(Reuters) - Users are sharing a black and white cartoon about influenza and falsely claiming that it was created in the 1930s.
The video shows a black and white cartoon with text throughout.
The text overlaid throughout the two-minute clip includes: “How to take over the world this is their plan”, “Introduce a weaponized influenza”, “Flood newspapers and radio with death”, “Shut down shops and churches”, “Use law enforcement to stifle dissent”, “Parade the sick and the dead”, “Inject a ‘Vaccine’ to sterilize the workshy and euthaize the old [sic]”, “The people who own the banks now own the hospitals” and “This is their plan to own you”.
The text shown at 1:37 reads “Inject a ‘Vaccine’ to sterilize the workshy and euthaize the old [sic]”, where the word “euthanize” is spelled incorrectly.
The word “weaponize” shown in the text was first used in 1957, according to Merriam-Webster, making it unlikely that it would have been used in a cartoon created in the 1930s.
Fact checker HoaxEye identified the music used in the video as Cab Calloway’s “St. James Infirmary Blues” from 1933 Betty Boop in Snow White. It was not used in any other films during this time, as the copyright is valid for 50 years, according to HoaxEye.
A reverse image search of the keyframes in the video shows other similar black and white cartoons, but not the original. The earliest instance of the video Reuters found was uploaded to BitChute on May 31, 2021.
At the 1:40 mark in the video, the movements of the figures look very similar to a scene from a 1934 Betty Boop cartoon called Red Hot Mamma, at 3:12.
The video in the claim shows a dark figure stabbing the rear of a figure in white with a needle. The Betty Boop cartoon shows two dark figures that appear to be devils giving a figure in white horns a tail.
The devil in the Betty Boop cartoon appears to be copied over to the video in the claim with their features erased and the video flipped. The shapes of the horns, nose and tail are still visible. The way that the white figure descends and lifts up its arms is also very similar in both videos.
Fleischer Studios, the creator of the Betty Boop character and animations, told Reuters via email that the video in the claim has copied various scenes from Betty Boop animations and possibly other films.
“The cops that [are] hitting a small monkey (or something that) looks like it may have been lifted from ‘Swing You Sinners’,” the studio’s in-house animator expert said. “And of course, the title card looks very much like a Fleischer Title Card.”
The studio confirmed the devil from the Red Hot Mamma animation has been dropped into various scenes in the video.
They directed Reuters to a video on YouTube showing the similarities between the video circulating on social media and authentic cartoons from the studio.
Jerry Beck, an animation historian and producer, told Reuters via email about the video. “It s not from the 1930s,” said Beck, the editor of a website called “Cartoon Research”.
Reuters Fact Check debunked another video claiming to show a 1956 video predicting the COVID-19 pandemic.
Therefore, the video was not an authentic 1930s cartoon. The reel includes spelling mistakes and the studio that owns the Betty Boop cartoon confirmed to Reuters that clips from their animation were copied for this video.