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    Flip the Frog Cuckoo Murder Case (1930)


    by andythebeagle

    A 1930 'Noir' Cartoon? Damn!

    A film-noir in a 1930 cartoon? Yup, at least that's how this looked to me. A number of scenes in here featured stark shadows and figures in the night creeping about. It was all good stuff.

    The story begins with a gun firing and a cuckoo, who had just emerged from the clock, getting shot through the stomach. The bird examines the big hole in him, peeks in and around it, and then drops dead. We see animation from the clock, the hands, the telephone on the wall - all inanimate objects, which is typical of cartoons, especially in the 1930s. Some of the humor is really clever.

    The rest of this cartoon is this crazy crime where detective Flip The Frog races to the scene of the crime and tries to solve it. Along the way, we get some good gags with Flip's car (which tiptoes through puddles and does other crazy human-like things), the police car and its feline siren, and the haunted-type house where the crime was committed. It's all good fun and a visual treat as well. I had to laugh at the ending with The Grim Reaper. It's a very strange finish to a cartoon.

    One thing that shocked me: the telephone in Flip's office said, "Damn!" I played it back again to make sure I heard right, and I did. This cartoon, of course, was made before the Hays' Code was instituted. As fans of animation know, there were some language and sexy scenes even in cartoons back in the early '30s. More than likely it would be a topless female but once in a while a swear word would pop up. Having seen hundreds of Looney Tunes, Disney and Pink Panther cartoons, etc., it's still a shock to hear because you don't expect it in 7-minute cartoons.

    Whatever, I did enjoy this cartoon for its zaniness and it's terrific black-and-white artwork.

    A cuckoo bird, who lives in an old clock in a creepy old haunted mansion, is mysteriously shot and "killed" by an unknown assailant. One stormy night, the clock face dials for Flip the detective, who makes his way to the murder mansion. He first encounters his own troublesome shadow, then must deal with a murderer, cloaked in death garb with Flip's name on his list of victims. The killer is Death himself! Flip must make a hasty retreat to avoid the same fate as the cuckoo bird!