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Western Animation / Imagination

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Imagination is a 1943 animated short film (8 minutes) directed by Bob Wickersham and produced by Dave Fleischer for Columbia Cartoons.

In this one-shot cartoon, a little girl comes home to an apartment. She obviously lives in poverty—windows are cracked, chunks of plaster are missing from the walls, and she's there alone. The girl hops onto the bed and starts playing with her dolls, a little blonde-haired doll that resembles the girl quite a bit, and a male sailor doll.

As she plays, a narrator urges her to use her power of imagination. The narrator bursts into a song about imagination. All the toys come alive, including the girl doll and the sailor doll, who dance on their own, and start falling in love—that is, until an evil roly-poly toy decides to stop the romance.


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Tropes:

  • Damsel in Distress: The girl, who cries out "Save me! Save me!" to the sailor as the villain whisks her away.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: A sweetly innocent blonde-haired blue-eyed child.
  • Imagine Spot: Most of the cartoon, presumably, as the girl imagines a romance between dolls followed by a wild chase.
  • Mood Whiplash: The cartoon takes an odd turn when the girl wrecks the car and winds up in doll hospital, going on the operating table. Of course the fact that all the dialogue is getting sung still undercuts the seriousness of this.
  • Mustache Twirling Villain: The roly-poly toy has a lush mustache which he actually twirls when first spotting the two dolls and deciding on his plan.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Most of the dialogue is sung, but the bits that aren't (the girl's chatter and the first narration) also rhymes.
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  • Show Some Leg: The sailor, dressed as the girl, does this to distract the roly-poly toy.

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