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Western Animation / Jasper and the Beanstalk

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Mr. Scarecrow and Blackbird

"Jasper and the Beanstalk" is a 1945 animated short film directed by George Pal, part of his Puppetoons series.

Unsurprisingly it is an adaptation of "Jack and the Beanstalk". It stars Pal recurring character Jasper, a young African-American boy. Jasper is twanging on a mouth organ one day when he passes by Professor Scarecrow (a sentient scarecrow) and his friend Blackbird, both also recurring characters in the Jasper series. Professor Scarecrow, who covets the mouth organ, tricks Jasper into exchanging the mouth organ for three "black magic beans."

The scarecrow laughs and laughs, believing he has pulled a trick on Jasper, but of course the beans are magic. "Jack and the Beanstalk" plays out from there, with Jasper being carried to some sort of magic giant land on the beanstalk, and finding a singing harp that wants out.



  • Adaptational Heroism: Many deconstructions of "Jack and the Beanstalk" have pointed out that Jack is basically an Anti-Hero who breaks into the giant's castle, robs him, and then kills him by chopping down the tree. This version plays it differently. Jasper doesn't climb the beanstalk to enter the giant's castle; rather he is swept up to the giant's castle by accident, when the beanstalk sprouts while Jasper is sleeping in bed. He doesn't steal anything but the singing harp, and in this version the harp asks for rescue. Also, in this version the giant is not shown to have died when Jasper chops down the beanstalk.
  • Animated Adaptation: Of "Jack and the Beanstalk".
  • Grail in the Garbage: Professor Scarecrow cackles with glee after hoodwinking Jasper into trading his mouth organ for "magic beans", but the beans turn out to really be magic.
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  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The singing harp is obviously Lena Horne. (The voice is supplied by another very famous singer, Peggy Lee.)
  • The Noun and the Noun: Jasper and the Beanstalk
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: A mean giant living in a castle in the clouds, as in the story.
  • Sexy Backless Outfit: The sexiness possibly reduced by the fact that the singing harp has a huge harp sticking out of her back.
  • Space Elevator: Jasper is whisked to a castle in the clouds by a magic beanstalk.
  • Stop Motion: One of George Pal's Puppetoons, using carefully manipulated wooden puppets.
  • Uncle Tomfoolery: Less of this than in other Jasper shorts, where Jasper might be eating watermelon or scared of ghosts. He does, however, talk in stereotypical uneducated black American speech.

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