Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ups 'N Downs (1931)

A day at the races. Bosko is selling hot dogs, which dance on the griddle. Spectators arrive in various silly ways and then Bosko sneakily leaves his stand to go to a locked shed. We see the horses and jockeys training and it becomes clear that Bosko intends to race. We soon find out that his horse is rather impressively not alive - it's mechanical. The mechanical horse proves to be troublesome, but every time it breaks, Bosko is able to put it back together. Bosko eventually wins the race by extending the horse's neck in a "Go Go Gadget!" sort of way.

Notable Gags
  • People riding a cow as a trolley, squeezing its head for a horn
  • A dog buying a hot dog, The hot dog comes alive and pleads "Mammy!", the dog replies "Sonny-boy!" and the dance off together
  • Mice sneak in to the race with the unwitting help of an ostrich
  • A racehorse trains like a boxer
  • One too big jockey on a too small horse, then a too small jockey on a too big horse.
Well, we're back on track for plots, sort of. While there is still a lot of music here, most of the gags are just gags with music playing, not song and dance routines. And of course later we get Bosko's attempt at racing. What's really missing from this cartoon, and many others as well, is genuine humor. Very little in this cartoon can be truly considered funny. There is silliness, and there is what must have been novelty for the time, but little humor. The moist clever bit may have been the hot dog pleading for its life, but the "Mammy" element makes it fall a little flat to a modern audience. And lets not forget the fact that Bosko blatantly cheats and gets away with it. A mechanical horse with an extending neck is hardly on the up and up.

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