This film is part of Free

Experimental Animation 1933

Long before MTV, Len Lye crafted this antecedent of the music video with a cheeky monkey singing and dancing to Cuban hit 'Peanut Vendor'

Animation & Artists Moving Image 1933 2 mins


If you’ve ever forgotten to buy a bag of peanuts before you sleep, perhaps it’s because you missed out on this catchy little short. New Zealand-born artistic dynamo Len Lye arrived in London in the late 1920s, and simultaneously wowed and perplexed a select film audience with his avant-garde short Tusalava (1929). In 1935 his Post Office-sponsored direct animation short A Colour Box was released to far more attention and acclaim.

This experiment in form and function was made in between his better-known films, and was sadly left incomplete. The ambition was for it to be the first of a series of musical shorts but it lacked financial backing, and was perhaps too far ahead of its time. The success of A Colour Box led to a slew of relentlessly creative sponsored and advertising shorts before Lye left for America, where he continued to explore a range of creative arts, including kinetic sculpture.