Saturday, April 20, 2013

"Hysterical High Spots in American History" from Walter Lantz (1941)

Walter Lantz is most noted for his Woody Woodpecker cartoons, but he had a life in animation before the advent of the noisy little bird we all came to love. This Technicolor cartoon from 1941 should give you a good idea of what Mr. Lantz was doing prior to the birth of Woody.

Beginning with Columbus’ voyage to the New World, Mr. Lantz takes the viewer on a tour de force through America’s most colorful moments. From Columbus and all the way through the American Revolution; which began today at Lexington-Concord in Massachusetts; on through the stock market crash of the late 1920’s and the Great Depression, this cartoon leaves nothing out.

The First Thanksgiving is covered in a humorous fashion, with everyone shaking hands and saying “Thank you” to one another. The Minutemen are here, as is Lincoln at Gettysburg. The Gold Rush in California, the New Deal, and even the rumblings of the Second World War, along with the first peacetime conscription of  the Armed Forces, are all covered as well.  

Today is the anniversary of the events that brought us freedom, and in spite of the events in Boston; the “Cradle of Liberty”; this past week, Americans will persevere and move on with their lives, always remembering the fallen that did not make it. And, along with that, we will keep our senses; all of them; even our sense of humor. And that, in itself, is a victory.

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