Scrappy's Party (1933)

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Scrapy's birthday party is attended by a raft caricatures of famous movie stars and world leaders, including Mussolini, John D. Rockefeller, Will Rogers, Laurel & Hardy, George Bernard Shaw... See full summary »


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Scrapy's birthday party is attended by a raft caricatures of famous movie stars and world leaders, including Mussolini, John D. Rockefeller, Will Rogers, Laurel & Hardy, George Bernard Shaw, Jimmy Durante, King George V,Ghandi, Babe Ruth, Ex-King Alphonso XII, Professor Picard and even Al Capone is seen, unfortunately unable to make it as he's in prison. Written by WesternOne

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Animation | Short





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February 1933 (USA)  »

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Jimmy Durante meets George Bernard Shaw.
9 August 2004 | by (Minffordd, North Wales) – See all my reviews

Columbia Studios' low-budget Scrappy cartoons (starring a blond boy of that name) are mostly quite bad. Featuring poor animation and unattractive visuals, the Scrappies had a tendency to repeat every sight gag - filling up screen time by recycling the animation cels - and the sight gags were usually not funny in the first place. 'Scrappy's Party' is the only funny instalment in the series, and most of its appeal comes from its heavy reliance on caricatures of celebrities.

Scrappy decides to throw a party, and he sends invitations to a lot of public figures of the day (1933), most of whom agree to attend. Scrappy does get a 'phone call from a cartoon version of Al Capone, who tearfully reports down the 'phone line that he can't come to Scrappy's party. The next set-up shows that Capone is telephoning from a prison cell. (With a Capone-o-phone?)

When the guests arrive, they all do a spirited dance. The animation is quite good in this sequence; astonishingly good by Columbia's low standard. A cartoon version of Will Rogers does a rapid tap dance in cowboy boots while twirling a lariat. A cartoon Babe Ruth swings his bat repeatedly, smashing the party decorations, to the cheers of Scrappy and his guests.

SPOILING ONE JOKE NOW. There is one genuinely hilarious gag here. Cartoon versions of Jimmy Durante and George Bernard Shaw dance rapidly side by side, in perfect unison. In the middle of their dance, Durante suddenly takes Shaw's beard off Shaw's face and attaches it to his own. When this happens, we suddenly notice that (as they're caricatured here) Durante and Shaw look exactly alike, except one is bearded and one isn't. Now that the beard has changed hands (or chins), Durante has turned into Shaw and vice versa! As they dance, the beard switches chins several times, so they take it in turns to be bearded. This very clever gag doesn't wear out its welcome, and - for once - the tendency of the Scrappy series to repeat a sight gag actually works in the joke's favour.

Another good thing about this cartoon is that - by good luck more than anything else - most of the contemporary celebrities caricatured in this 1933 cartoon are still recognised by modern audiences. I've seen and heard modern audiences get audibly frustrated during screenings of old Warners cartoons featuring caricatures of forgotten celebs like Hugh Herbert and Edna May Oliver: the audiences realise that they're expected to know who these people are, but they don't recognise them. I'll rate 'Scrappy's Party' 9 out of 10, although the rest of the Scrappy series barely rate one point.

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