Here’s an incredible cartoon clip from the Golden Age of animation, perfect for today. It’s from the 1933 Max Fleisher film “Snow White,” starring Betty Boop … and Cab Calloway as a smooth-movin’ clown who turns into a limber ghost.
… I know!
This trippy little segment features Calloway singing “St. James Infirmary Blues” while Boop/Snow is carried in her glass coffin. This animation (credited to Roland Crandall) is the kind of inventive, brain-bending stuff you just don’t find in modern animation, even when they try to pay homage to the Old Days. It’s just fantastic (as is most everything from Fleischer).
In the middle of the tune, the wicked witch transforms Calloway into a fluid-bodied ghost, whose movements were apparently traced from actual footage of Calloway dancing. You can tell.
This is creepy, weird, wonderful, and worth every second of your time. “Snow White” is No. 19 on the “50 Greatest Cartoons: As Selected by 1,000 Animation Professionals” and it shows. Do you yourself a favor: Click on this link, and have a happy Halloween!