….Maybe its just the funny animal humor that never seems to die; the idealization of the animal world into the realm of human properties. Like LOL cats. Or in this case, the colorful art and brisk pacing that defined the silent era of early Chaplin and Keystone Cops. Or the opera style that mashed low and high arts where the dialog was sung rather than spoken. It captured quite effectively the spirit and style of the Great American Musical, the American songbook popularized by Rogers and Hart, Kern, Berlin et al. Or, it was simply the abundance of merciless violence meted out in gratuitous doses irrespective of whether fitting the crime.
No longer will a mouse amble about on all fours groveling. No, he will walk tall on hind legs, adorned in a cape and costume similar to Superman’s. The violence will be messianic in nature; with new powers he gathers up all the cats and plops them onto the moon, before a return voyage to a hero’s welcome from a grateful nation. The appeal was the incorporation of the exaggerated gestures and movements of silent film acting. This had vanished with the development of sound film but soldiered on in the cartoons.
It was termed animated cartoon sound, or Mickey Mousing based on the Disney template for action fitting the score which provided examples of coordinating sound and image in rhythmic, and often contrapuntal ways, almost as an incorporation of Schoenberg and Varese atonal and colliding notes but within an animated context with mass appeal. Even intellectual appeal. Eisenstein was taken by the elasticity of the montage, the plasticness and flexibility- he termed it plasmaticness- which could enhance the speed at which a visual world could be comprehended as harmonious with American eccentrism which incorporated the high-speed, the funny, and the super-charged use of artifice that recalled the traveling minstrel shows and vaudeville and in particular for Eisenstein, the use of sound to bridge and mediate the images between cuts.
Izzy Klein originally proposed a character called Super Fly, but Terrytoons boss Paul Terry didn’t like that idea, and vetoed it. A little later Terry took the same basic idea, changed it to a mouse, and passed it off as his own, original idea. The character was originally called Super Mouse, and his costume was initially very similar to Superman’s, even down to the colour scheme (it would eventually change to the yellow version at a later date). Super Mouse’s first cartoon was prepared for theatrical release for October 1942, but before it was released (and during the production of the second story), it was discovered that an ex-Terrytoons employee had gone to work for Nedor Publishing Co., which was now about to publish it’s own Super Mouse comic, due out with an October cover date too. Rather than promote another company’s character, Paul Terry decided to change the Terrytoon character’s name to Mighty Mouse. The first cartoon however ended with the narrator saying “Thus ends the adventure of Super Mouse…he seen his job and he done it!”, although they would later redub the name on re-release. Read More:http://www.internationalhero.co.uk/m/mitymous.htm
But in the late ’80s, Ralph Bakshi, a former Terrytoons director who had gone on to produce such well-received animated features as Fritz the Cat and Wizards, came out with yet another Saturday morning Mighty Mouse show. This one fleshed out his personality, gave him a secret identity and a supporting cast, and let imagination and good writing compensate for low TV budgets. It was this series that was adapted into the most recent Marvel Comics version. Read More:http://www.toonopedia.com/mightym.htm
…One way Eisenstein proposed to use sound was similar to how conventional cinema uses music: to bridge the cut/s. For example, in an early scene in Old and New where two brothers cut their hut down the middle and inefficiently partition their fields simply because they are separating (set as an example of irrational peasant behavior), the sound in the script moves from a crosscut saw, to a circular saw, to the “…deformation of the saw sound (Zeitlup [slow-motion]) into sobbing,” – the sobbing signaling the poverty and suffering such irrationality imposes. This ability to stretch across the cut (of the hut and montage), to meld continuously from one ‘object’ or entity to another, is a feature intrinsic to sound and it has had little parallel with in the cinema or videography until the recent computer-based capacity for ‘morphing’. Yet it was the same nonobject-like stretching that gave Disney an early success with Oswald the Lucky Rabbit just prior to Steamboat Willie. Oswald’
lling point “…was a rubbery kind of movement that tied into fresh and amusing gags”. In Oh, What a Knight, Oswald wrings himself out to dry, and later, when kissing a fair maiden’s hand, he pulls an endless length of arm from her sleeve in order to have mo re to kiss! In Trolley Troubles even Oswald’s electric car is flexible, “widening and flattening to accommodate the unpredictable changes in the tracks beneath it”.
There was also a phallic fascination, a morphing between flaccid and erect and ba ck again, easily observed in the cartoon cannon and rifle barrels relaxing after each firing; itself well within Eisenstein’s own field of fixations, as evidenced by his cock drawings. Eisenstein’s essay on Disney has this very elasticity as the main conc ern, finding precedent in Lewis Carroll, the German caricaturist Walter Trier, etchings by Toyohiro, Bokusen and Hokusai, etc. He calls it “plasmaticness” and considers Mickey in possession of “…this plasmation par excellence”. He briefly entertains the idea that its secrets are held in a prenatal, even cellular memory, a standard from which to gauge the morphing of growth and shrinkage. To explain the “pre-logical attractiveness” of Disney cartoons in the United States, he says that the plasmatic “all-possible diversity of form” finds its ground as a counter to a “…social order with such a mercilessly standardised and mechanically measured existence”. He then goes on at length to generalise such transformations to fire, a fire “…assuming all possible guises” in a aural-like flux where borders dissolve and things are born and die in a moment, and through fire back to music: “…herein also lies the secret of the fascination of music, for its image too is not stable”. In fact: ” ‘Music’ – the element of Disney”. But not completely. While Eisenstein revelled in the action in Disney’s foreground, he thought that “Disney is amazingly blind when it comes to landscape – to the musicality of landscape and at the same time, to the musicality of color and tone”. Bambi, for instance, lacked the lyricism of Chinese landscape and painting “…in its treatment of fluffy beings – monkeys or fledglings”. Read More:http://www.soundculture.org/texts/kahn_eisenstein.html