For Forbidden Animation, Karl Cohen, who teaches animation history at S.F. State and is the author of a recent book with the same title, has assembled 90 minutes of footage dating back to the 1920s to give us a feel for what wasn't, and in some cases still isn't, acceptable for general audiences. Betty Boop's lurid charms are well known, but in Chess Nuts (1932) she shows off her skimpy underwear and a fetishized garter, and appears in bondage. Racial insensitivity manifested itself in classic cartoons just as it did in feature films; the virulent stereotypes of Bob Clampett's Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs (1942) and Tex Avery's Uncle Tom's Cabana (1947) have ensured the works' permanent absence from television.
Moving forward in time, the masterfully bizarre Malice in Wonderland (1982), made by local talent Vince Collins, had the misfortune to be shown at a feminist convention. It's manga-esque images of naked female bodies morphing wildly to a screaming soundtrack were enough to cause its withdrawal. The last, and in some ways, most satisfying of the works on this program is Eveready Harton in Buried Treasure (1928), an unsigned hard-core sextoon allegedly made for Winsor McKay's birthday by Walter Lantz and a few others. The sex here is polymorphous, indiscriminate, and oddly endearing -- with our hero Harton graphically humping everything from a fluttery-eyed donkey to a splintery woodland glory hole to a marcelled beauty lolling naked on a rock.
-- Gary Morris
Forbidden Animation screens on Sunday, Nov. 16, at 2, 4, 7:15, and 9:25 p.m., and on Monday, Nov. 17, at 7:15 and 9:25 p.m. at the Red Vic, 1727 Haight (at Clayton). Tickets are $6; call 668-3994. Assembler Karl Cohen will speak at each screening.
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