Saturday, October 19, 2013

"School Days" with Flip the Frog - MGM UB Iwerks (1932)

In this MGM cartoon from the early 1930's school is in session once again. One of the local kids seems to have a problem with getting his dog to stay at home alone. When the dog continues to follow him the boy ties him to a steamroller for the day. At least he thinks so...

Arriving at school the boy is greeted by an overflowing playground with seemingly more children than can possibly fit in the one room school house. When class is called into session the children all go inside and meet their very old and not so personable teacher. They engage in all the usual activities associated with school and things seem to be going well in class.

But what about the dog? Remember the dog? He has grown tired of being tied to that steamroller and manages to tow it towards the school. Somehow he becomes untied from the machine as it rolls along on a path of destruction, depositing our canine friend just outside of the schoolhouse where his master studies inside.

Naturally the dog enters the schoolhouse to "sniff out" the location of his master. This serves to enrage the teacher, who promptly throws him outside. There the unfortunate dog meets a skunk, which starts a chase that winds up back inside of the classroom. It is there that the skunk does what skunks do best, necessitating the evacuation of the entire schoolhouse.

But all is not over until the dog, with the aid of his master, is able to shed his tainted skin. This is a very simple and fun cartoon with no real hidden meanings to it. Just fun in black and white.

Ubbe Eert Iwwerks  was an American animator born in 1901. His first job was working for an advertising company in his home town of Kansas City.  He was just 18 years old. This was also where he met Walt Disney. They bonded instantly.

During the 1920’s,  while working together, UB came up with the idea for Mickey Mouse, who Mr. Disney wanted to name Mortimer Mouse instead. UB won out and did most of those early cartoons by himself, frame by frame. By the time the 1930’s arrived UB had grown fed up with Mr. Disney; who was a very demanding boss; as well as not getting the credit he deserved for his accomplishments. (To this day many people credit Mr. Disney with the creation of Mickey Mouse, upon whom he built an empire.) And that’s how UB ended up at MGM. Flip the Frog was the first character he created there, followed by many others.

For more information about this often overlooked artist, use this link;

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