Thursday, December 19, 2013

Joys of the season: creepy old Santa cartoons

As everyone is aware, now is the season of love, laughter and creepy old cartoons. The best ones come from the 1930s, early '30s if possible: there are examples from the '20s, but to my taste they're a bit primitive. Who knows whether this one, Toyland Premier (a direct ripoff of Disney's Mickey's Premier, full of moving celebrity caricatures) was in color originally, or if someone filled in this gory and somehow voluptuous red.

The point is, my favorite YouTube-to-gif site, Y2gif, has gone bust, or at least catawampus. It won't do anything for me. If you enter the info, the web page code, as you're supposed to, this little thingie swirls and swirls forever, until it "times out". The fault is theirs, so the page tells us. So fuck 'em. I CANNOT wait any longer to make holiday gifs!

The search was on for an alternate, and fortunately there were several, because the first one I tried was so shitty it made me want to scream. The videos could be barely 5 minutes, the gifs were no more than 5 seconds, and it took at least 10 minutes for your poorly-made gif to be finished. So it was with a great gasp of astonishment that I found not only did it take much longer videos, upwards of 15 minutes or maybe longer, it would also produce a large, high-quality video of UP TO 15 SECONDS  in a very short space of time.

Thus the dancing clowns, moving in a seemingly endless loop. I'm wondering now whether to remake all of my Harold gifs, but the thought of it is exhausting. Harold makes my heart ache these days, like a lost love or someone who has gone overseas to fight. You don't know if you'll ever see him again, and you never did get as close to him as you wanted. You got close enough to notice he always smelled good, and that's a rare trait in a man. Nothing special or fancy, just a tinge of tweed or saddle leather or even fresh hay.

I yearn because even though the hard part is supposed to be over, it ain't. If no one is interested in my work-of-the-heart, something is going to die inside me forever, and I know it. So I keep the home fires burning.

And just look at these gifs! Juicy, long gifs. I compare here the same logo on 2 different programs:

I think Gifsforum does something to these pictures, sharpens or crops them or something, because they lack that muddy black-barred quality. My favorite Harold reaction, the incredible 15 seconds while sitting in a chair 20 stories high, giffed up beautifully with no problems. Gifsforum also has a lot of alternate settings for size, speed and even color effects, though I have no idea what they mean. (They'll also run backwards.) Y2gif had only one real advantage: a feature that made them much harder to set up, but often produced the best effect. You could literally set the video for hundredths of a second, so that there would be no extraneous material to mar the little gems, the micro-videos these things truly are.

I've never been a filmmaker before, and this is likely as close as I will get. But goddamn it! These things are fun. I can spend hours doodling and diddling with them. I know some people can't stand them, and most of them seem to last less than a second so that the effect is stupid and jerky. Now that they're getting longer, who knows. All that needs to happen now is that someone will post Why Worry? in parts, so I can take Part 3 and excerpt the final, sizzling-hot kiss at the end, the only truly passionate Harold Lloyd kiss  in his repertoire (and rare in the entire silent comedy ouevre). Given that Harold had just started his first serious extramarital affair with his co-star, I think this kiss speaks volumes about where both of them were emotionally and sexually. Imagine having to take and retake, over and over, the way he seizes on her, catlike, like a great lion grasping a lioness by the back of her neck while they mate.

Enough of this, I've got to go trim the eggnog or whatever. I have seriously mixed feelings about this time of year, can be as fatuous as a puppy-dog when the lights start to ring-ting-tingle (or is that the bells?). Then I just sag into this morose mood that seems to have no end. My dreams seem to be slowly washing downhill, eroding like a sand cliff eaten by waves.

Never mind, everybody,  Santa's coming, let's all cheer up!

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