Monday, November 9, 2009

Box Car Blues (Jan 1931)

This cartoon is much more gag oriented than it is focused on random music making. We start with a musical train and in the last car are our "heroes" Bosko and an unnamed pig (possibly a rough version of the pig from The Booze Hangs High) the two sing for a while, until their car is separated from the rest of the train. This leads to a series of gags that almost exclusivly feature Bosko. The car goes off and on the tracks at random and finally crashes into a tree at the end of the tracks.

Notable gags:

The train becomes anthropomorphic several times. Including when the wheels become hands that choke music out of the whistle, and when it pulls itself up a very steep mountain.

Speaking of the mountain, the train manages to pants the mountain and the mountain pulls his pants back on.

Bosko is repeatey subjected to groin injuries. Primarily from trees and telephone poles.

At one point the tracks get too wide for the car and it splits in half. Bosko fixes the problem by using his neck as a crank to pull the car and tracks back together.

There is also a random cow that is suddenly being chased by the car. It ultimately is smashed by the car, but is ok in spite of that.

Overall this is an interesting cartoon because it departs from the "use any thing as an instrument" gimic. Sinkin' In The Bathtub had a similar runaway vehicle gag, but only after the silly music making. This cartoon also focuses on a certain kind of humor, namely pain. It is Bosko's trouble and pain that make us laugh. For whatever reason, it doesn't work here as much as it will in later Warner shorts. There is something missing here, maybe it isnthe fact that Bosko is not somehow inflicting the pain on himself. The Coyote could stop chasing the Roadrunner if he wanted to. I'm not sure I will continue to muse on this as we move on through the cartoons. Maybe something will occur to me.

-- Jack

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