Last Updated: 7/22/19


Weird Cartoons 2001 at Fleisher

(in 2019)

Friday, August 16, 2019
8:00 pm
Admission: $9.00

Fleisher Art Memorial
719 Catharine Street, Philadelphia
215-922-3456 ext. 300

Some of the most popular Secret Cinema screenings in our 27+ year history have been the ones devoted to animation, and some of our most popular animation programs were the ones we called Weird Cartoons, highlighting unusual and bizarre animation.

We've now shown four unique "volumes" of this weird program, beginning eighteen years ago. On Friday, August 16, we'll return to that first program when we present Weird Cartoons 2001 at the Fleisher Art Memorial. While a few of the individual cartoons have popped up in other Secret Cinema programs, many have not been shown since 2001.

Most, but not all of what we'll include in Weird Cartoons 2001 was made for general audiences by major studios; some were made exclusively for the military and some were sponsored films with subtle advertising messages. Some (but not all) could be perceived as offensive by today's standards. What these films, which were made from the 1920s through the 1950s, all share is a fearless aesthetic that is unafraid of the absurd; an often shocking sense of humor that is the polar opposite of today's sanitized, cross-marketed Pixar sensations.

Some of the themes covered include menstruation, Nazis, and the lubrication of electronic equipment.

There will be one complete program, starting at 8:00 pm. Admission is $9.00.

The screening will be shown in the beautiful Sanctuary of the Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia's Bella Vista neighborhood (just South of Center City). Free parking is available in the Fleisher's parking lot, just across the street.

A few highlights will include:

The Story of Menstruation (1946, Dir: Jack Kinney) - Walt Disney Studios used the full power of their animation expertise when making this sponsored school film on behalf of Kimberly Clark (maker of Kotex sanitary napkins). Besides standard biological lessons, the film advises girls to control their emotions during that stressful time of the month.

Private SNAFU cartoons (1943) - The Private SNAFU cartoons were clever instructional films produced by the animation department at Warner Brothers, to teach World War II soldiers lessons about keeping secrets and practicing good hygiene, among other things. Since they were shown to an all male, grown-up audience and were not available to the general public, Warners animators such as Chuck Jones and Friz Freleng could get away with more risqué humor than usually allowed. Contributing to the writing was Ted Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss. The SNAFU cartoons would be among the most funny and clever work done for all involved.

Russian Rhapsody (1944, Dir: Robert Clampett) - During World War II, Hollywood studios produced films that promoted empathy with our new ally the Soviet Union, such as Mission to Moscow and Song of Russia. Animated shorts were no different, as seen in this surreal, hilarious cartoon that depicts Hitler himself piloting a plane to bomb the Russian capital, yet constantly being thwarted by mysterious "gremlins from the Kremlin." When the war ended attitudes changed drastically, and the creators of the afore-mentioned features were questioned by Congress as to their loyalty (and often blacklisted). Fortunately that was not the fate of director Clampett, who'd ultimately have even greater success with television's Beany and Cecil.

Buried Treasure (1920s, Dir: ?) - A hilarious pornographic cartoon from the silent movie era that never fails to bring down the house. Animation buffs have debated for years over who made it. It's been attributed to the studios of Fleischer, Bray, Walter Lantz and the creators of Mutt and Jeff cartoons.

Plus Simon the Monk, Lubrication of Electronic Equipment, and much more!


  • Thursday, September 12, 2019 @ The Rotunda: TBA
  • Tuesday, October 10, 2019 @ The Rotunda: TBA
  • Tuesday, October 15, 2019 @ Woodmere Art Museum: The Man Who Could Work Miracles
  • Tuesday, November 5, 2019 @ Bryn Mawr Film Institute: Andy Warhol and Friends: '60/'70s Art Documentaries

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    Channel 29 news piece on Secret Cinema from 1999!

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    Secret Cinema 1999 Annual Report

    Secret Cinema 1998 Annual Report

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    Information about the 1998 Secret Cinema "Class Trip" to the Syracuse Cinefest

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