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Swing You Sinners!

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Swing You Sinners!
Directed byDave Fleischer
Produced byMax Fleischer
StarringBilly Murray
Animation byWillard Bowsky
Ted Sears
George Cannata
Shamus Culhane
Al Eugster
William Henning
Seymour Kneitel
Grim Natwick
Color processBlack and white
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
September 24, 1930
Running time
8 minutes

Swing You Sinners! is a 1930 animated cartoon short, directed by the Fleischer Brothers as part of the Talkartoons series.[1] The cartoon is notable for its surreal, dark and sometimes even abstract content.


Bimbo is seen late at night, trying to steal a chicken. After several attempts he accidentally grabs a policeman by the hand. As he tries to walk away as if nothing happened the chicken follows him in spite of this, as does the policeman. Eventually the chicken and its chicks flee, while Bimbo enters a cemetery. To his fear he finds out that the place is haunted, complete with ghosts and monsters who tell him that he will be punished for his sin regardless of him begging for mercy and assurance that he would become a better person. Throughout the rest of the film Bimbo is threatened and chased by them until he falls in Hell where a huge skull devours him, ending the cartoon.


The cartoon was released on September 24, 1930[2] in the Talkartoons series and animated by Ted Sears and Willard Bowsky.[3] George Cannata, Shamus Culhane,[4] Al Eugster,[5] William Henning, Seymour Kneitel and Grim Natwick also worked on it, but are uncredited in the title card.[6] The cartoon was animated by a complete new staff who'd never worked in animation before because the studio had to replace some animators who quit.[7] Animator Shamus Culhane states in his memoirs that though he created and animated what might be construed a racist caricature of "a Jew with a black beard, huge nose, and a derby," the studio's atmosphere and its mixed ethnic crew made the depiction completely acceptable to all the Jews in the studio.[8] The caricature in question is a reference to Jewish-American comedian Monroe Silver. [9]


Motion Picture News wrote on October 11, 1930, "The clever cartoon pen of Max Fleischer again demonstrates itself in this Talkartoon. An off-stage chorus sings the lyrics to the rhythm of the action and the result is usually diverting. The cartoon hero is this time taken into a grave-yard with the absurd results that you might well imagine. Worth a play."[10]


The soundtrack was composed by W. Franke Harling, with lyrics by Sam Coslow. Title song was based on “Sing, You Sinners!”, some of which is played in the titles of the cartoon.


John Kricfalusi named it one of his favorite cartoons and played during a retrospective of his personal favorite animated shorts.[7] He also compared it to Walt Disney's The Skeleton Dance (which was also set on a cemetery) and felt Swing You Sinners was superior.[7][11]

In 2012 Cracked hosted an article describing "5 Old Children's Cartoons Way Darker Than Most Horror Movies" and listed Swing You Sinners at No. 1.[12]

In 2014, LA-based indie band Caught A Ghost released a music video to their track "Time Go" which consisted entirely of footage from "Swing You Sinners".

Serbian alternative rock band Brigand named their debut album Zaplešimo Grešnici (literally "swing you sinners" in Serbian) after the cartoon.[13]

Video game developers Chad and Jared Moldenhauer based the atmosphere of their game Cuphead on several Fleischer cartoons, including "Swing You Sinners". Chad Moldenhauer called Fleischer Studios "the magnetic north of his art style".[14] Kill Screen described Max Fleischer's studio (run with his two brothers) as having "transportive, transformative, and massively f**ked up" short films, such as "Swing You Sinners!".[14] The in-game achievement for defeating the game's final boss is even named "Swing You Sinner". Additionally, boss Cagney Carnation's idle animation resembles the hand dance done by one of the ghosts in the cartoon.


  1. ^ Lenburg, Jeff (1999). The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons. Checkmark Books. p. 142. ISBN 0-8160-3831-7.
  2. ^ Bradley, E.M. (2005). The First Hollywood Sound Shorts, 1926-1931. McFarland, Incorporated, Publishers. p. 186. ISBN 9781476606842. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  3. ^ "About Fleischer Studios - Fleischer Studios". Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  4. ^ Lenburg, J. (2006). Who's who in Animated Cartoons: An International Guide to Film & Television's Award-winning and Legendary Animators. Applause Theatre & Cinema Books. p. 56. ISBN 9781557836717. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  5. ^ Ghez, D. (2012). Walt's People –: Talking Disney with the Artists who Knew Him. 12. Xlibris US. p. 1923. ISBN 9781477147900. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  6. ^ "Swing You Sinners! (1930) - Talkartoons Theatrical Cartoon Series". Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  7. ^ a b c ""When Cartoons Were Cartoony:" John Kricfalusi Presents | Animation World Network". Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  8. ^ Culhane, Shamus (1998), Talking Animals and Other People, Da Capo Press, p. 42, ISBN 9780306808302
  9. ^ "Max Fleischer". Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  10. ^ Sampson, Henry T. (1998). That's Enough, Folks: Black Images in Animated Cartoons, 1900-1960. Scarecrow Press. p. 213. ISBN 978-0810832503.
  11. ^ "John K Stuff: Rubber Hose c - Fleischer VS Disney". April 27, 2006. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  12. ^ "5 Old Children's Cartoons Way Darker Than Most Horror Movies". Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  13. ^ "Review of the album, Balkanrock archive". Retrieved October 10, 2013.
  14. ^ a b Purdom, Clayton (July 14, 2014). "Where Did Cuphead Come From?". Kill Screen. Archived from the original on August 2, 2014. Retrieved August 2, 2014.

External links

This page was last edited on 13 June 2021, at 05:40
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