Valley of the Things

The Van Beuren company and its boss, Mr Van Beuren, was lampooned by Frank Tashlin as “Van Boring,” but there’s nothing dull about their AESOP’S FABLES series. There’s also no resemblance to Aesop or his fables or fables in general — these are pure early 1930s free-associative lunacy.

In GYPPED IN EQYPT, a comedy double act (seeming to anticipate Abbott and Costello and their meeting with the mummy) murders a camel and is then plunged into a hallucinogenic nightmare of guilt and torment — with musical interludes. Lots of anatomically incorrect/incomplete skeletons in the Disney manner, in a pleasing variety of designs.

The principle characters were apparently called Waffles and Don, and were apparently a cat and dog, though none of this was really apparent to me. Don Dog looks a bit Lou Costello-like to me, but he’s less flappable, more cool and collected, while the gangling cat is a panic-stricken specimen of the sub-genus scaredy.

The giant menacing Sphinx driving out of the desert like a monolithic Duesenberg is a favourite moment, somewhat echoed at the end by the vast, world-obliterating pair of malevolent eyes peering over the horizon like a kosmic Kilroy, or something out of Olaf Stapledon. And then we fade out, with no resolution or explanation. I am genuinely reminded of the apocalyptic finale of Poe’s The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym.

“Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li!”

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2 Responses to “Valley of the Things”

  1. There’s something pretty delicious about THAT voice reading THAT story… might not get the most out of the scenes of weird terror, but it’s consistently ODD…

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