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Philips Radio Presents: The Puppetoons!

Why Philips Radio?

Philips was one of the first companies to utilize Pal's films for advertising. Radio was the "TV" of the time, and Philips wanted to communicate the world-opening wonders of radio to people at theaters. Different kinds of music from around the world provided a perfect backdrop for Pal's animation, which works wonderfully when set to music. As with other animated musical cartoons, the animation was "scored" to perfectly match the music, beat for beat.

Philips commissioned at least 10 Puppetoons between 1934 and 1939:

I've only seen Sleeping Beauty, Philips Cavalcade, The Little Broadcast, and The Big Broadcast of '38 in full, but I've seen parts of Ether Ship and Hoola Boola. Following are pictures, a few movie files, and my impressions of these.

Sleeping Beauty (1935)

Still quite awake, "Beauty" is loving life

For reasons unknown, the witch doesn't like her.

The witch flies through the palace, spreading "sleep powder."

Even the pictures on the wall go to sleep!

In 1538, this unsuccessful knight tried to get through the wall of thorns which then surrounded the castle. We then see would-be saviors in 1643 (with a bomb), 1814 (with a steam-engine contraption), and finally, 1939...

a young hepcat in a convertible attempts to wake beauty with some big-band music.
Yes, he uses a Philips Radio, and yes, it works.

The silver-haired beauty meets her savior!

Click here to download a 116k JPEG comic strip version of this film.
This was a promo which ran in popular magazines of the time.


Philips Cavalcade (1934-9?)

Philips Cavalcade is a wonderful mix of different musical styles and the images they invoke, from ragtime (above) to gospel (below). Music is by Jack Hylton and his Band.

The gospel scene is one of my favorites... the dancer's bodies flow almost like
undersea plants tossed by currents... liquid, yet organic!
(I tried to make a good downloadable version for you...
it just completely lost its grace when I compressed it for the web)

Pal himself with Philippa Ray! She was an attempted Philip's mascot used in this film.
This, of course, is not the puppet used in filming.

The Little Broadcast (1935)

I've only seen a fragment of this film that is shown in the Puppetoon Movie, but it MAY be the whole film.. As usual with this type of film, it's music, music, music... and quite nice for that, but virtually no plot is used. Mr. Johann Strauss (above), the conductor of "The Little Broadcast," was also used by Pal to fight the Screwball army (also seen in "Tulips Shall Grow") in "Bravo, Mr. Strauss" (1943). For this film, Strauss pops out of a manhole in front of a theater.

He then checks the billboard. A clever way of showing the credits to this film!

Strauss gets stern with an unruly band. "Jim Dandy" of "Hoola Boola" makes a brief appearance here.

An excellent black light scene precedes a switch to a south-of-the border sequence.

Click these guys for a 1.2 meg movie --- recommended!

Click these dancers for a 1.2 meg movie --- recommended!

The poolside scene gets rather chaotic!

This is the first appearance in the film of the Philips logo... "Harbor Lights" is performed.


The Big Broadcast of '38 (1937)

A good follow-up to Philips Cavalcade, this includes a spectacular scene of Jazz music in Harlem. Like the gospel scene in Philips Cavalcade, it was too fluid to make into a decent movie file for you.

Notice the portraits of Bette Davis (?), Clark Gable and Josephine Baker above the theater.


Hoola Boola (1938?)

Featuring "Jim Dandy," (an unlikeable character who also appears in "The Little Broadcast") this "tropical" film features a guy who is stuck on a tropical island... a Philips radio, however, provides companionship, as does a new-found friend.

1.2 meg movie of Jim Dandy meeting the following islander

   I've only seen a tiny fragment of this in "The Puppetoon Movie." I don't know what happens next!

Ether Ship (1934)

 I've only seen a fragment, but this looks spectacular. The ship in questions is made entirely of glass, as are many of the sets. Pal moved to Paris to make this; Philips' artisans made the models, since Pal's crew only worked in wood. Pal was amazed at the quality... everything was perfect. This film is also known as "The Ship of the Air".  

More Pal/Puppetoon Info from Animation of Heaven & Hell in 3-D!:

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This page was first posted December 1, 1996.