Sunday, May 28, 2017
Old Town Music Hall: Vintage Animation Festival
At the Old Town Music Hall in El Segundo, California this weekend was a fantastic film festival of 1930's cartoons. Now like many of you I grew up watching these cartoons on TV and loving them, but to see them in a movie theater (where they were originally meant to be seen) is a whole different experience and an even better one. When viewing these on a big screen and sharing the experience with many people who love these cartoons just like you do, somehow a different and even more addictive energy runs through one's body.
Before the cartoons began a very talented man named Bill Field played The Mighty Wurlitzer Organ, this was an organ specifically made to accompany silent films. It has many moving parts behind it and different from what you would see in a movie theater back then, we were actually shown these moving parts colored and on full display, no need to mention it was an incredible experience. After this we were lead in a sing along of many old standards.
After this animation historian Jerry Beck introduced these cartoons and gave great introductions to them supply us with many facts about the making of these films. Then the cartoons began. The set list included such classics as Betty Boop for President (1932), The Gorilla Mystery (1930, Mickey Mouse), Sinkin in the Bathtub (1930, the first Looney Tunes cartoon), I Love to Singa (1936, Merrie Melodies) Funny Face (1933, Flip the Frog), Let's Get Movin' (1936, Popeye), Hold it (1938, Color Classics), Page Miss Glory (1936, Merrie Melodies), Katnip College (1938, Merrie Melodies) and You Outa Be in Pictures (1940, Looney Tunes). Each of these cartoons are fantastic and deserve a post of their own. Seeing them with an audience only made them better.
Afterwards I got to talk to Jerry Beck and he signed a couple of books (he worked on) that I had and overall this was an incredible experience. The Old Town Music Hall does this annually, so if you love cartoons look for this, it is a real treat.
-Michael J. Ruhland
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