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MMD > Archives > November 2001 > 2001.11.21 > 05Prev  Next

Mechanical Music in Animated Cartoons
By Karl Ellison

I usually wake up to a cartoon when the TV comes on at 4:15 AM
each day; for example, a Disney "Silly Symphonies" cartoon.

In "The Three Kittens" (1935) three kittens are abandoned in a
snowstorm and seek refuge in an upscale house where they proceed to
do mischief.  The kittens, of course, get onto a grand piano that
contains a Duo-Art-ish player mechanism.  One of them hits the start
lever which began a jazzed-up version of a predictable Zez Confrey

What instantly made me snap into focus was that the roll leader looked
realistic (but not Duo-Art): the roll label, intro stencil, preset and
music perforations that followed the music correctly throughout the
1-minute scene.  Now that's attention to detail!  It all ends when the
Hattie McDaniel style maid catches them "messin' up d' house" and says
"Out youse go!"

An aside: In my opinion this series of films has the best quality
animation ever done; the director consistently goes out of his way to
make background and foreground objects play in pseudo 3-D perspective
with the subject.  The color use and shading is nothing you'd see in
the computer-generated violent rubbish that kids think nothing of

Karl Ellison

(Message sent Wed 21 Nov 2001, 10:27:37 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Animated, Cartoons, Mechanical, Music

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