HELL’S FIRE (1934)
Article 4694 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Ub Iwerks
Voice cast unknown
What it is: Anti-prohibition cartoon
Willie Whopper tells the story of how he descended to hell from a volcano and prevented the escape of one of the inhabitants.
This Ub Iwerks cartoon short only exists in fragmentary condition, but the fragment is of sizable length and I’m willing to bet that most of the cartoon is represented. Willie Whopper was a regular Iwerks character given to telling outrageous lies, but he really doesn’t have a lot of dimension beyond that. That being said, this one is rather fun; we see a parade of the damned, and you should recognize some historical and literary characters in the bunch. I wasn’t quite sure who the blue-faced man attempting to escape was, but according to one of the user comments on IMDB, he was a symbol of Prohibition, so it’s no surprise that people would want to keep him in hell. I did recognize the eagle who appears near the end as the symbol of the NRA (the National Recovery Act, not the National Rifle Association), the logo of which pops up during the credits of many movies of the era. There’s also a bit of nonsense involving Cerberus. It’s not a great cartoon, but it’s fun enough for a time-killer.