Scrappy’s Beer Parade

tiny-toons
As regular readers will know, I’m a huge cartoon nerd. Today, March 8, 1933, the cartoon “Beer Parade” was released by Screen Gems, and created by the Charles Mintz Studio. It was a Scrappy cartoon.

Scrappy

Here’s more about Scrappy, from Wikipedia:

Scrappy is a cartoon character created by Dick Huemer for Charles Mintz’s Krazy Kat Studio (distributed by Columbia Pictures). A little round-headed boy, Scrappy often found himself involved in off-beat neighborhood adventures. Usually paired with his little brother Oopy (originally Vontzy), Scrappy also had an on-again, off-again girlfriend named Margy and a Scotty dog named Yippy. In later shorts the annoying little girl Brat and pesky pet Petey Parrot also appeared. Huemer created the character in 1931, and he remained aboard Mintz’s studio until 1933. With Huemer’s departure, his colleagues Sid Marcus and Art Davis assumed control of the series. The final Scrappy cartoon, The Little Theatre was released in 1941.

beerparade
Posters for the “Beer Parade”
beerparade_1933

Here’s the synopsis of the cartoon from its IMDb page:

Scrappy and Oopie, though little boys, happily celebrate the return of beer after fourteen years, with the help of brew-guzzling gnomes, apparently from the “Rip Van Winkle” story. They leave an allegorical “Prohibition” figure (ugly old man in stovepipe hat) stripped and chased off.

scrappy600

beer-parade-title

Here’s another description from a user review at IMDb:

Scrappy and Oopie are partying with some gnomes who are enjoying beer from barrels. A mean Prohibition Agent appears and attacks the barrels with an axe, but Oopie will defend the right of people to enjoy their lager in this cartoon released a month before beer sales were legalized.

It had been a long fight and this typically bizarre Scrappy cartoon has the two children strongly in support of drinking. Although they do not partake themselves, they certainly use startlingly strange methods typical of Dick Huemer’s series. It is a pretty good one because it does not ease up in the second half. Dick and his staff certainly made it clear where their sympathies lay!

beerparade

parade-2

beerparade2

This is from Scrappyland, a website dedicated to Scrappy:

Plot summary: Scrappy and Oopy joyfully serve beer by the barrelful to dozens of drunken elves until Old Man Prohibition shows up. The boys and the little men assault him from the ground and the air–even using explosives–until he chooses to bury himself. Whereupon the good times roll once more.

(I particularly like the moment when Oopy, having rigged up a rope to trip Old Man Prohibition, tugs at it to verify that it’s tight enough to do the job.)

The cartoon is an obvious allegory concerning prohibition and its repeal. But it was released on March 4, 1933, when the federal ban on alcoholic beverages was still in force, so its celebration of unrestrained imbibing was anticipatory.

FDR, who famously made repeal part of his campaign, had taken office in January; a couple of weeks after the cartoon debuted, he signed the Cullen-Harrison act, which permitted the sale of wine and 3.2 percent beer starting the following month. In December, prohibition on the federal level was fully repealed.

Prohibition was never enforced all that rigorously in cartoon land. The 1929 Silly Symphony The Merry Dwarfs presaged The Beer Parade by showing its title characters quaffing beer; 1931’s Lady Play Your Mandolin, the first Merrie Melody, takes place in a saloon and is full of tippling animals, although it’s possible that it’s set in Mexico. But the sheer quantity of beer in The Beer Parade–served by two small boys without any adult supervision–remains startling. It’s unimaginable that anyone would have made a cartoon with this theme a few years later. Or today.

(Scrappy and Oopy aren’t shown drinking in the cartoon, but they are depicted brandishing foamy mugs themselves, and do seem to be in an awfully exuberant good mood.)

He’s reviewing it from a YouTube video where someone at a public screening simply videotaped the cartoon and then uploaded it. But it’s subsequently been removed from YouTube. And as far as I can tell, Scrappy cartoons have not been released on either videotape or DVD. Which is a crying shame, because it looks like it was an amazing cartoon.

parade-1

parade-3

parade-5

parade-6

This is from Scrappyland, a website dedicated to Scrappy:

Dr. Richard Huemer–the son of Scrappy’s creator–shared this New Years’ card which was sent to his father by Joe De Nat, the Mintz studio’s musical director. The card depicts Scrappy and his Mintz stablemate Krazy Kat pumping beer into a mug inhabited by a piano player and a mermaid (presumably representing Mr. and Mrs. De Nat). Assuming that the references to 1933 and the new year mean that the De Nats distributed this card around January 1, 1933, prohibition was still in effect, but the recent election of FDR meant that its days were clearly numbered.

denatcard

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>