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Benny Swings

10/10
Author: Ron Oliver (revilorest@juno.com) from Forest Ranch, CA
29 September 2003

A Walt Disney Cartoon.

The Benny Goodman Quartet & Orchestra performs TWO FOR THE RECORD.

First up is AFTER YOU'VE GONE, an exuberantly improvisational three-minute film which is a feast for the ears & eyes. The Quartet's clarinet, bass, piano & drums come to life and embark on a jaunt through their own animated universe, with constant variations in color & shape which perfectly matches the music.

Next is ALL THE CATS JOIN IN, a fast moving five-minute cartoon which charts the arrival of a jalopy full of bobbysoxers at the local malt shop for some real jumpin' & jivin'. The Goodman Orchestra never lets the pace sag and the Disney animators add just the right touch with their line drawings come to life.

Originally, these two short numbers were Goodman's contribution to Disney's anthology film MAKE MINE MUSIC (1946).

Walt Disney (1901-1966) was always intrigued by pictures & drawings. As a lad in Marceline, Missouri, he sketched farm animals on scraps of paper; later, as an ambulance driver in France during the First World War, he drew comic figures on the sides of his vehicle. Back in Kansas City, along with artist Ub Iwerks, Walt developed a primitive animation studio that provided animated commercials and tiny cartoons for the local movie theaters. Always the innovator, his ALICE IN CARTOONLAND series broke ground in placing a live figure in a cartoon universe. Business reversals sent Disney & Iwerks to Hollywood in 1923, where Walt's older brother Roy became his lifelong business manager & counselor. When a mildly successful series with Oswald The Lucky Rabbit was snatched away by the distributor, the character of Mickey Mouse sprung into Walt's imagination, ensuring Disney's immortality. The happy arrival of sound technology made Mickey's screen debut, STEAMBOAT WILLIE (1928), a tremendous audience success with its use of synchronized music. The SILLY SYMPHONIES soon appeared, and Walt's growing crew of marvelously talented animators were quickly conquering new territory with full color, illusions of depth and radical advancements in personality development, an arena in which Walt's genius was unbeatable. Mickey's feisty, naughty behavior had captured millions of fans, but he was soon to be joined by other animated companions: temperamental Donald Duck, intellectually-challenged Goofy and energetic Pluto. All this was in preparation for Walt's grandest dream - feature length animated films. Against a storm of naysayers, Walt persevered and over the next decades delighted children of all ages with the adventures of Snow White, Pinocchio, Dumbo, Bambi & Peter Pan. Walt never forgot that his fortunes were all started by a mouse, or that childlike simplicity of message and lots of hard work always pay off.

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