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The Forgotten: Mutt-O-Scope

Introducing Bonzo the Dog, England's belligerent answer to Felix the Cat.
I only recently became aware of Bonzo the Dog, also known as Bonzo the Pup, a British newspaper strip cartoon character who made the leap into animated shorts in emulation of America's Felix the Cat. New Era Films Ltd. launched the character onto the screen in 1924, proudly standing up for Britannia's right to make drawings of animals do silly things.
Sadly, the above short is poorly transferred (via VHS?), cropped, misframed, and suffers from fungal print damage, but you do get to enjoy the lovely sepiatone that distinguishes Bonzo's adventures. It's like he's been drawn on brown wrapping paper.
Bonzo was the creation of George Studdy, and such was his fame that he made appearances on stage (played by a man in a costume) and lent his fame to the Crosley Pup, a brand of AM radio, as well as appearing in 26 cartoons, only two of which are on YouTube and only one of which is watchable.
In his movie incarnation, Bonzo is perhaps a touch more aggressive and obnoxious than his newspaper strip form, and does a fair bit of Felix-like manipulation of reality, seen in this film when he transforms a "Zoo" sign into an advertisement for his own personal kennel. Physical matter is mutable in Bonzo's paws, making him a cousin of Chaplin: both can sculpt reality at will. Charlie has to work with physical objects, which have a certain inflexibility, but he can generally get what he needs out of them. Both Felix and Bonzo are creatures of ink in an ink universe, and their sheer force of personality allows them to liquefy whatever falls in their path.
The Forgotten is a regular Thursday column by David Cairns, author of Shadowplay.

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