Greatest Man In Siam

27 Mar

Before I get into the post I have to thank Thad K. for hooking me up with this one. I love the Lantz Swing Symphonies, there’s never really much of a story just gags, dancing and jazz but I think they’re just so damn entertaining. “The Greatest Man In Siam” has some really great dancing animation in it. Particularly Pat Matthews (one of my all-time favorites) animation of the Sultan’s daughter. Here’s Grim Natwick’s model sheet for “Miss X” (I had erroneously credited it to Matthews. Steve Worth commented that it was really by Natwick) and two clips from the cartoon. The first clip picks up at the best part of the film when the “hottest man in Siam” enters through the end of the short. The second clip is part of the same clip but of an incredible dance sequence by Pat Matthews in which I’ve slowed it down to see each drawing in action. Fantastic animation, done without live reference! This is really great cartoon with some nice experimenting going on. The backgrounds are flat colors and even made from colored paper and there’s some nice cutting throughout the cartoon. I think these thing typify a lot of Shamus Culhane’s Lantz cartoons, he had a great unit working with him.

P.S.-My pal Andy Latham is on the lookout for demostration videos featuring animators. Please check out his blog and let him know if you know of any other videos online that he can link to. Thanks!

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13 Responses to “Greatest Man In Siam”

  1. Ted March 29, 2007 at 6:16 pm #

    You should probably put in a link to Thad’s post on the similar 1944 Lantz Swing Symphony Abou Ben Boogiehttp://classicanimation.blogspot.com/2006/09/sheik-boogie-woogie.Van Eaton also recently sold me a cel they listed as being from Greatest Man in Siam, tho it appears in Abou Ben Boogie; can you confirm that it doesn’t appear in the complete cartoon?http://tag.rubberslug.com/gallery/master_query.asp?SeriesID=28624

  2. Kevin Langley March 29, 2007 at 7:59 pm #

    That cell is definetly from “Abou Ben Boogie”. There’s no scene like that in “Siam” and she doesn’t have headress in it either. Cool cell though.

  3. ryan March 29, 2007 at 8:34 pm #

    DAAMMMMNNNNNnnn… damn.. really awesome.thanks for adding the frame by frame video to go along with itdancing animation always impresses the hell out of me

  4. ryan March 29, 2007 at 8:35 pm #

    i forgot to mention the girl designs: WOW!!!!!

  5. Cartoonretro April 3, 2007 at 11:18 pm #

    Thanks for posting this. I’ve had the model sheet for at least 10 years and always wanted to see the cartoon. Great drawing and animation throughout these clips- especially impressive how he turned the woman’s head in perspective in the opening of the first scene (show off!) and the bit where she goes into the slow dance is stunning.Thanks,S.

  6. Kevin Langley April 5, 2007 at 2:54 am #

    Shane, I’ve been wanting to post that model sheet for the longest time but I was holding out until I could get a hold of the cartoon. I hadn’t seen since I was a kid. I agree, Matthews is totally showing off in this scene. I’m glad you guys liked.Thanks again Thad.

  7. Cartoonretro April 5, 2007 at 1:37 pm #

    I’ve been watching this repeatedly every day, along with the Ben Boogie. It’s kind of frustrating because it suffers from some really clunky, graceless cleanup/inking in parts. Looking at the confident line in his model sheet, I can only imagine how beautiful the pencil animation must have been. What is with the strange cropping in Ben Boogie? Did they crop out her walk because it was too sexy?Also,check out this lovely sheet music signed by Pat:http://www.familytiesantiques.com/mus1.JPG

  8. Kevin Langley April 5, 2007 at 4:53 pm #

    Wasn’t there some weird cropping in “Scrub Me Mamma” too? I’ve only seen public domain copies so maybe that was the reason. I know Culhane liked to try new things but the cropping is just odd looking. Both instances are of scenes of women strutting around so maybe that is the reason. It seems a number of scenes from Culhane’s shorts have some sloppy inking in them. Other than that I think they’re fantastic.Thad actually sent me a copy of that pic not too long ago. Matthews really is great.

  9. Stephen Worth April 7, 2007 at 3:18 am #

    Grim Natwick did that model sheet at the top. I have his ruffs for that.See yaSteve

  10. Kevin Langley April 7, 2007 at 2:06 pm #

    Thanks Steve, I scanned it from Culhane’s book and he credited it to Matthews.

  11. Stephen Worth April 8, 2007 at 4:08 am #

    yjfMaybe Matthews and Grim worked together on it. I think Grim was a go-to guy for a lot of artists. He seems to have been willing to “ghost” poses for other guys. I’ve got Grim ruffs from several Culhane scenes at Warner Bros and even Rudy Zamora’s Christmas card from Fleischer.See yaSteve

  12. Thad K April 10, 2007 at 12:00 am #

    That really doesn’t look like its in Grim’s natural style if it were his work. That one was definitely by Mattews for “Greatest Man in Siam”. Grim’s first picture at Lantz was “Abou Ben Boogie”, where the girl has a different outfit.TK

  13. Thai News May 8, 2007 at 2:49 pm #

    Really nice cartoon.Awesome !

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