Thursday, February 4, 2016

Land of the Midnight Fun: Smooth Sailing on a Ship of Fools

Release date: 9/23/1939 (according to BCDb)
DVD-Blu-Ray Availability: as an extra on the Warners Home Video DVD of Allegheny Uprising.

You may view the uncensored version of this cartoon (with Cartoon Network logo) HERE.

Here's something to be happy about: A Tex Avery travelogue spot-gag cartoon that's funny, well thought-out, and beautifully drawn.

Land of the Midnight Fun feels like the result of a Termite Terrace think-tank session, in which the goal was to make one of these popular topical gag cartoons with clarity, solvency and some genuine wit. By sticking to one narrative incident (a cruise to Alaska), rather than a shotgun-spray of unconnected gags. LotMF is cohesive, appealing and endearing. Though Avery never depended on a strong narrative, it surely doesn't hurt him. Having a sturdy foundation upon which to gag, and confound the viewer, is common to his best early cartoons.

Yes, there are some bad puns--those poor-on-purpose items that are part of the spirit of these spot-gaggers. But Avery is wise enough, from the experience of having made a few of these, to let his natural comedic and cinematic inclinations steer this ship.

The title sequence announces something out of the norm: