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Western Animation / The Old Man of the Mountain

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"Whatcha gonna do now?"
"Gonna do the best I can!"

Look out! Look out! The Old Man of the Mountain!

The Old Man of the Mountain is a 1933 Betty Boop short from The Golden Age of Animation. It is one of three Betty Boop shorts that Cab Calloway performed in, the other two being Minnie the Moocher and Snow White (1933).

The short opens with a mountain lion running down from a mountain into a nearby town, warning everyone about "The Old Man of the Mountain." They all panic and begin rushing out of town. Betty asks what's wrong, and an owl (voiced by Calloway) stops to tell her through song about the Old Man of the Mountain. Betty then makes her way up the mountain and meets face to face with the Old Man (also voiced by Calloway).

The short is in the public domain and can be seen here.

Has nothing to do with the leader of The Hashshashin nor the former rock formation in Franconia Notch, New Hampshire that collapsed in 2003.

This short provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Villainy: The short is based after a pre-existing song, where the Old Man, while somewhat batty and having a bit of a trickster streak, is ultimately just a wise old hermit who lives in harmony with nature.
  • Antagonist Title: The Old Man of the Mountain is the Big Bad.
  • Big Bad: The titular Old Man.
  • Big Damn Heroes: When the Old Man has Betty cornered, the townsfolk sneak up from behind and subdue him.
  • Child by Rape: When Betty asks a woman with a baby stroller why she's crying, she says "the Old Man of the Mountain", and shows Betty her baby triplets who have beards like the Old Man, implying that the Old Man raped her and fathered the triplets.
  • Conspicuously Light Patch: Played with. When Betty first arrives at the Old Man's cave, there's a boulder that's very obviously not painted and very prominent in the scene. She walks right up to it and then turns her back to it, making it look like the Old Man is going to come out from behind it. He then pops out of a completely normal, painted part of the background instead, surprising her. He does later destroy the light rock with a lightning bolt, however.
  • Creepy Cave: The Old Man lives in one, unsurprisingly. It's full of all manner of creepy background objects, including what appears to be a giant skull with a railroad spike through it.
  • Creepy Jazz Music: The short opens with everyone in town panicking and running as jazz music plays. One townsperson, an owl, stops when Betty asks him what's wrong, and he explains through song that everyone is running from the titular Old Man. Betty goes up to the mountain to try and stop the Old Man, and when she finally meets him, he starts flirting with her through song.
  • Dirty Old Man: When the Old Man meets Betty, he starts flirting with her, and before long begins chasing her, apparently with the intent of raping her! Another woman running from the Old Man has a stroller with three babies that look just like him.
  • The Dreaded: The Old Man is evil, and everyone knows it.
  • Evil Old Folks: The Old Man is definitely a nasty fellow, and the Big Bad of the short.
  • Giving Them the Strip: Betty escapes from The Old Man by slipping out of her dress. The dress then slaps him in the face and runs off after her.
  • Hammerspace Hair: The Old Man's beard had a tankard of alcohol stored in it plus a pair of bugs to pour it into his mouth while he was running.
  • Hidden Depths: Despite what a jerk he is, the Old Man is an amazing singer and dancer. Not surprising, considering that his voice and his moves (via rotoscoping) is provided by Cab Calloway.
  • Mickey Mousing: Much of the action in the short is synced up to the music provided by Cab Calloway and his orchestra.
  • Mountain Man: This short is based on the jazz song of the same name, and the titular Old Man is once again portrayed as a hermit who lives in a cave in the mountains. However, he goes through Adaptational Villainy in this cartoon. Rather than being a harmless, if batty, old man like he was in the original song, he's now a monstrous individual who tries to eat and/or assault anyone who enters his domain.
  • Mr. Exposition: The Owl, who tells Betty all about the Old Man through song.
  • The Owl-Knowing One: The Owl, who stops to give Betty a Warning Song about the Old Man of the Mountain while everyone else runs away.
  • Puddle-Covering Chivalry: A bear removes its fur and covers a puddle with it so Betty could cross. It promptly shrinks from the moisture, much to the bear's anger.
  • Rape as Drama: It's implied that this is why the Old Man is so feared. He flirts with Betty and tries to grab her, even ripping off her clothes, and another woman running from the Old Man has a stroller with three babies that look just like him.
  • Rotoscoping: With Cab Calloway's rotoscoped moves, even a creepy old guy can dance!
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: The entire town reacts this way when they hear the Old Man is on the move, evacuating en masse rather than risk running into him.
  • Shock and Awe: Downplayed. The Old Man throws a lightning bolt at one point, but he only does it to destroy the rock that it seemed like he was going to pop out of. This is more of a one-off gag as opposed to the Old Man actually having superpowers.
  • Somewhere, a Mammalogist Is Crying: The animal at the beginning, which is apparently a mountain lion, has a mane. Unlike lions (which are a different species), mountain lions do not have manes. This may or may not have been intended as a Visual Pun.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: As Betty climbs up the mountain, she runs into a crying woman with a baby stroller. Inside the stroller are three babies that look exactly like the Old Man, complete with long beards.
  • Tailfin Walking: A male fish comes out of a puddle while walking on his tail fin to gawk at Betty's legs, until his wife comes out (also walking on her tail fin) and drags her husband back in.
  • Throwing Off the Disability: Played for laughs - an old man (not the title character) with bandaged feet limps around on a pair of crutches, only to get one look at Betty's curves, and immediately finds himself reinvigorated, tossing aside the crutches.
  • Titled After the Song: "The Old Man of the Mountain" is titled after the Cab Calloway song that came out just one year before this short, as well as the titular villain.
  • Visual Pun: When the Old Man is approaching Betty, we see him licking his thumbs. This is a visual play on the long forgotten phrase "Hot Licks", which was slang for "Catchy music."
  • Warning Song: The song that this short is named after is sung by an owl in the village to Betty, warning her that the Old Man of the Mountain is evil and will kill or eat anyone who crosses his path. Notably, the lyrics are changed from the original version of the song to give the Old Man Adaptational Villainy.
  • Wild Man: The Old Man is an evil version, living on his own in the wild, and terrorizing the inhabitants of the area whenever he feels like it.


Video Example(s):


Betty Boop crosses a puddle

A bear helps Betty cross a puddle on her way to see The Old Man of the Mountain.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / PuddleCoveringChivalry

Media sources: