19392 19392

Cartoons of 1939 blog

Film historians have long declared the year 1939 the pinnacle of Hollywood movie making. But what about the cartoons?

Cartoon buff Ted Watts is reviewing all 158 Hollywood cartoon short subjects (and one feature) produced in that banner year, 70 years ago, one at a time in release order, on a new blog called Cartoons of 1939.

Ted provides plot information, credits and lots of frame grabs. It’s a fun idea. If you want to start at the beginning, click here.

  • What a great idea(*and like i already “don’t” have enough to read on the web and in books. Haha)

    Two things for me. One: What would it be like if the “theatrical cartoon short subject” idea was re-lived today? I realize the reasons why ‘not’ to do this, but there’s also reasons why we ‘should’ do this(*ie. purely entertainment/art reasons and merchandising.. among others)

    Two: I can’t help but notice that most cartoons of this era were drawn similarly(*some more rubber-like than others) Most studios were simply mimicing others(*like disney or warners) and i guess that seemed the norm.

    What would today’s theatrical cartoon atmosphere look like?(*if we were so daring to venture into it)(*or have financial backing for it) Would cartoons all look like Sponge Bobs or Total Drama Islands or Powerpuff Girls? Or would it be a wide variety of styles and themes?

    I’d think the latter. Since, in this technological world, we’re all much more influence and connected more to what others are doing half way across the world.

    Great trip down memory lane though. And don’t stop at 1939. Why not everything “pre” 1950’s?(*when styles began to change) But one year at a time, i know ;)

  • Mac

    I really like the look of this blog, so thanks for bringing it my attention! I’ve been following http://disneyfilmproject.blogspot.com/ which looks at all the Disney films in order. While I follow the blog and watch the cartoons in order with it, I also try to watch contemporary cartoons from the other studios to get an idea of who’s influencing who and where certain ideas originate. That’s what I like about the 1939 blog – it’s looking at all the studios. It’d be nice to watch all the surviving cartoons from all the studios in order, but who’d have the time? Focusing on one year is a good start!

  • Ted

    Thanks for the mention, Jerry.

    The blog came from the idea that I’d like to see what all the cartoons on a given weekend were like; then I realized it would need to be more like a month to get all the studios represented; then I realized it would be just about as easy to source an entire year of cartoons as it would be to source a month. My enjoyment of the Lantz Encyclopedia encouraged me to document the experience for use by others. And giving myself a deadline (even a loose one) will help ensure I keep up with it.

    While I’m considering the idea of continuing with other years (we’ll see how I feel when 1939 is done), I suspect the only way to get a complete (ish) version of this type of thing (at least from people just doing it in their free time) would be to crowd-source it. One person doing a year in a year starting now would be done with sound era theatricals in about 2050 (and then only if they do more than a year in a year for the later, less populated years). Doing one cartoon a day might halve that time. But if two dozen people were doing a year in a year each (in a concerted effort to make sure they weren’t duplicating years, and each doing two years), there could be a group of blogs covering the whole of US golden age sound theatrical shorts before the Mayan calendar ends.

    So, anyone up for it?

  • Now this is something the aberration now known as Cartoon Network should have on as a series. Either a half hour or hour of short cartoons from the various studios with a linking narrator or onscreen personality (are ya listening, Jerry?) from a particular year. The narrator would provide historical perspective and point out influences each studio had on the other. Not just a “Disney did this and everyone else copied it” type of thing. Unfortunately, this will only happen on a new Cartoon Network.