickly uses the cartoonist’s own tools in a very clever bid to help her friend Koko. When the whole scheme falls apart it has some unintended consequences for the whole world!

I watched this with Aliyah and Trinity the other night. They thought it was great! Aliyah especially liked the way Max Fleischer shifted the action from “cartoon” to “real life”, and then back again. I loved watching her watching it, and actually “getting” it. It was a discovery for her, and a delight for me. Some things, just like clever cartoons, never lose their appeal.

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