Robots Swarm Scrappy's Farm in Technoracket (1933)
Another "life on the farm" cartoon,
this by Charles Mintz by way of Columbia
release. How many comic variations are there on milking a cow? Mintz tests
limit of that, then varies well-milked formula by way of
"technocracy," that loony spin on 30's modernity flogged by funmakers
till wrung-out by season's end. Scrappy was a little boy that sought not viewer
sympathy, gags crowding out character niceties a Walt Disney would have tended.
Guys like Mintz and even the Fleischers were scared stiff of animation less
than maximum funny, often throwing out babies with bathwater. Scrappy is active
but not likeable, treating his livestock in martinet manner and coldly
replacing them with robots that run amok for the finish. That last is more
creepy than comical, but creepy carries greater currency than cute, at least
for the curioustoday (is there another "c" word I forgot for that
sentence?). Inventions were invariably threats in an era when most patronage
was rural-based, too much mechanics their idea of shortcut to disaster. No good
could come of nut-and-bolt cows issuing bottled milk, or metallic seeds that
yield canned vegetables. Technoracket served its market fine, there being no
disgrace to distant second behind Disney (or in Scrappy's case, double-digits
behind). WD could not, after all, supply every theatre with cartoons.
Interesting was fact that Columbia had been distributing Mickey Mouse in
addition to Scrappy up to Technoracket's release season, a point where Roy
Disney sought increased cash advance for shorts and the company turned
him down, Walt/Roy's jump to United Artists the result.