Saturday, January 31, 2015


Terrytoons, 1937: Conrad "Connie" Rasinski had started as an assistant to animator Bill Tytla (by then at Disney), and the master's influence showed in Rasinski's work ever after, but especially in his 1930s work. Like Tytla, he strove for comedy with every twist, turn and bob of his characters. In his enthusiasm, his drawings were highly graphic and approached abstraction (Terrytoon veteran George Bakes contended that Jim Tyer was "doing" Rasinski).

In cartoons of this vintage, there were brief moments reserved for more "realistic" character delineations; usually dancing girls, sometimes portraits on walls.

This is the first gallery of still frames on my blog, and I don't intend to make it a regular feature; to fetishize over an individual "funny drawing" is to ignore its purpose: to get on to the next one. No one drawing is more important than the next, unless it's a "held" drawing. To communicate the motion is the end to which every drawing "works". And this scene succeeds. Some would call it "over-animated". The shot lasts only a few seconds, and Rasinski wrenches this rare "literalized" (for a Terrytoon) head shot with all the overwrought, misshapen life he can muster. But there are enough repeats of drawings to allow one to appreciate them, even at 24 frames per second. The drawings communicate the action, and possibly gave a big laugh to the audience. Often, Rasinski's robust relish for his art was in plain sight, and for that reason, I find this scene special. A shining moment in an average reel.

THE IDEA: A baseball flies into the mouth of a man on a billboard.

Here's the cartoon itself, to show how it a-allll works together.

And if you're in the mood for more, visit Devon Baxter's YouTube TERRYTOONS channel, where he has dedicated himself to posting every reel of these films in chronological order. (1930 to 1955!)

Let's hear it for Devon!

No comments: