Daily Figment – Part Boo! (Extra Special Halloween Edition)

I must admit that I have an affinity for older Disney cartoons, partly for the politically incorrect environment they were made in and partly for the fact that Walt had his hands on them.

In the spirit of Boo, take a minute and watch a cartoon that is played often in our house (George’s note–a very creepy house): Mickey Mouse in Haunted House, from 1929, is an example of unrestricted creativity in a time when the country was struggling with the Great Depression. The highlight of the film is the organ scene in the parlor. The Grim Reaper-like figure that teaches Mickey how to rock the pipes is an early visual predecessor to many of the ghouls we know and love today. It’s easy to draw a comparison to the Ring Wraiths and Dementors (Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter fiends) when watching this scene, albeit this scoundrel is much more compassionate.

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4 thoughts on “Daily Figment – Part Boo! (Extra Special Halloween Edition)

  1. I know what you mean about those old, black and white Mickey Mouse cartoons… Whether he’s trying to take advantage of Minnie in a plane, leading a prison riot, or singing “Minnie’s Yoo-Hoo” in a gravely smoker’s voice, the little guy was just something else. My favorite comment ever about him was by some guy on YouTube: “Mickey was better when he was seedy and into hard liqour” ^_^

  2. I love this short – I saw it on a public domain VHS with some 40’s era Betty Boops when I was young and the shot where the grim reaper stalks towards the camera was utterly terrifying. I was pretty baffled why it was in “The Vault” section of the Walt Disney Treasures DVD when I picked it up a few years ago. Then the Jolson gag came up (“Mammy!”) and I was sorely annoyed. We can’t even deal with a reference to the fact that blackface exists anymore?

    This is the company that won’t release Song of the South but just put out a DVD of Corman’s The Intruder, let’s remember. Maybe in 50 years they’ll have pulled all copies of The Lion King for taking place in Africa and put out a copy of Jud Suss!

  3. Oh, I dunno’… I don’t think it’s inappropriate to put it in a “vault” section: make it available, but only really for those who are at a stage of interest and intellect that they’re able to understand it in context. Whether or not people want to label me politically correct, seeing references to Al Jolson’s blackface – or seeing it itself – makes me as queasy as seeing a swastika or a pointy white hood. Doesn’t mean I won’t watch The Haunted House, The Jazz Singer, Triumph of the Will or Birth of a Nation, but you really need to understand them in context.

    But then, really, everyone is politically correct, just depends about what… it’s politically correct amongst Disney fans, for instance, to complain about political correctness.

  4. I have to admit that I was very shocked by the Mammy! comment in the short.

    The amount of PR damage that Song of the South would reap stands to be exponentially greater because of the amount of fanfare and press it would receive.

    It is far less politically damaging to release something that only us salivating fans would purchase.

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