Article 5328 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Dave Fleischer
Featuring the voices of Cab Calloway, Billy Murray and Mae Questal
What it is: Betty Boop cartoon
An evil queen with a magic mirror discovers that she’s no longer the fairest in the land when her stepdaughter (Betty Boop as Snow-White) shows up. Snow-White escapes execution only to be frozen into a block of ice.
There were a lot of Betty Boop cartoons, but there’s an informal trilogy of them that stands out; it’s the three that were made in collaboration with bandleader Cab Calloway and featured his signature dance moves in rotoscoped animation. In this one, the song is “Saint James Infirmary Blues”, a song that has little to do with the action, but everything in the cartoon is so bizarre it hardly matters. In this one, Ko-ko the clown gets to perform the dance moves, though he is quickly turned into a strange long-legged ghost; this sequence is easily the highlight of the cartoon. Huge liberties are taken with the original story; there’s no poisoned apple or handsome prince, but the queen gets to turn into dragon creature for the final battle. Like most of the early Betty Boop cartoons, it all takes place in a surreal land where inanimate objects constantly come to life. This is one of my favorites.