East Bay View (a blog about several things)

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

The history of the cartoon universe: Mickey's Choo-Choo (1929)

The canonical choice for 1929 would be The Skeleton Dance. But where that cartoon undermines reality the same way as all horror (though it also undermines horror itself through, like, skeleton pogo sticks), Mickey's Choo-Choo undermines (wait for it) perception itself*. Stealing the show from Mickey is his anthropomorphised locomotive: not quite soft architecture, but on the way. Iwerks makes the choo-choo memorably malleable: it moves like an animal, wobbles like a jelly, and generally hams it up. Between this and The Skeleton Dance, Ub and Walt basically achieve what Dali was aiming for, except with more laughs and arguably less kitschiness**.

*yes, I know The Skeleton Dance also undermines perception, just not as much
**though as both Disney and Dali knew, kitsch can be great



  • At 9:02 PM, Blogger Brian said…

    Wonderful cartoon, and wonderful idea for a series, Brad! I do still prefer the Skeleton Dance myself, I think. Guess I'm a sucker for flashy camera "moves" and the macabre.

  • At 10:39 PM, Blogger bradluen said…

    No question that The Skeleton Dance is a great AAARGH THE SKELETON'S COMING RIGHT AT ME etc.


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