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Posted by on Mar 11, 2007 in Arts & Entertainment | 1 comment

It’s Time To “Follow The Bouncing Ball”

Here’s a fascinating piece of Americana.

There was a time in America when audiences would savor hand-drawn, supremely-smooth- moving animated cartoons — and even sing in the theater as they “followed the bouncing ball” that gave them the lyrics to a then-popular song.

Now, step back into the time machine (way before I was born) to see Disney-rival Max Fleischer’s short cartoon/live action “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” from 1930. It’ll be fascinating viewing for people of all ages because:

(1) It highlights the super-smooth and surrealistic animation of Fleischer who was Disney’s closest rival until his studio went under.

(2) It features Betty Boop, a cartoon character who was actually censored in the early ’30s.

(3) The musical portions feature a 22-year-old Ethel Merman. This stage legend is perhaps best known to Baby Boomers as an elderly lady belting out a song with a killer vibrato. But in this clip, you see how charming her vocals were before her voice (and style) changed.

(4) It has an ending that’s a bit shocking for a cartoon.

Just click on the You Tube arrow…and follow the bouncing ball:
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