As the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics wrap up this weekend, I thought it might be fitting to recommend checking out a few vintage Kartoon Klassics available on FilmOn’s free VOD service, and lo and behold, I was lucky enough to find three appropriate ones from three classic animation studios.
Frisky Frolics (1932)
The earliest, Van Beuren Studios’ black and white Frisky Frolics, is a good place to start. It has scenes most resembling the Opening and Closing Ceremonies at Sochi, albeit with an international and inter-species cast of animals. Frisky also features wacky skiing, apocalyptic hockey, a serenading skating Buster Keaton-monkey (‘I Want You, I Need You, Just You’), and variations on what could possibly be construed as snowboard-cross.
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Peeping Penguins (1937)
Fleischer Studio’s Peeping Penguins will appeal to those biathlon fans out there. Although there’s no target hunting or cross-country skiing, the actions are implied and the accoutrements are present. This tale of four naughty and beaky adolescent penguins exploring the empty cabin of a musical biathloner opens surreally in a snow-bereft Caucasus-like locale, then settles into a more appropriate Antarctic setting for its surprise climax. ‘Curiosity Killed the Cat’ is the odd musical number.
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Snow Foolin’ (1949)
The final animated recommendation is by Famous Studios, the Max Fleischer offshoot that developed after his fall-out with brother Dave. Snow Foolin’ has a nominal Christmas-time thing that slightly gets in the way (it’s sing-a-long song is ‘Jingle Bells’, although if one does choose to participate, you’ll be treated to the rarely heard pick-up-artist second and third verses), but nevertheless also fronts the international/interspecies ideal, with skating alligators, storks and caterpillars, a three-hippo bobsled and ski-jumping kangaroos (with one anticipating the extreme Go-Pro camera craze by about 65 years). The short, program and tournaments conclude with a zinger and cup of coffee served by an innovative and entrepreneurial tortoise.