Sunday, 23 October 2011

44. Bosko the Drawback (1932)

 Sorry folks, that I didn't post anything yesterday, I was busy yesterday by spending my entire evening watching a 3-hour performance of Les Miserables, and then at a Thai restaurant. I had no time to review, but I have some time now. Here is the Bosko the Drawback review.

Warner cartoon no. 43.
Release date: October 22, 1932.
Series: Looney Tunes.
Directed by: Hugh Harman.
Producers: Hugh Harman, Rudolf Ising and Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Johnny Murray (Bosko).
Animation: Isadore "Friz" Freleng and Bob McKimson.
Musical Score: Frank Marsales.

The short starts off with a band marching and playing in the football stadium. It appears to be one of them high school football games, that happened on Freddy the Freshman. As the band leader is marching, the tuba blows the fur off his hat which reveals a bird cage. It's a funny gag, but I wonder where the bird bit came from. But again, it's shaped like a birdcage. Everyone is entering the stadium, and there is this dog who is hole-punching tickets with his round tooth. I wonder if that gag had any influence on Disney in 1933's Father Noah's Ark. There is a nice shot of the football stadium from a helicopter view, in which the Colosseum-shaped stadium looks rather empty, but then we see blobs that get bigger and bigger with a crowded stadium.

The band continues to march down the field, and there is even a part where there are these two dogs banging their drums, and they have cymbals on one side of their leg, and they shake their booties together to make a clash on their cymbals. There is also a tall caterpillar who has four snare drums strapped up that he plays, with his six arms.   

We fade in to find Bosko being given a massage from one of the American football players. Bosko seems quite relaxed with his massage (even though it looks painful), but then the person massaging him stretches his stomach and rolls it, which doesn't seem very relaxing at all, especially when he pulls Bosko's leg to a 90 degree angle, and then back down. The person massaging him, then moves his head sideways, in which Bosko's concern, asks "Be careful now!", and person massaging him tells him to relax, but instead almost cracks his neck, which could have caused him to be paralyzed or killed.

As we fade back to the marching band, we see this ostrich who looks like the referee, who looks at the audience asking, "Are you listenin'" Since I'm not aware of 1930's American entertainment culture, I don't understand the line - unless it's a line from a celebrity. According to Toonzone, it's a parody line of Ben Bennie. There is even a dog barking and cheering, with the fleas jumping and cheering.

As soon as the whistle blows, Bosko hears the sound as he gets ready and the painful massages are over. He jumps into his American football gear. He calls for is players to come out, as they rush out for a game of football (American football to them). As the game is about to begin, the man shoots with his pistol, but an egg comes out, which hatches with a bird blowing the whistle, and the football game begins.

I'm sorry, but I'm really not used to describing this game as "football" at all. Football is more popular term of "soccer" to what Americans or other countries say. The way American football is played, we mainly call it rugby - which is similar to American football but different rules. As I've said before, I know almost nothing on American football so I could get support on the rules of the games and the positions. All I know is that it's a very serious game in high schools.

The game begins with the football being shot directly at the camera (which was reused from Freddy the Freshman). All those heavyweight players are charging rightly at the camera (point of view - of the ball). Bosko, who appears to be in the "drawback position" of the team makes a grab for the ball, but the speed of the ball is so intense, that Bosko starts flying as he lacks weight himself.

Bosko gets help from his dog friend who forms a "V" shape to block all the other players trying to land on Bosko while he's trying to score. Suddenly, all the players collide together on top of Bosko, and the ball is no longer on Bosko's hands.

There is a journalist in the "press box" section who is typing like crazy, as if he has to get the whole details on what is going on and fully focus on the game. In fact, he types so crazily that he nearly beats up his typewriter, and the typewriter punches the journalist back. There is a kangaroo in the audience that shouts "Rah, rah rah" and even an old timer in the field. The old timer spins really fast as soon as the ball hits him, he spins by holding onto his crutches - a fine gag indeed.

There are shots that involve a vulture that flies around the American flag, as if that the vulture is waiting for the next injury or carcass. As Bosko kicks the ball to the same tall caterpillar, in which he starts to make a run. The tacklers tackle each part of the body from the centipede, in which is quite a good gag, as afterwards he doesn't even look like a caterpillar.The fans in the stadium create an image in which it forms a head shouting "Rah, rah, rah, etc." and then blows a raspberry at the centipede who stunk at his performance at the stadium.

We finally return to Bosko who is running on the pitch (as it seems a while that we haven't seen him), but then a rather tough, menacing-looking player runs directly at Bosko, with Bosko calling the player the "Hunchback of Notre Dame (??)", is he meant to look like Quasimodo with the lump or something?? Bosko continues to run down the pitch, until he makes a "hat-take" when a title card pops up the screen reading The Four Horsemen in which four sets of horses run down the pitch "neighing".

Bosko starts to run away from the four horsemen and "Quasimodo (?)", in which he ends in stretching on a dachshund that bounces him away, and he lands on signs every time that read "45, 40, 35" going down by 5, which are markers that marks how many metres the pitch is. Bosko then trips on a rock that causes him to go weary and he scores the goal and gets a touchdown. Everyone cheers. The recurring gag all along was not actually a vulture but a bird that lays an "egg" on the perch with baby birds born. Bosko cheers for his touchdown - and that's all folks.

I didn't particularly like that cartoon much, because it just stole too much on Freddy the Freshman (another cartoon I disliked), the whole concept of this short was based on Freddy the Freshman as it was related to American football, but not on high school. I guess that Harman-Ising felt that they could reuse their story as it was their own cartoon anyway. Of course, the cartoons were just meant to be entertaining, and no-one was meant to make a big deal about the reusing, except me. But, I admit there was some highlight as there were some new gags added there - but I have no idea what the "Hunchback of Notre Dame" name came from, is it the lump on the player or something?


  1. More TZers who make up stuff.
    Look up Tony Wons if you want to know about "Are you listening?" He said it on his show and even used it for the title of a book.

  2. It's a college or university football game. They are huge in the United States today but in the 1930s they were basically the highest level of football around; professional football was a relatively minor sport at that time. The "Four Horseman" gag and the "Hunchback" gag refer to Notre Dame University in South Bend Indian, which at the time was probably the most famous US college football team. The Four Horsemen were Notre Dame's 1924 offensive backfield. To get a sense of this watch the 1940 movie "Knute Rockne: All American."

  3. Thanks for a history, Brent. Since I know very little with American football and it's history, it's great that you managed to help me.