Sunday, November 6, 2011


Attention alien creatures: Raising the dead and using them as muscle to conquer the earth is not, has never been, and will never be a good idea. It's time for Plan 10.

But speaking of controlling the earth:

Max Fleischer with Koko the Clown

Koko's Earth Control (1928), produced by those lunatic pioneers of animation Max and Dave Fleischer, is a cartoon which both captivated me and freaked me the hell out when I was a little kid. All these years later, it's still quite a bizarre piece of work. A clown (Koko) and his dog (Fitz) bring about catastrophic weather and other surreal calamities on Earth by pressing some buttons and pulling levers in a mysterious temple ominously labelled Control of Earth.

What could possibly go wrong?

The cartoon's lengthy list of IMDb keywords is intriguing, containing such disparate elements as "lightning," "fear," "apocalypse," and the ever-popular "character melts."

But even more intriguing is the cartoon itself. So here's that:

The cartoon gets even crazier as it goes along, incorporating live action, stop motion, and even what looks like cut-out animation 40 years before Terry Gilliam. And look, ma, no happy ending! It ends in total chaos and despair. This was, of course, only a year before the Great Depression. I wonder if the brothers Fleischer saw stormy times ahead for the country or if this was just a coincidence. Either way, this cartoon certainly anticipates the "Space Madness" episode of The Ren & Stimpy Show, specifically the infamous "History Eraser Button" scene:

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