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Director: Dave Fleischer
Release Date: August 26, 1938
Rating:  ★★★½
Review:

All's Fair at the Fair © Max FleischerIn ‘All’s Fair at the Fair’ an old-fashioned couple visits a world fair. This world fair is probably inspired by the coming New York fair of 1939, but Fleischers’ version is much more modern than any existing one.

Inside the fair, the couple encounters some crazy inventions, they get a beauty treatment by a couple of robots, which greatly rejuvenates them, and they dance with some other robots on a latin beat. In the end we watch them rushing off on a car seemingly made out of chewing gum.

As had already been demonstrated by the Grampy cartoons, the Fleischers were most inspired when technique was involved, and ‘All’s Fair at the Fair’ is their homage to modern technology, which they clearly regard with much more optimism than the Disney studio. ‘All’s Fair at the Fair’ is akin to the Donald Duck short ‘Modern Inventions‘ (1937), but unlike the machines in the Donald Duck cartoon, the machines depicted here have no downside, and everything goes well.

There’s very little to laugh in ‘All’s Fair at the Fair’, but the short excels in inventive scenes, and beautiful art deco background art, which make the cartoon stand out above the complete Color Classics series in sheer looks.

Watch ‘All’s Fair at the Fair’ yourself and tell me what you think:

‘All’s Fair at the Fair’ is available on the DVD-set ‘Somewhere in Dreamland – Max Fleischer’s Color Classics: The Definitive Collection’

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Director: Dave Fleischer
Release Date: January 7, 1933
Stars: Betty Boop, Koko the Clown, Bimbo
Rating: ★★★
Review:

Betty Boop's Crazy Inventions © ParamountIn this short Betty Boop organizes an invention show in a circus tent, assisted by Koko and Bimbo.

The trio demonstrates different machines, which leads to unrelated spot gags featuring the silly elaborate inventions: a spot remover, a cigarette snuffer, an egg producing machine, a soup silencer and a sweet corn regulator. Then Betty sings ‘Keep a Little Song Handy’ into a recording machine, which turns out to contain two animals.

The gags are mild, and none of the machines is really hilarious. Highlight is the runaway sewing machine, which sows everything together, including the complete tent and even rivers. Unfortunately, this great idea is hardly worked out and when a stork takes the complete tent into the sky, the cartoon ends abruptly.

The film is noteworthy, however, for some original stagings, and for the opening shot of Betty playing the organ, a surprisingly complex and convincing piece of animation, rarely seen at the Fleischer studio. ‘Betty Boop’s Crazy Inventions’ looks forward to the early Donald Duck film ‘Modern Inventions‘ of four years later, which is by all means the better product.

Watch ‘Betty Boop’s Crazy Inventions’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Betty Boop cartoon No. 10
To the previous Betty Boop cartoon: Betty Boop’s Ker-Choo
To the next Betty Boop cartoon: Is My Palm Read

‘Betty Boop’s Crazy Inventions’ is available on the French DVD Box Set ‘Betty Boop Coffret Collector’

Director: Jack King
Release Date: May 29, 1937
Stars: Donald Duck
Rating: ★★★½
Review:

Modern_Inventions © Walt DisneyAfter a short stint at Warner Brothers, veteran animator Jack King makes his debut as a director at the Disney studio.

King would remain a director of Donald Duck films until his retirement in 1948, directing only three cartoons without the duck (‘Farmyard Symphony‘ from 1938, and the propaganda shorts ‘Out of the Frying Pan into the Firing Line‘ and ‘Defense against Invasion‘, from 1942 and 1943, respectively).

‘Modern Inventions’ is Donald’s first real solo outing, sharing screen time only with mechanical objects. He visits a ‘museum of modern marvels’ , where he has to deal with a mechanical robot butler (the running gag of the film), a package wrapper, a ‘robot nurse maid’ and an automatic barber chair. Like in ‘The Band Concert‘ Donald shows an ability to produce numerous objects out of nothing, this time hats. He even manages to change his army cap into a baby cap.

‘Modern Inventions’ was the last of three Donald Duck shorts under the Mickey Mouse flag. With his next cartoon, ‘Donald’s Ostrich‘ he would have a series of his own…

Watch ‘Modern Inventions’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Mickey Mouse cartoon No. 95
To the previous Mickey Mouse cartoon: Mickey’s Amateurs
To the next Mickey Mouse cartoon: Hawaiian Holiday

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