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Fiddlesticks (1930)

Flip the Frog is the featured performer at an outdoor nightclub in the forest. His dancing and piano-playing please the crowd of critters.


Ub Iwerks (uncredited)


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Flip the Frog jumps happily from lily pad to lily pad, crossing the pond in order to get to an outdoor nightclub in the forest. Flip is the featured performer, and the crowd of critters is happy to see him. As the insect orchestra plays below, Flip dances on a tree stump. Later, he plays the piano as a mouse accompanies him on the violin. The piano cries during a sad song, and Flip has to blow its nose. Flip offends his instrument by caressing its leg with a bit too much familiarity. The piano kicks Flip, and the frog retaliates by punching the keys as he plays. Flip's violent performance leads to a crashing finish. Written by J. Spurlin

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Release Date:

16 August 1930 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Cinephone)


Color (2-strip Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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User Reviews

Very entertaining
5 March 2009 | by hegartdSee all my reviews

As most of you know, this was Ub Iwerks first Flip the Frog cartoon. Besides that, it's most notable for being the first sound cartoon short released in color (that same year, 1930, Universal released the feature film "The King of Jazz" with a color cartoon segment featuring Oswald Rabbit , by Walter Lantz). Prior to this a few cartoons from the silent era were released, starting with J. R. Bray's "Debut of Thomas Katt" in 1920, in the color process "Brewster Color". This one was released in two-strip Technicolor.

The cartoon's plot involves Flip arriving at, and then performing in a musical revue of some sort in the swamp that he lives in. There are actually few sight gags, most of the entertainment comes from the music and how tightly the animation is synchronized to it. Iwerks continued this trend for the rest of the 1930 Flip the Frog series, and the results were pretty weak, the cartoons coming off as dull, but it works here. It almost feels like a parody of all of the clichés of the early talkie cartoons. The cartoons is, on a technical level, great for its' era. The synchronization is nearly perfect, and the animation (mostly by Iwerks, but I think that Ben Clopton might have also done some animation for this short) is very smooth, excellent for this era. There are some relatively funny moments, for example; a brown liquid falls from the sky (presumably bird droppings.) The camera pans up, and it turns out to be a bird chewing tobacco.

The color work was decent in this cartoon. Only the red and green part of the spectrum could be utilized in two-strip Technicolor, so this is a major limitation Cinecolor, another two-strip color process was much more flexible, Iwerks would use this process for his Cinecolor cartoons, as well as a few Willie Whopper's, and possibly the Flip cartoon Techno-cracked. The music by former Mickey Mouse and Silly Sympphonies, and future Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies composer Carl Stalling is very good, which is important for the success of this cartoon. All in all, "Fiddlesticks" is a pleasant diversion.

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