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Ghost Town Frolics (1938)

Passed  -  Animation | Short | Comedy  -  7 September 1938 (USA)
4.4
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Ratings: 4.4/10 from 7 users  
Reviews: 2 user

In an abandoned hotel, idle ghosts get drunk, play slot machines and line up for their relief checks. Two chimpanzees and their big mopey dog venture inside. The ghosts are thrilled at this new opportunity for mischief.

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Title: Ghost Town Frolics (1938)

Ghost Town Frolics (1938) on IMDb 4.4/10

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Storyline

In an abandoned hotel, idle ghosts get drunk, play slot machines and line up for their relief checks. Two chimpanzees and their big, mopey dog venture inside. The ghosts are thrilled at this new opportunity for mischief. A ghostly hand comes out of the wall and snatches Jill, the girl chimp. Jock, the boy chimp, and the dog separate to go look for her. The dog finds a ghostly fire hydrant that changes to a cat. Jock finds a ghost who taunts him with a cowbell and a trumpet. The dog will suffer electric shock from a light fixture and Jock will dodge gunfire from a battleship before they find Jill and make their escape. Written by J. Spurlin

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Release Date:

7 September 1938 (USA)  »

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Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This cartoon is included as a bonus on Universal's 1998 video release of The Ivory-Handled Gun (1935). The packaging only boasts a "vintage cartoon," but does not name the film. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Jill: Help! Help! Help! Help!
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User Reviews

 
An undistinguished cartoon with two undistinguished stars
16 January 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is the most you will ever read about "Jock & Jill, The Simple Simeons (sic)." These boy-and-girl chimpanzees are the undistinguished stars of this undistinguished cartoon churned out by the mildly distinguished Walter Lantz studio.

This black-and-white short subject introduces us to some ghosts in an abandoned hotel. They are idle: they get drunk, play the slot machines and line up for their relief checks. The gags aren't funny, but one may have tweaked the censors. An invisible ghost steps out of a bath, falls on the floor and leaves a wet butt-print. Shocking.

Another vignette spotlights the general carelessness. A ghost tilts a pinball machine. His punishment is a mechanical arm with a boxing glove that punches him in the face. Why use a ghost in a gag that has nothing to do with him being a ghost?

Finally Jock and Jill and their big mopey dog arrive at the hotel. The threesome are among the countless clones of Mickey, Minnie and Pluto that plagued the movie screens in the 1930s. At least Jock and Jill break convention by actually acting a bit like chimps, dragging their knuckles and so forth. Mickey and Minnie didn't act like mice. The dog looks like a sadder Clifford the Big Red Dog, but he engages in a lot of sub-Pluto antics.

There is even a sub-Three Stooges moment. We cringe when Jock slaps his dog across the face. Boo! Hiss! Would Mickey do this to Pluto? The dog looks so sad anyway.

Jock spends most of this cartoon without Jill. Early on, a ghostly arm comes out of a wall and snatches Jill, who doesn't reappear until the end. Bizarrely, the arm takes the monkey right through the wall with it. This is bad cartoon science. A ghost should be able to go through walls, but not a flesh-and-blood chimp.

What follows is a pale copy of Walt Disney's "Lonesome Ghosts" (1937) and numberless other cartoons where mischievous spirits play pranks on the living. When Jock, Jill and the dog escape from the hotel in their broken-down jalopy, that's the end of their bid for cartoon stardom. Jock appeared in one more cartoon, "The Rabbit Hunt" (1938). Now they languish in deserved obscurity.

Still, they should be allowed their footnote in cartoon history. Leonard Maltin's "Of Mice and Magic" incorrectly lists this as a color Oswald the Rabbit cartoon. "Ghost Town Frolics" is black and white, and Oswald does not appear.

Fate has even obscured their debut on video. The 1998 release of "The Ivory Handled Gun" (1935) includes this short, but the packaging boasts only a "vintage cartoon" without revealing the title. I emailed the webmaster of a Walter Lantz site, and not even he knew this was available on video.

Well, maybe now we can give Jock & Jill their due, however small that may be.


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