Bosko in Bagdad (1938)
aka Little Ol’ Bosko in Bagdad
Article 5745 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Hugh Harman
Featuring the voices of Lillian Randolph, Billie “Buckwheat” Thomas, Zoot Watson
What it is: Bosko cartoon
Bosko is sent by his mother to deliver a basket of cookies to his grandmother. However, he encounters a frog genie in the woods that sends him to Bagdad, where the Sultan will stop at nothing to get the cookies for himself..
This isn’t quite the same Bosko as the one in the early Warner Brothers cartoons. By the time he was a character at MGM, he was a standard-issue black boy. As might be expected, this cartoon short is awash with stereotypes, though it is a little jarring to see them put forth from giant green frogs instead of the usual black caricatures. Still, this is a pretty weird cartoon; it starts out looking like a parody of “Little Red Riding Hood”, but then mutates into a bizarre jazz-tinged Arabian Nights story, and it ends up being rather surreal in a somewhat queasy manner. Despite the fact that I love surreal stuff, this one didn’t quite work for me; there’s a touch of unpleasantness to the whole affair. There is quite a bit of fantastic content, though.