Director: Ub Iwerks
Release Date: September 27, 1930
Stars: Flip the Frog
This cartoon contains only two scenes: in the first scene we watch Flip polishing his barber pole, which is then stolen and replaced by Flip out of a cat’s tail. In the second scene Flip cuts a hairy dog customer, accompanied by a nail polisher and a shoe polisher. The four of them sing a song together, with which the cartoon ends.
‘The Village Barber’ is typical for the early Ub Iwerks cartoons, in which everything is sparked with life. Even the chair, the razor, and the furnace are autonomous beings, dancing to the musical beat. The Ub Iwerks shorts lack the metamorphosis and spontaneous generation so typical of contemporary Fleischer Talkartoons (e.g. ‘Barnacle Bill‘ and ‘Mysterious Mose‘). Yet, together with the rhythmical Disney-like animation, the abundance of life give the Flip the Frog cartoons a very distinct character. Unfortunately, ‘The Village Barber’ is as low on gags as other Flip the Frog cartoons, and a little boring.
Nevertheless, it’s cartoons like these that ultimately sold the Flip the Frog series to MGM, making it the lion studio’s first venture in cartoon business. Iwerks’s contract with MGM lasted until 1934, when the company exchanged Ub Iwerks for Harman & Ising.
Watch ‘The Village Barber’ yourself and tell me what you think:
‘The Village Barber’ is available on the DVD ‘Cartoons That Time Forgot – The Ub Iwerks Collection Vol. 1’