A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from January 20, 2010
“Hell-bent for election”

Entry in progress—B.P.

The Free Dictionary
hell-bent or hell·bent (hlbnt)
adj.
Impetuously or recklessly determined to do or achieve something: was hell-bent on winning.

Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary
Main Entry: hell–bent
Pronunciation: \-ˌbent\
Function: adjective
Date: 1835
: stubbornly and often recklessly determined or intent “hell–bent on winning”
hell–bent adverb

Wikipedia: Hell-Bent for Election
Hell-Bent For Election was a 1944 two-reel (thirteen minute) animated cartoon short subject. The short was one of the first major films from United Productions of America (then known as “United Film Productions"), which would go on to become the most influential animation studio of the 1950s. As UPA did not have a full staff or a studio location until the late-1940s, this film was made in animator Zack Schwartz’s apartment with the help of moonlighters from various local Hollywood animation studios. Among the moonlighters was Chuck Jones, who directed the film.

The film is an allegorical campaign film, designed to inspire viewers to vote for Franklin D. Roosevelt. Democratic Party candidate, Roosevelt, is depicted as a streamlined bullet train, and his Republican opponent Thomas E. Dewey is depicted as an old creaky steam engine harboring misfortune, taxes, and, representing African-American rights, a caboose named “Jim Crow.” The conflict in the film centers on Sam, a railroad switch operator who represents the American voting public. Sam must decide whether to listen to the influence of an elfin Dewey supporter who tries to make him fall asleep at the switch, or fight his influence and make sure that the FDR “Surplus Special” stays on the track. At one point, the elfin character metamorphisizes into Adolf Hitler, while trying to force Sam to neglect his duties.

Hell-Bent for Election is a far more literal film than later UPA entries such as Gerald McBoing Boing and the Mr. Magoo shorts. Nevertheless, its strong symbolism, non-literal design styles, and unusual camera angles made the short stand out among its peers.

The film was sponsored by United Auto Workers, and features a song, “We’re Going to Win the War”, written by Earl Robinson and E.Y. Harburg, famous for writing the music for The Wizard of Oz. Hell-Bent for Election was UPA’s first major success, and paved the way for its later achievements, including nine nominations and three wins Academy Awards for Animated Short Film.

(Oxford English Dictionary)
hell-bent, adj. and adv.
N. Amer. colloq.hell-bent for leather (also election, breakfast): at breakneck speed; rapidly; recklessly; (also occas.) fast; reckless; zealous, determined.
1899 S. CRANE Twelve O’Clock in Pall Mall Mag. Dec. 462 One puncher racin’ his cow-pony hell-bent-fer-election down Main Street.
1967 Daily Rev. (Hayward, Calif.) 12 July 10/1 Thoroughbred race horses running hell-bent for election.
2001 Standard (St. Catharines, Ont.) (Nexis) 20 Apr. A3 The government is ‘hell bent for election’ on its plan to privatize the electricity market.

Google Books
I.D.B, or, The adventures of Solomon Davis on the diamond fields and elsewhere
By W. T. Eady
London: Chapman & Hall
1887
Pg. 133:
Here they come, hell-bent for election!” cried Heath.

OCLC WorldCat record
Hell bent for election.
Author: James P Warburg
Publisher: Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc., 1935.
Edition/Format: Book : English

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Wednesday, January 20, 2010 • Permalink