Swing You Sinners!

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Swing You Sinners!
Talkartoons series
Directed by Dave Fleischer
Produced by Max Fleischer
Voices by Billy Murray
Animation by Willard Bowsky
Ted Sears
George Cannata
Shamus Culhane
Al Eugster
William Henning
Seymour Kneitel
Grim Natwick
Studio Fleischer Studios
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date(s) September 24, 1930
Color process Black and white
Running time 8 minutes
Language English

Swing You Sinners! is a 1930 animated cartoon short, directed by the Fleischer Brothers. The cartoon is notable for its surreal, dark and sometimes even abstract content.


Bimbo is seen late at night, trying to steal a chicken. After several attempts he accidentally grabs a policeman by the hand. As he tries to walk away as if nothing happened the chicken follows him anyway, as does the policeman. Eventually the chicken and its chicks flee, while Bimbo enters a cemetery. To his fear he finds out that the place is haunted, complete with ghosts and monsters who tell him that he will be punished for his sin. Throughout the rest of the film Bimbo is threatened and chased by them until a huge skull devours him.


The cartoon was released on September 24, 1930[1] in the Talkartoons series and animated by Ted Sears and Willard Bowsky.[2] George Cannata, Shamus Culhane,[3] Al Eugster,[4][self-published source] William Henning, Seymour Kneitel and Grim Natwick also worked on it, but are uncredited in the title card.[5] The cartoon was animated by a complete new staff who'd never worked in animation before because the studio had to replace some animators who quit.[6] Animator Shamus Culhane states in his memoirs that though he created and animated what might be construed a racist caricature of "a Jew with a black beard, huge nose, and a derby," the studio's atmosphere and its mixed ethnic crew made the depiction completely acceptable to all the Jews in the studio.[7]


The soundtrack was composed by W. Franke Harling, with lyrics by Sam Coslow.


John Kricfalusi named it one of his favorite cartoons and played during a retrospective of his personal favorite animated shorts.[6] He also compared it to Walt Disney's The Skeleton Dance (which was also set on a cemetery) and felt Swing You Sinners was superior.[6][8]

In 2012 Cracked hosted an article describing "5 Old Children's Cartoons Way Darker Than Most Horror Movies" and listed Swing You Sinners at No. 1.[9]

Serbian alternative rock band Brigand named their debut album "Zaplešimo Grešnici"(literally "swing you sinners" in Serbian) after the cartoon.[10]

Video game developers Chad and Jared Moldenhauer based the atmosphere of their game Cuphead on several Fleischer cartoons, including "Swing You Sinners". Chad Moldenhauer called Fleischer Studios "the magnetic north of his art style".[11] Kill Screen described Max Fleischer's studio (run with his two brothers) as having "transportive, transformative, and massively f**ked up" short films, such as "Swing You Sinners!".[11] The in-game achievement for defeating the game's final boss is even named "Swing You Sinner". Additionally, boss Cagney Carnation's idle animation resembles the hand dance done by one of the ghosts in the cartoon.


  1. ^ Bradley, E.M. (2005). The First Hollywood Sound Shorts, 1926-1931. McFarland, Incorporated, Publishers. p. 186. ISBN 9781476606842. Retrieved January 8, 2017. 
  2. ^ "About Fleischer Studios - Fleischer Studios". fleischerstudios.com. Retrieved January 8, 2017. 
  3. ^ Lenburg, J. (2006). Who's who in Animated Cartoons: An International Guide to Film & Television's Award-winning and Legendary Animators. Applause Theatre & Cinema Books. p. 56. ISBN 9781557836717. Retrieved January 8, 2017. 
  4. ^ Ghez, D. (2012). Walt’s People –: Talking Disney with the Artists who Knew Him. 12. Xlibris US. p. 1923. ISBN 9781477147900. Retrieved January 8, 2017. 
  5. ^ "Swing You Sinners! (1930) - Talkartoons Theatrical Cartoon Series". bcdb.com. Retrieved January 8, 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c ""When Cartoons Were Cartoony:" John Kricfalusi Presents | Animation World Network". awn.com. Retrieved January 8, 2017. 
  7. ^ Culhane, Shamus (1998), Talking Animals and Other People, Da Capo Press, p. 42, ISBN 9780306808302 
  8. ^ "John K Stuff: Rubber Hose c - Fleischer VS Disney". johnkstuff.blogspot.be. Retrieved January 8, 2017. 
  9. ^ "5 Old Children's Cartoons Way Darker Than Most Horror Movies". cracked.com. Retrieved January 8, 2017. 
  10. ^ "Review of the album, Balkanrock archive". Retrieved October 10, 2013. 
  11. ^ a b Purdom, Clayton (July 14, 2014). "Where Did Cuphead Come From?". Kill Screen. Archived from the original on August 2, 2014. Retrieved August 2, 2014. 

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