A real gem of a golden oldie animated short is Mother Goose Goes Hollywood.
The basic concept is to take classic children’s rhymes and cast caricatures of (then-current) well known celebrities in the rhymes’ contexts. And with jazz, of course!
I could only place a handful of the personalities portrayed – still-famous ones like Groucho Marx, the ventriloquists’ dummy I first saw as a kid watching Fun and Fancy Free, and some I even only recognized from caricatures of them in other cartoons from the era! And yet I had the feeling that each portrayal was spot on. If only I had some clue as to just who they were…
Thus I Googled my way to 2719 Hyperion’s post, Who’s Who in Mother Goose Goes Hollywood, featuring an overview complete with placing of the dialogue quotes.
Some of the caricatures are amusing, others are uncannily similar to the real thing. (Good political cartoons don’t need name tags on the portrayed persons for you to instantly recognize who they are.)
So I suggest you watch the Youtube above, then scroll on down to the comparisons from 2719 Hyperion (which has clickable to full size images):
See this post at 2719 Hyperion for the background of this cartoon’s creation.
In fact, there are plenty other period cartoons that featured characters obviously meant to be caricatures of famous folk of the time… From one-off gags like a floppy-nosed cat going Ha cha cha cha! to being the entire focus of the cartoon like in Mickey’s Gala Premiere.
I’d love for a modern version to be made, beyond the usual gags and rip-offs aimed at one or two celebs like Britney Britney… Or referencing classic actors who passed away long before the target audience was even born.
BONUS! All the celebrity caricature-centric cartoons I could find appended below:
A link to The Coo-Coo Nut Grove.
And a few featuring notable Black jazz musicians of the time (excuse the blackface-ish caricaturing and Stepin Fetchitt-ity):
And a personal fave, The Old Man of the Mountain starring Betty Boop and the actual singing of the inimitable Cab Calloway, with catchy tunes and some serious scatting! It’s public domain now, so you can download the whole short at this link.
Modern band Squirrel Nut Zippers did a music video, Ghost of Stephen Foster, that is obviously a tribute to Cab Calloway’s cartoon features. Just compare the start:
Ol’ Cab actually had a whole slew of animated shorts.
And not a celebrity showcase, but similar in style and tone to Mother Goose Goes Hollywood: