Koko in 1999 (1927)

One thing that will strike you about the Fleischers’ 1927 cartoon short Ko-ko in 1999 is how it anticipates other motifs in science fiction cinema. Most notable is the moment where the eponymous clown finds himself trapped in a feeding machine with more than a passing resemblance to the feeding machine tested by Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times (1936). When a stern Max Fleischer tries to bring Ko-ko down a peg or two by creating a bunch of rival clowns, Ko-ko rebels and shunts the competition out of the frame. Fleischer punishes his creation by conjuring Father Time, who pursues Ko-ko into the future – 1999, to be precise. There, he is assailed by all kinds of automated obstacles, and acquires a wife out of a vending machine. Like A Trip to Mars, which I posted here a couple of weeks ago, this is an extract from the excellent Inkwell Images DVD set, which also features documentaries about the Fleischer Bros. Studios. The music is Stereolab‘s remix of Shonen Knife‘s Hot Chocolate, taken from the Ultra Mix album.

1 thought on “Koko in 1999 (1927)

  1. You will notice that this video, and the other Koko the Clown film, have been removed from YouTube following a copyright claim by Inkwell Images, from whose DVDs I extracted the cartoon. Since the cartoon itself is in the public domain, I wonder what the status of such a claim would be: does this one cartoon count as a “clip” from the DVD, for instance? I don’t have time to pursue or dispute the matter, except to say that I meant no offence, and fully credited (and sung the praises of) Inkwell Images when I posted the film, which I had initially used while practicing with soundtracks and titles on iMovie.

    If you would like to see the film, you can still find it on YouTube, still taken from Inkwell Images, but with vastly inferior quality to the version I posted.

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