Sunday, July 23, 2023

Cab Calloway 1933 Cartoon of St. James Infirmary Blues

This is from a 1933 Betty Boop cartoon that tells a condensed and somewhat twisted version of Snow White. In the middle of the cartoon we have Cab Calloway singing St. James Infirmary Blues. This video starts with him and his orchestra, a rare live action scene that's actually from another cartoon of this era, Minnie the Moocher, a song which Calloway is most famous for. He sings that song as a Walrus and it's in a different key than what we see the orchestra performing at the beginning of that cartoon. As it turns out the footage and music that start Minnie the Moocher is clearly the same recording as the song we have here, St. James Infirmary Blues, and later in the edit I join these two pieces of audio together. He starts singing the tune as Koko the Clown, then gets morphed into a ghost. Wonderful animation that capture his annunciation and dance moves, with other wild visuals. Towards the end we see how the animators turned his live action movements into cartoon form. Included scenes from 1980 film The Blues Brothers, where Cab Calloway again performs Minnie the Moocher, which was my initial introduction to this singer and performer. Original cartoon "Betty Boop in Snow White" Created by Max Fleischer Directed by Dave Fleischer Animated by Roland C. Crandall

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