Toadette
2016-02-01T13:38:12Z
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Fireman Save My Child 
An entertaining film in the silent-era Mutt and Jeff series, this cartoon focuses on the scrapes Mutt and Jeff are caught up in as they run a fire house, often suffering from their own incompetence (and that of the other firefighters).

One element I like about this cartoon is its sheer cynicism; it permeates the whole story. After Mutt suffers police brutality because of Jeff hosing the smoking policeman down ("where there's smoke, there's fire"), his first instinct is to grab an axe and search for Jeff, who, knowing the potential bodily harm he faces, messes up a seemingly empty bed and puts his hat on it to make it look like he's there. (Mutt, needless to say, almost chops the bed in half before a bunch of firemen hop out of it.) Later, at the scene of a fire, Mutt needs to get to the top of a high-rise building in order to save a woman's "darling", whereupon Jeff, with his hose, sprays a fireman with a long beard up to do a split between two buildings; Mutt capitalizes on this and, going up with the hose spray, grabs onto the other fireman's beard in order to reach the top window! In the meantime, Jeff decides he would rather spend his time frying eggs on the fire truck's engine and feeding the horse.

The long-bearded fireman, after Mutt is inside the burning building (and getting bitten by a dog), decides to cut off his beard, clearly not wanting to bother with any more pain (and without any regard for Mutt's safety). Mutt, having had enough of the dog and seeing the beard has disappeared, decides to jump for it on the assumption that the firemen below have a trampoline waiting...but said firemen are distracted by a woman climbing down with her leg showing! After slamming onto the ground, Mutt learns the bitter truth—the woman's "darling" is the dog! Frustrated, he socks Jeff and collapses—he would rather let the dog burn to death than save him and risk getting bitten, much to the woman's sobs.

The gags are remarkably well-executed; witness the scene where, upon the fire alarm being rung, an endless amount of firemen begin jumping out of their beds and sliding down the fireman's pole in a large, messy group that falls through the ground, eventually emerging from it and hanging onto the fire truck in a long, wavy line! (And of course, there's the one left over.) The draftsmanship is appreciable for how drawn it looks; it's well-grounded in Mutt and Jeff's print-cartooning origins. Dick Huemer's animation is essential in making sure every gag actually works well, elevating the cartoon beyond just an animated extension of the original comic strip.

If you want to see this cartoon, get Tom Stathes's "Cartoon Roots" Blu-ray/DVD combo! Any other thoughts from those who have seen it?