It's just this little chromium switch, here... (derspatchel) wrote,
It's just this little chromium switch, here...

Rube Goldberg draws perpetual motion -- or tries to

Here we have an industrial film from 1940 in which nutty ol' Rube Goldberg himself draws a few cartoons for us and discusses silly patents and perpetual motion machines. The film turns into a lesson on the internal combustion engine around the 5:00 mark, being ultimately ulteriorly motivated by The Petroleum Industry (working for you!) in an effort to remind you that yes, they exist and that gasoline is totally awesome.

The film was made by the Jam Handy Organization which, while ponderously pompous depending on the needs of the client, really made art out of industrial filmmaking. Look how they send out Rube as a great hook, let him do his thing for a bit, and then hit you with the sell even while disguising it as a True Science Experiment. Even so, it's pretty awesome to watch Rube Goldberg actually draw. Watch him go! His sketches are absolutely brilliant.

Henry Jamison Handy, the fellow behind the film corporation, lived a darn interesting life. Not only did he win a bronze medal in the 1904 Olympics (the 440-yard backstroke, if you'll believe it) he was also given the boot from the University of Michigan after he wrote an article for the student newspaper about an unorthodox Elocution lecture. To give you a hint of the morals of the time, Handy attended a class where the professor had two students perform a marriage proposal scene, complete with proper stance for one's bended knee and everything. Handy jokingly called it "a course in lovemaking", a cartoonist picked up on that and ran with it, and ol' Jam was given a year's heave-ho for besmirching and sullying the name and good works of the professor. He never returned to school. The scandalous cartoon is tame by today's standards, but it really set the academic fingers of 1903 waggling in admonishment.

Some of Handy's handiwork appeared on Mystery Science Theater 3000, including Young Man's Fancy, Spring Fever and the immortal Hired! (don't forget to watch Hired! The Musical, too) so I feel it only right to finish with the words of one Crow T. Robot, who once intoned "Jam Handy reminds you to keep your preserves in a convenient location!" Wise advice indeed.

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