If YouTube isn't already one of your most trusted resources for content to consume while baked, you're not living your best life.
But let's be real — you're no lightweight. Chances are you've spent your fair share of hours blazing it and letting the YouTube autoplay take you down a rabbit hole of audio-visual couch-lock splendor. Whether you like to get lost in a web of “Game of Thrones” fan theory videos, or chill out with a dank vaporwave playlist, YouTube is a sanctuary of subgenres and popular niches of trippy content to augment your next toke sesh and take the top off your stoned mind.
This 4/20, we're inviting you to join us on a strange, surreal stoner's journey down the YouTube rabbit hole of trippy old cartoons. When it comes to animation, they really don't make 'em like they used to. From Betty Boop and Donald Duck to “Looney Tunes” and indie shorts of the '80s and '90s, the art of hand-drawn animation is nearly lost to us, but its greatest gems have taken on an otherworldly quality the further in time we move away from them. YouTube is now the only home to many of animation's best, weirdest, and trippiest rides, from its visually arresting beginnings up to the present day.
So let's put our stoned goggles on and see how far down this dank rabbit hole of old cartoons goes.
Betty Boop in 'Snow-White' (1933)
Let's begin our journey with a black-and-white acid trip from Fleischer Studios, whose iconic animation style inspired the indie video game “Cuphead.” This groundbreaking, mind-bending segment starring Betty Boop, the studio's most enduring character, is a great one to play on loop when you're really stoned. It features some gorgeous early experimentation with rotoscope animation — in which animators create uncannily realistic movement by tracing over live-action film — and features Koko the Clown (of “Out of the Inkwell” fame) performing a fire version of the jazz standard “St. James Infirmary Blues.”
'Thru the Mirror' (1936)
Do you like doing dabs and watching iconic cartoon characters crossing ethereal plains into other dimensions? Well, here's Mickey Mouse in “Thru the Mirror” — an “Alice through the Looking Glass”-inspired short that holds up as one of Disney's dankest and most charming classic cartoons. Today we typically think of Disney content as clean -and cute and bordering on sterile. As we'll see with the other Disney entries further down our rabbit hole, the opposite is typically true of Walt Disney's early, groundbreaking works.
'Pantry Panic' (1941)
We'll circle back to the weird, forgotten wonderful world of Disney later. In the meantime, let's take things up a notch with Woody Woodpecker, a cartoon character whose brand has fallen into relative obscurity. The early Woody Woodpecker shorts are a sativa-like fusion of Disney's vivid colors and plush animation style with the “meaner” frenetic spirit of “Looney Tunes.” For most viewers, the style will look familiar, but the vivid, anarchic details will be new — creating a delightfully uncanny visual sensation that should be experienced high.
'The Plastics Inventor' (1944)
We come back around to Disney with Donald Duck, the most memed of Disney's classic-characters roster. Now would be a good time to re-up on whatever you're smoking and watch Donald build a plastic plane that melts in the sky while your senses melt through your eyeballs.
'Bumble Boogie' (1948)
Let's keep with the theme of Disney animals floundering through frenetic dreamscapes for a while longer with “Bumble Boogie,” a “Fantasia”-esque musical short scored with a killer jazz rendition of “Flight of the Bumblebee.” Think of it as something you might imagine while smoking a bowl and listening to jazz in your apartment, watching a bee trapped in your window at sunset.
'Boléro' in 'Allegro Non Troppo' (1976)
You may be wondering, “How can you possibly make a list like this, mention “Fantasia,” the greatest animated high-watch ever, and not actually include something from “Fantasia?” Well here's the thing: You should still get lit and watch “Fantasia,” especially if you haven't already. But in the spirit of 4/20, we're cranking things up to 11 with a clip from “Allegro Non Troppo,” an Italian “Fantasia” parody film of sorts that dares to ask, “What if 'Fantasia' were way trippier and oddly political?” The film's dankest animation segment is “Boléro,” a twisted version of the ”Fantasia” creation/dinosaur portion. It's probably the most fun you'll have on YouTube this 4/20. In fact, if you find yourself in couch-lock mode at 4:20 p.m. this April 20, you might want to do a fat dab and watch this thing.
We've reached the bottom of the rabbit hole with “Jumping,” a serene, hypnotic Japanese short that's essentially one long point-of-view shot of a boy jumping down a suburban street, then over his neighborhood, then across oceans and continents. It's a strangely satisfying ride with a cyclical conclusion that'll put you back on your feet just in time for your next 420 activity, whatever that may be.