A scene from OLD SMOKEY, directed by William Hanna for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Old Smokey (1938, William Hanna)

Technically speaking, Old Smokey is a fantastic cartoon. The animation and the backgrounds are both excellent. Hanna composes some great shots, as well as the camera “movements.”

But it’s not a fun cartoon. There are no gags, because there’s real danger. A house is on fire and only The Captain (the cartoon series’s lead) can stop it. Or can he….

The Captain is actually a dumb, mean-spirited, technophile immigrant who stupidly fired the fire department’s fire horse and got a fancy engine. And the fire engine, it turns out, is just too new-fangled to be any use.

Oh, I forgot… The Captain (and the woman in danger) are both fat immigrants. Couple of real mean fat jokes.

The cute fire horse saves the day and The Captain rehires him. The Captain then kills the fire engine, which has just been anthropomorphized.

While masterfully made, Smokey‘s a little creepy.

1/3Not Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by William Hanna; based on a comic strip by Rudolph Dirks; animated by George Gordon; music by Scott Bradley; produced by Fred Quimby; released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Starring Billy Bletcher (The Captain).

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