Saturday, May 12, 2012

Betty Boop Laughs at Your Quaint Understanding of Reality

You know that weird kind of dream in which nothing outright scary happens but which nonetheless seems scary because the world presented operates on a screwy logic that you can just never understand? Yes? Well, that — that is how I can best explain this 1934 Betty Boop cartoon.

It begins with a live-action shot of an artist drawing Betty and continues on blending animated and non-animated, Roger Rabbit-style. And that’s unnerving enough, but it gets sinister when Koko, Betty’s fellow Max Fleischer doodle, emerges from the ink well and develops a toothache. Betty plays dentist and prepares to remove Koko’s tooth, turning on laughing gas to make the extraction process easier. Only Betty also gets gassed and forgets to turn it off. The gas cloud then escapes off the piece of paper — remember, this is all happening as a drawing on the artist’s desk — and flows into real-life New York, gassing various inanimate objects into hysterical laughter. It’s damn surreal, and that statement means a lot coming from someone who knows that Betty Boop was originally designed to be a dog. Check it out:

And then that’s it. But what more should anyone need other than the takeaway that everyone laughed to death?

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