Susie the Little Blue Coupe

Susie the Little Blue Coupe is an anthropomorphized car created by Walt Disney Studios for the animated short with the same name. To anthropomorphize is to assign human characteristics to non human objects. Either animals, plants or inanimate objects can be used. Of course, Disney Studios, along with all other animation studios have a long history of this. Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Porky Pig are examples. These are all animals. This blog is about anthropomorphizing inanimate objects like Susie the Little Blue Coupe.

Some of my favorite cartoons are these kind. The way animators can imbue cars or hats or boats with a totally believable human personality can be quite entertaining. In the case of Susie the Little Blue Coupe, Susie often seems more human than many people you might meet. Susie is not the only inanimate object that Disney was able to give a human personality to.

Johnny Fedora and Alice Bluebonnet were two hats who fell in love. Boy meets girl. Boy falls in love with girl. Boy and girl get separated. Boy and girl are reunited. That’s the definition of a musical comedy. And all to the voices of the Andrew Sisters. This was the ninth segment out of ten which made up the Walt Disney anthology film Make Mine Music in 1946.

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Johnny Fedora and Alice Bluebonnet

 

Susie the Little Blue Coupe is a stand alone animated short released in 1952. It is narrated by Sterling Holloway. Susie is a small coupe and is purchased by a wealthy man. She is battered over time and traded in. Residing in a junkyard seems to be her permanent fate. Finally, a young man finds her and restores her to a sleek and fine hot rod.

Susie the Little Blue Coupe

Susie the Little Blue Coupe

Susie the Little Blue Coupe animation cel

Susie the Little Blue Coupe served as inspiration for the Disney Pixar film Cars in 2006.

Bald Mountain – Fantasia’s Finest

Night on Bald Mountain is the eighth segment of Walt Disney’s animated feature Fantasia. Fantasia was released by Walt Disney Productions in 1940. It was a never before seen combination of classical music and animation. The film was divided into eight segments. The most famous one probably is the Sorcerer’s Apprentice starring Mickey Mouse. Many consider the final segment, Night on Bald Mountain, to be the finest one of all.

Actually that last segment was Night on Bald Mountain dissolving into Ave Maria. I think the dazzling imagery combined with ghosts, demons, lost souls and the devil himself was probably a bit much to close the film. The serenity of Ave Maria was needed. But it is Night on Bald Mountain all viewers remember.

At Walpurgis Night (the Witches’ Sabbath), Chernabog, god of evil, emerges from the peak of Bald Mountain (in reality Mount Triglaf, near Kiev in southern Russia) to summon all of his minions. These include ghosts, demons, lost souls, hags and harpies, who dance furiously as he throws them into the mountain’s fiery pit. The spirits dance and fly through the air until driven back by the sound of an Angelus bell as night fades into dawn.

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   Demons, ghosts, lost souls, and harpies driven into the fire on Bald Mountain


Chernabog is driven away by the light of the dawn. A chorus is heard singing Ave Maria as we see a line of robed monks. They are walking with lighted torches through a forest and into the ruins of a cathedral. The sequence showcases the animation of Vadimir Tytla and the style of Kay Nielsen. It also includes the longest shot ever produced in the multi-plane camera (in the procession). 

Night on Bald Mountain was an orchestral work by the Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky that was completed in June 1867. The work had not been performed in public at the time of the composer’s death in 1881. It was revised by his colleagues and still later by other generations of composers and conductors most notably by Rimsky-Korsakov.

The Sunshine Makers

The Sunshine Makers is a story of happy gnomes who have the ability to distill sunshine and bottle it in milk bottles, which they deliver around the village. The scenes with the gnomes are in reddish-orange and white. The forest nearby is inhabited by goblins and they are sad. Their scenes are all in blue-and-white. The goblins can’t stand sunshine, because it makes them happy. “They don’t want to be happy. They want to be sad. They’re happy when they’re sad. They’re always feeling bad.” They attack the gnome village, but the gnomes fight back by bombarding the goblins with milk bottles. Soon the goblins are assimilated and everyone is happy. Why milk? Well, the cartoon was “brought to you” by the Borden Milk Company. I don’t believe as is often stated that Borden’s actually commissioned the cartoon, rather that they paid to have the ending added after The Sunshine Makers was completed. This wonderful cartoon was produced by Van Buren Studios and released by RKO pictures in 1935. 

 

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Those gnomes definitely did worship the sunshine; that’s for sure. That worship can be understood in more than one way. Many people interpret the film a bit differently and see it somewhat ahead (sic) of its time. If you’re old enough you might even remember it playing between sets by the Grateful Dead at the Fillmore East in 1969 and 1970. (But if you remember it you probably were not really there.) Those gnomes do look just a bit too much like Jerry Garcia. And I guess that the type of sunshine being bottled and distributed by these little Jerry Garcias were actually milk? Who knows for sure exactly what is was supposed to be? One thing – original animation art from this film is essentially non existent. And it sure is one great cartoon.