Sunday, 11 December 2011

Aladdin Bonzo and the Wonderful Lamp

Just in time for the panto season, here are some stills from 1925's Aladdin Bonzo and the Wonderful Lamp. The sixteenth short in the Bonzo series, it sees the puppy hero happen upon a woman relating the Arabian Nights story, causing him to become Aladdin himself in a daydream.

It's one of the most off-the-wall Bonzo cartoons. Before becoming Aladdin, Bonzo takes the spot off his body, turns it into a bouncy ball and gives it to a small boy. Later, with the aid of the genie's magic, the ball is sent out of reality and into Bonzo's daydream via a telephone line (or some kind of radio station's equipment - I'm afraid I'm not familiar enough with 1920s technology to figure out what's being portrayed); the detached spot briefly sprouts a face, limbs and the ability of speech in one scene. Gags like this far removed from the fairly conventional slapstick humour of the first Bonzo short, and arguably show the influence of crazy American cartoons such as the Out of the Inkwell.

The short is available on DVD from Cartoons on Film. Unfortunately the surviving print is in poor shape, with the final gag (in which Bonzo struggles to remain seated on a camel's back, and ends up inverting the poor creature so that its troublesome humps are on its stomach instead) having faded away almost to nothing.

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