St. James Infirmary by Koko the Clown (1933)

Gorgeous classic Betty Boop from 1933. Check out Koko the Clown (sung by Cab Calloway) stealing the show from 4.20 on – the beautiful way he dances! Fleischer’s animator Doc Crandall used Rotoscope (invented by Max Fleischer) to be able to transpose Calloway’s famous dance moves into animation. ‘An undisputed highlight of cartoon surrealism, matched by very few other cartoons’, says Dr. Grob’s Animation Review. Can’t stop watching Koko and his ghost version dancing.. His movements are simply gorgeous, the feet timing brilliant. Calloway’s rendition of this early jazz standard has a haunting quality of its own. Listen to his unique phrasing, the way it propels the meaning of the words. Chilled to the bone..

Folks, I’m goin’ down to St. James Infirmary
To see my baby there;
She’s stretched out on a long, white table
She’s so sweet, so cold, so fair

Let her go, let her go, God bless her
Wherever she may be
She will search this wide world over
But she’ll never find another sweet man like me

Now when I die, bury me in my straight-leg britches
Put on a box-back coat and a Stetson a-hat
Put a twenty-dollar gold piece on my watch chain
So you can let all the boys know I died standing fair

Folks, now that you have heard my story
Say, boy, hand me over another shot of that booze;
If anyone should ask you
Tell ‘em I’ve got those St. James Infirmary blues