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"Stand up, you sinner, we got you at last!"

"Officially, LSD was first produced in 1938. We say "officially" because this cartoon says it's from 1930, and there's no way it was created without massive doses of acid being pumped into everyone involved."
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"Swing, You Sinners!" is a 1930 Talkartoons short, produced by Fleischer Studios and featuring their character Bimbo the dognote .

The short begins with Bimbo making a nighttime raid on a hen-house, attempting to steal one of the chickens. After a humorous scuffle with one of the hens, a police officer shows up and begins chasing him. Bimbo evades capture (albeit losing the hen and its chicks along the way) but winds up trapped inside a graveyard, where a legion of wily ghosts unite to not only terrorize him for his life of crime and debauchery, but eventually spirit him away.

An outstanding example of the surrealism which characterises both Fleischer Studio's art style and that of other producers at the time, Swing, You Sinners! has been referenced numerous times in media since its original release.

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Contrast to Disney's The Skeleton Dance, a short with a similar macabre theme (but not nearly as wild). Also of note is Van Beuren Studios own knockoff of the film, "Panicky Pup".


Swing, You Tropers!:

  • Acid-Trip Dimension: Bimbo ends up in this in the ending, with lots of dancing ghosts, frogs, and a giant skull that eats him.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: The spirits in the cartoon take the forms of several objects, including tombstones, a haystack, two separate examples made of the graves' soil, a scythe, and a pair of shoes.
  • Animation Bump: The Grim Natwick scenes, most notably the climatic chase sequence.
  • Bedsheet Ghost: Many of the ghosts have this appearance.
  • Creepy Jazz Music: The short features a big jazz number including some unhinged scatting, where a bunch of ghosts torment Bimbo the dog after he tries to steal a chicken.
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  • Dangerously Close Shave: One of the ghosts turns into and emerges from a barber pole, promising Bimbo a "permanent shave" and lampshading it.
  • The Dead Can Dance: And swing like crazy too.
  • Deranged Animation: Let's just say everything in the short is wildly animated, even before the graveyard sequence. The climatic chase sequence with the barn and freakish monsters chasing Bimbo (animated by Grim Natwick) especially stands out.
  • Double-Meaning Title: "Swing" can mean either "dance", befitting the upbeat, jazzy song number from which the short takes its name, or it can mean "what someone does at the end of a noose", and sure enough there's no shortage of hanging references in regards to poor Bimbo.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: The ghosts are on Bimbo's case for his history of chasing girls, stealing chickens and gambling. This is, apparently, enough to warrant a mercilessly and gleefully delivered death sentence.
  • For the Evulz: The last verse of the song has the ghosts stating this as the motivation for their sadism.
  • Gainax Ending: After a long chase, Bimbo gets whisked off into a bizarre ghostly world where he gets eaten by a giant skull. The End.
  • Informed Flaw: The opening scene establishes that Bimbo's a thief. The ghosts let us know that Bimbo is a gambler and a shameless womanizer, as well, but we never see any evidence of those.
  • Institutional Apparel: Bimbo imagines himself wearing this and pounding on a rock in prison when he first sees the police officer.
  • Large Ham: Most of the ghosts are this 'cause their exaggerated facial expressions.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: To modern viewers, Bimbo trying to steal a chicken is a petty crime at worst and certainly doesn't warrant being whisked off into oblivion, but this film was made during The Great Depression, when food was scarce, and people often went for days, even weeks without food, so Bimbo's crime was a far graver sin than what modern viewers would believe.
  • Living Shadow: The ghost who chastises Bimbo for chasing girls is formed from his own shadow.
  • Mickey Mousing: The part where Bimbo evades the cop is directly timed to the music.
  • Murder Ballad: Once Bimbo enters the barn, the ghosts start singing about all the horrible deaths they'd like to make Bimbo suffer.
  • No Ending: The short ends abruptly after Bimbo is eaten by the skull, without resolving such narrative as there is.
  • Off-Model: Bimbo's appearance frequently changes throughout the cartoon, depending on who was animating him in a given scene.
  • Our Monsters Are Weird: They sure are. Alongside more recognizable things like Bedsheet Ghosts, animated trees and giant bats, Bimbo is terrorized by living piles of hay, singing gravestones, giant leering heads and things not really recognizable as anything.
  • Prepare to Die: The first half of the song in the graveyard is basically the ghosts telling Bimbo to get ready to be lynched.
  • Profile View Gag: At one point, we see a creature that looks like a circle with a face and legs dancing. Then it turns to the side, and we see that not only is its body long rather than sphere-shaped, but there are two identical creatures behind it.
  • Sapient House: Once Bimbo leaves the barn, it becomes an ambulatory spirit and starts chasing after him.
  • Scatting: In the final few minutes before the ending, a frog with especially long limbs manages to pull off an excellent example.
  • Surprise Creepy: It starts out like any other funny little old rubber-hose cartoon, but it doesn't take long for things to start getting dark.
  • Swallow the Key: This is done to keep the cemetery gates locked. Most menacingly, it's the gate that does so.
  • The Walls Are Closing In: Done with a stone wall that appears on the horizon and phases through the scenery to enclose Bimbo in a tight circle.
  • Villain Protagonist: Bimbo, although he barely qualifies as a villain.
  • "The Villain Sucks" Song: The opening chorus when Bimbo first gets in the graveyard.
  • Visual Pun: Right after entering the graveyard, a block of ice briefly appears on Bimbo's feet - because he's getting cold feet.
  • When Trees Attack: Some of the spirits are animated trees, one of whom gets a good caress of Bimbo's butt.

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