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Pencil Mania is a 1932 animated cartoon in the Van Beuren Studios Tom and Jerry series that breaks the fourth wall of theatre and film. The two main characters become animators in the film, and draw various cartoon scenarios against the blank background, and interact with them. The short was created by John Foster and Vernon Stallings (credited as Geo. Stallings), with synchronization by Gene Rodemich, released through Library Films. The opening
credits are played over the song "I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover". Run time is 6:54. It is believed to be in the public domain.
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Watching this cartoon, my immediate reaction was that they were making another Fanny Zilch cartoon. But it actually predates the Fanny Zilch cartoons. The characters in this cartoon
are pretty much stock characters anyway: this was intended as a spoof of old melodramas, something which had already been done in the silent movie era and in comic strips such as Desperate Desmond and Hairbreadth Harry.
The girl in this cartoon was also similar to Betty Boop
and was in fact voiced by Margie Hines,
who was also the original voice for Betty Boop.
Betty Boop would later have a boyfriend named "Fearless Fred" who looked a great deal like either the stalwart hero in this cartoon or the comic strip character "Hairbreadth Harry", and had about the same villian as in the other two versions as well. And of course the supporting cast in the Fanny Zilch cartoons was about the same, which led to about the same characters being used all over again in the Mighty Mouse cartoons.
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Desperate Desmond ( comic strip ):
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