Hysterical History

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Hysterical History
Isadore Sparber - Kartunes - Hysterical History (1953) - Title Card (Harvey Films print).jpg
Title card in the Harvey Films print
Directed byIsadore Sparber
Animation Director:
Al Eugster (uncredited)
Story byIrv Spector
Produced by
Narrated byJackson Beck
Music byWinston Sharples
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
January 23, 1953
CountryUnited States

Hysterical History is a 1953 American animated short film directed by Isadore Sparber, in the Kartunes series.[1]

Plot summary[edit]

The incomplete story of the history of the United States is told through several historical anecdotes, loaded with anachronisms.

The cartoon starts when Christopher Columbus discovers America, arrives at the new land, and is immediately greeted by native Americans recording a newsreel for Paramount and interviewing Columbus. The Pilgrim story of The Courtship of Miles Standish follows; when John Alden delivers Myles Standish's proposal to Priscilla Mullins, she counters why Alden didn't propose on his own behalf; Alden explains that he is more interested in Dorothy Lamour. Then the tale of John Smith and Pocahontas is told; as Smith is being burned at the stake, Pocahontas begs Chief Powhatan to spare Smith's life, but when Pocahontas is revealed to be morbidly obese, Smith panics and puts himself back onto the stake. Peter Stuyvesant is then portrayed with a peg leg that, when he is attacked by natives with bows and arrows, returns fire like a machine gun. Through the efforts of these early pioneers, the East Coast is transformed into the thirteen original states (though Rhode Island is initially squeezed out before forcing itself back into place).

Benjamin Franklin's kite experiment is depicted. The experiment initially fails, before Franklin uses the key to re-enter his house and is immediately struck by lightning. The cartoon skips forward to the California Gold Rush; upon James W. Marshall's discovery of gold, the Internal Revenue Service arrives in a helicopter to seize the nugget. Finally, Alexander Graham Bell is seen building the first telephone, but upon using it, learns his new device is a payphone when the operator asks for fifty cents.

The cartoon closes with the Statue of Liberty, who comes to life and instructs the audience to sing-along to "The Yankee Doodle Boy." Fireworks, which transform into the Paramount logo in the uncut version, close out the cartoon.




  1. ^ Lenburg, Jeff (1999). The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons. Checkmark Books. p. 97. ISBN 0-8160-3831-7. Retrieved 6 June 2020.

External links[edit]