Introduction by Irena Kovarova
This relentless and hilarious musical send-up of the American Western written by Brdecka is one of the most popular works in Czech film history. Lemonade Joe follows a soft drink–swigging gunfighter as he tries to steer the sinful residents of Arizona’s Stetson City away from alcohol and toward the health benefits offered in Kolaloka (a parody of Coca-Cola). The satire was adapted from versions of the character created by Brdecka across various media, including print, radio, and the theater. The visual gags are reminiscent both of the 1920s American silent slapstick and the colorful era of the swinging ’60s, including its inspired music and songs (the full title in Czech calls it a Horse Opera). Based on the same source, Jiri Trnka made the short puppet film Song of the Prairie (1949), showing in his retrospective with the feature Bayaya.