Monday, September 29, 2008

What Cartoon Is This?

A reader named David Graves sent the following query:
I found your name through your blogs, but feel that my naive question might be appropriate for your readers.

I am the Process Architect at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. My job is to re design operating processes, particularly when they are changed by installing computer automation. At a recent conference, my peers and I discussed our problem in explaining what we did.

I remember seeing a early black & white animated short that I felt captured the essence of the problems we all work on. I am trying to identify the short so I can acquire a copy.

In the short, a group of mice is taking mail from a basket and sorting it into a series of mail slots. On the back of the slots are a series of mail chutes that merge into one chute that drops the mail in a basket where a group of mice takes it and sorts it into a series of mail slots. On the back of the slots are a series of mail chutes that merge into one chute that .... and so on.

As you might image, Process Architects seek out and re-design that sort of process.

I am not a student of animation. I am seeking someone who is and can help steer me to the short. Can you tell where to look or how do the research that will lead me to the short?
I can't name the short, though I remember the gag. Most likely, it's a Terrytoon. If anyone can name the cartoon, please comment.


Jerry Chan said...

That or maybe a Fleischer studio film. Didn't they stay in black and white until the mid 1930s? I'm pretty sure Dave Fleischer loved the theme of "kindness to animals" as well.

The tell tale sign will be the bouncing up and down moving hold, I'm sure.

Anonymous said...

That sounds like THE PARROTVILLE POST OFFICE, I remember a mail sorting gag in that one. The Postmaster Parrot tosses individual letters into various slots embedded in a wall. On the other side of the wall, all the letters travel down a chute and wind up in one bag. It's not mice, but parrots. Mark Kausler

J.V. (AKA "White Pongo") said...

A similar gag also appears in the Fleischer film 'The Male Man': all the envelopes converging from the separate slots into Bimbo's mail bag.

David said...

Thank all of you for you assistance and suggestions. I looked at "The Parrotville Post Office" and am afraid that it is not the clip. I have spent a fair amount of time searching for "The Male Man" so far without success. From what I have seen of the style of the Fleischers and the descriptions I have read it seem like a good candidate.

Any suggestion on how to find a copy of the film?

John said...

"Crazytown", a 1953 Noveltoon, also uses that gag (IIRC, it's also one of he few Harvey/Paramount cartoons thats in public domain, which might make tracking down a cheap copy on DVD easier, though it's also on the Harveytoons set).

pspector said...

I just looked at Crazytown, it's an octopus sorting the mail, and it only goes through one mail sort. Fleischer might be the studio-- it could be a veteran holdover at Famous recycling his own gag.

J.V. (AKA "White Pongo") said...

'The Male Man' is likewise a single cabinet of mail slots converging into one leading to the bag. No mice and no multiple sortings. Bimbo is a white dog in this one. Great cartoon but I don't think the one you are looking for. It does sound like a Terrytoon (or possibly Van Beuren) to me.

Anonymous said...

It does have a Van Beuren scent to it.