Film: 4493

Animation | 1920 | Silent | B/W


A charming cartoon about Alice, Julius the cat, and various animals competing in a balloon race 1920's

Titles. A poster advertises a $10,000 big balloon race. Various anthropomorphised animals - cows, dogs etc - play in a small band, their musical notes drifitng in the air; in the background, others are entering the balloon race enclosure. Inside, four balloons wait to take off - the signal, a cannon, is fired, severing the guy ropes; two balloons find it difficult to take off; the crowd cheers. The leading balloon carries a bear who gets angry with the dog who is second, the latter's balloon bumping the bear's due to the wind; the bear gets so annoyed he punctures the dog's balloon, sending it plummeting to the ground; the bear is gleeful; then the bear is overtaken by a rugby ball shaped balloon manned by a cat, Julius; to get back in the lead, the bear folds his balloon up and walks in front where he reinflates the balloon and throws Julius' to the ground. It crashes; Julius tries to get it airborne again by running with it, but fails and is crushed by it. Inspecting the balloon, out pops a real girl from the basket, Alice - she argues with Julius. Nearby sits a hippo expertly smoking a pipe and trying to hit the spitoon. Alice and Julius are delighted to see him, and Julius has an idea. He invites the hippo over and wheels him on a trolley. Seen as through a telescope, Julius produces a can. Closer reveals it to contain red hot pepper. Julius pours some down the hippo's nose. The hippo sneezes so violently that the balloon is blown into the air, but Julius is left behind. Up in the balloon, Alice (now animated) throws a rope ladder down for Julius. He runs after and catches it. He climbs it. But the top unravels from the basket. Julius continues up the ladder and beyond, unaware he's in mid-air till it's too late, then falls. He splatters on the ground then runs after the balloon, throwing up a rope. Which catchs the basket. Julius hauls himself up. Ignoring the lightning all around him. With Julius and Alice in the basket, the balloon is surrounded and hit by lightning so that at times the basket is separated from the balloon; eventually the balloon is punctured and falls. Julius is saved by a parachute that appears from his tail. Alice is thrown from the crashed balloon and (now real and superimposed again) is dizzy. Julius lands on a running sausage dog; the dog halts and Julius uses their thought bubbles to lift the dog up. In the sky and storm, the dog looks unhappy, Julius scared as they get higher; Julius looks for some means to make them go forward but fails, and when the sausage dog snaps in three, Julius falls. He lands on an elephant's belly and bounces off on to a porcupine's quills; Julius has another idea - he produces an air pump and pumps the elephant full of air, attaches a hand basket to his tail . And up they go into the stormy sky, where Julius holds on to the tail of a passing bird to catch a lift; they overtake the bear's balloon but a lightning strike separates Julius from the bird, slowing him down and allowing the bear to take the lead and hit Julius, forcing him to shelter on top of his elephant-balloon; Julius gets rained on by one cloud, and is forced off and on the elephant by the lightning; then taking a fork of lightning, Julius punctures the bear's balloon, sending him crashing below, but then Julius' elephant is also punctured by lightning. Below, the bear lands on Alice [this is repeated because of a duplication in the film], then Julius lands - somewhat messy and missing the end. Credit.

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