Sunday, September 26, 2010
Jazz Hallucination...Sex and Death/Booze and Reefers: Cab Calloway Singing "St. James Infirmary Blues" on Betty Boop
In keeping with all this scatting and cartoon related material, I submit this to you: Greatest cartoon of all time?
Cab Calloway performing "St. James Infirmary Blues" in a Betty Boop short based on the story of Snow White. The whole thing is great, as all early Betty Boop cartoons are, but it really kicks into gear at around three and a half minutes, when Ms. Boop's ice coffin slides into Mr. Calloway's ghost cave of jazz hallucinations. "St. James Infirmary Blues" is one of the greatest songs of all time, and Mr. Calloway is on the short list of its most inspired performers. For this short, he was filmed performing the song and a spooky slide dance, then animated over in the inimitable Fleischer Brothers rotoscoping style, all done by one incredible animator, Roland Crandall. It was his masterpiece. (wiki it here)
Grab a recording of Cab's version of the song, well-ripped from the cartoon, HERE. Once again I say, it's solid gone daddy, and most worth having.
There are other Betty Boop shorts featuring Cab Calloway. They are well worth seeking out, and easy to find on youtube. All the Boops of this era have this incredible, grotesquely surreal, absinthe-crawl, opium-nightmare energy, by the way, so check them out. Have fun.