Monday, 24 October 2011

45. A Great Big Bunch of You (1932)

Warner cartoon no. 44.
Release date: November 12, 1932.
Series: Merrie Melodies.
Directed by: Rudolf Ising.
Producers: Hugh Harman, Rudolf Ising and Leon Schlesinger (associate).
Cast unknown.
Animation: Rollin Hamilton and Thomas McKimson. 
Musical Score: Frank Marsales.

The short starts off with an old timer sleeping in his cart full of junk, and he's riding a mule. The recurring gag, is that everytime one of the wheels bumps onto a rock, the hats all fly up and land back into it's same position. If you look very closely at the cart, you can see a manneguin sleeping in it. As soon as the cart stops at the edge of the "City Dump", all the junk fall down in the junkyard, with the manneguin landing on one of the legs. Is it me or does is the character meant to resemble Charlie Chaplin in his "Tramp" pictures, as it has the mustache and all?

As a cuckoo clock lands in the junkyard, and cuckoos at the dummy,  he sees a broken organ with no piano strings on it. He spots one, and attaches it onto the piano. Before that, he strucked a few notes on the keyboards but no piano sounds except sounds like clams opening and closing their mouths. He starts to play some music and then the dummy sings the title song. I must say that the title song is quite good actually, and I imagine it created a beat for the audience after the cartoon finished. Very catchy here.

A very good gag that evolves are a pair of shoes that dance, with the tongues of the shoes sticking out like actual tongues. Of course, it's more of a visual gag as you get tongues of the shoes in which you pull to make your shoe fit, and there's tongues in which the shoes stick out like what humans and animals do.
The mannequin then starts to dance and that he moves with his stilts rolling around. He then comes up to a hatstand and does a Maurice Chevalier impression at the hat stand - I guess that he does it to a hatstand because they both similar brands. All inanimate objects come to life as they clap as they think his impression was good. Now the mannequin does an impression of Ted Lewis and playing on a clarinet with a top hat on.

I've noticed that the mannequin's stilts are kind of curvy, since it's made of fun. But if he's leaning with just straight legs, then it would just fall to the ground on a side. I suppose we need to break the rules a bit and show some realism with the walking, even though we can't be so sure on how a mannequin walks.

We then go to a next bit of entertainment, with a grandfather clock (with the beard, too) starts his part with a dance, as he dances to the oven with a duck (skeleton-like) quacks and then the oven door closes. The grandfather dances with a group of alarm clocks, as they huddle together and start a merry-go-round by one of them holding on to a pendulum, but there wasn't five pendulums in there though?

There is now a dance routine going on with three Napoleon-looking soldiers who march down the junkyard, they shoot beer bottles with bullets. The soldiers then go to a portrait painting of a man on his rowing boat in the Arctic. The soldiers shoot at the boat, in which the portrait becomes animated as it sinks. The flag is only visible above the water, but then the captain and sailors come up with the drums as peace treaty.

 The mannequin then stands on a carpet, in which it turns into a magic carpet. The magic carpet arrives with a band that starts to play music as the mannequin starts to conduct the music with other mannequins. The grandfather plays the drums with it's pendulum, while another mannequin plays drums with a barrel and cutlery as cymbals. He also plays with the shower spray as heart strings, a gag reused from Sinkin' in the Bathtub.

A group of manneguin ladies start to sing the title song chorus, which is rather upbeat and fun to listen to. The same manneguin playing the drums also hits an owl that makes beat sounds. Two pairs of hatstands then come to life by dancing, holding onto canes and dancing the exact same movements at the exact same time. One of them kicks the other handstand in the booty.

The main mannequin character who was conducting the music with his band, when grabs an old vacuum cleaner, in which he plays it as bagpipes - but there is hardly any bagpipe sounds. An inanimate motor mechanical has it's engine nearly exploding. As the tramp continues to play on the piano, the motor mechinal parts fall on top of the mannequin, in which he pops up shouting "Is everybody happy?" (a Ted Lewis impression) - and that's all folks.

I'd say that this cartoon is acceptable as a Warner Bros. cartoon. The music is very upbeat and the song is very catchy to listen to - catchy in a positive way. It's a very ironic idea to have a main character as a mannequin (even though much of the time he doesn't look like one), but at least the junkyard looks like a very exciting place for music. It's very good to see that there are at least that there are hardly any animal characters in there, as there usually is. Typical cartoon or not, this cartoon was good enough for me to enjoy.

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