Sunday, December 7, 2014

Cartoons from Van Beuren Studios

Back in October, TCM ran a night of programming called "Back to the Drawing Board" which began with three sets of vintage animated shorts, some of them a century old. Or, at least, the schedule started with three sets of shorts. Due to a technical glitch at TCM's end, the third set, from the Van Beuren Studios, didn't run, much to the consternation of those who were looking forward to the animation. TCM, as they generally try to do, rescheduled this particular block. That rescheduling is on tonight at midnight as part of TCM's Silent Sunday Nights block.

The rest of the Silent Sunday Nights block is the odd movie Yankee Doodle in Berlin, at 1:15 AM. Set during World War I but released a few months after the end of the war, the movie stars a noted female impersonator of the day, Bothwell Browne, as an American soldier who gets selected for an important spy plot trying to steal plans from the Kaiser. To do this, our doughboy dresses up as a woman. The jokes in the movie would be considered extremely anti-German and in poor taste if Germans were a group that it was considered wrong to make fun of, the way Japanese-Aemricans are now. But Germans don't get as much of that benefit now as the Japanese do, and the Germans at the end of World War I certainly didn't.

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