While wandering around in Youtube the other day I found a number of cartoon films made before and during the last World War, that were apparently intended for adults. I don’t mean by this that they were pornographic I hasten to add, but simply not intended for children.
Apart from the fact that they were very well made, unlike the dross that is churned out these days for TV consumption (as opposed to the amazing full length computer generated animated films that studios such as Pixar make), they were all remarkably surreal as well – distinctly odd they are.
To start the ball rolling, here is a somewhat “adult” cartoon that was made in 1932, the very early days of animated films. This one, which has the wonderful name of “in my merry Oldsmobile” is actually about sex, but in a very odd fashion, as you will see. A curious mix of animation and real action as well. Altogether a strange film, but fun nonetheless.
The tone of this film is made clear in the very first frames…
As you will have seen, the world it creates is truly weird, in so many ways. And the characters live in their insane world perfectly happily. Apparently living according to their world’s rules. For example, the way the “hero” doesn’t simply climb through the hole in the door, but has to smash the door down.. and loads of other similar examples of the oddities of their world. An enjoyably silly and totally surreal film.
Another form of adult animated film was made during the war to teach people how to behave in a war situation. No end of equally weird films were made that were intended to use humour to get points of security and military safety across, and obviously were not intended for kids to watch.
This US Army film about the dangers of Booby Traps (replete with jokes about “boobies” of course) gives a good idea of how these films looked. This one seems to star Elmer Fudd of Bugs Bunny fame.