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Harlem Shuffle

And now something completely different... or maybe not! Here's "Harlem Shuffle", the Rolling Stones music video directed by Ralph Bakshi and John Kricfalusi . Usually, we are presenting on this blog mainly the cartoons from the golden age of animation ('30s-'50s), yet this one was made in 1986. However, it perfectly evokes the spirit of classic cartoons, in particular those by Tex Avery and Bob Clampett. In fact, I don't think there were many other examples of such cartoony animation made during the early and mid '80s (or the whole '70s for that matter).

"Harlem Shuffle" consists of live-action scenes directed by Ralph Bakshi and animated scenes by John K. Live-action and animation are combined together only in few brief moments, and usually without significant interaction between real and animated characters. The scenography for the live-action scenes has very stylized and cartoony appearance, and the whole music video bursts with energy and creativity.

This music video is also significant as the first project where John K. had control and artistic freedom, and nearly all typical John K. trade-marks are already there. The other artists who worked on "Harlem Shuffle" are Jim Smith, Lynne Naylor and Bob Jaques, who will all become John's closest collaborators in the following years.

The drawing style of the animated scenes is more angular than the later Spumco stuff, and it is very similar to another successful collaboration between Bakshi and John K. "Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures" (1987/88). Also, of special interest is the fact that the main female character is obviously inspired by Clampett's So White from "Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs".

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