My name is Amid and I’m a YouTube addict. I can’t help it. There’s so much great animation being posted on that site and I’ve just got to link to it. Today’s link is to a must-see 1939 MGM cartoon called JITTERBUG FOLLIES. There was an interesting, short-lived period at MGM in 1938 when comic legend Milt Gross took over the animation studio, and promptly managed to produce two shorts starring his characters, Count Screwloose and J.R. the Wonderdog.
Below is excerpt from Leonard Maltin’s OF MICE AND MAGIC discussing the production of these shorts:
Some of the animators balked at trying to animate Gross’s intricate, highly individual drawings, and Bill Littlejohn recalls, “I got tired of hearing this, so one night I just stayed overnight and animated about twenty feet of the dog, J.R. – just slashed it out. Milt [Gross] grabbed it, had it shot, and it was then proved that the things could animate.”Quimby was shocked at the finished product, however. “He didn’t want to release them,” says Littlejohn, “because he said they were ‘below the dignity of films that MGM would want to have.’ And they were so funny. I’ve never seen a bunch of animators laugh so hard. It was like Mel Brooks’s kind of humor. The vitality of [Gross’s] comic strips was right in the picture.”
Watch JITTERBUG FOLLIES below, thanks to the Classic Cartoons blog. On a sidenote, fellow Brewmaster Jerry Beck tells me that Mel Blanc does many of the voices in this short: