Football Now and Then (1953)
Article 5831 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Jack Kinney
Featuring the voice of Dennis Day
What it is: Sports cartoon
After his grandson praises the abilities of the number one football team in the country, a grandfather argues that the teams in his day were better, and shows the boy a game between a modern-day football team and a turn-of-the-century football team on TV.
I fully didn’t expect to be reviewing this one when I popped it into the DVD player to watch; from its title, I expected a nothing more than a series of blackout gags comparing football in 1953 to football in 1901. Instead, the cartoon goes the route of pitting a 1901 football team against a 1953 team, and after a few minutes of this, it suddenly dawned on me that this must be taking place in some bizarre time warp world , which certainly puts it in the realm of the fantastic. Since it’s from Disney, it’s well-animated; there’s no doubt about that. But I also found it even less funny than I expected from a Disney short cartoon; I never expect a Disney cartoon from this era to be as funny as a Warner Brothers cartoon, but this one is downright dismal. In the end, the most memorable thing about it is the rather queasy surreal flavor of it all, which is best exemplified by the commercial interruptions by a weird washing machine salesman who gets the best joke of the short almost by default when the phone number he mentions over the air doesn’t match the phone number on the screen. I found this one in a Disney rarities collection, and after having seen it, I’m not surprised it’s a rarity.