Why Play Leap Frog?

Why Play Leap Frog?

Why Play Leap Frog? (1949) is a short animated industrial film emphasizing labor’s stake in a strong relationship with management, and that increased productivity and innovation are mutually beneficial. Sutherland, formerly an assistant director for Disney, continues the style and sensibility of the studio. The idealized and homogeneous environment of the film—reflective of the racial and gender politics of the time—provide a stark contrast to the contemporary realities that I document in this film. In Sutherland’s film, a worker paints faces on dolls assembled on a conveyor belt. After discovering that he can hardly afford the doll on his wages, he approaches the manager with an ingenious idea of a forked brush that enables the painting of four dolls at once. With no additional effort, the film implies, this worker’s wages increase and the cost of the doll decreases. I am particularly interested in the gender dynamics within the animation. The all-male workforce of the animation produce a female doll, which is then sold by a female clerk, presumably as a toy for girls. In a similar vein, the washing machine is produced for domestic chores, traditionally the work of women. In addition, this innovation is presented as an unequivocal gain for all—strikingly at odds with the apparent exploitation and alienation facing the subjects in my film, now rendered “obsolete” in the profit imperative. This version, which is to be shown as a 16mm film also titled Why Play Leap Frog

One Response to “Why Play Leap Frog?”

  • theiowaplainsman:

    Hey April, this is Gene Fuller or Cowboy to most..just watched the cartoon and your production both very good.I had no idea how many memories would come back to me that cold morning we filmed this.So many friends we would not see again ,and the pranks and jokes we played on each other ,It was one big family.I remember that last day of work I’ll never forget.I shook hands with my co -works and as everyone started to leave i went and sat in the old paint dept. restroom stall and cried .Thanks

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