Wednesday, 9 November 2011

54. Bosko the Speed King (1933)

Warner cartoon no. 53.
Release date: March 11, 1933.
Series: Looney Tunes.
Directed by: Hugh Harman.
Producers: Hugh Harman, Rudolf Ising and Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Johnny Murray (Bosko).
Animation: Isadore "Friz" Freleng and Paul Smith.
Musical Score: Frank Marsales.

The short starts off with Honey reading a newspaper with a picture of Bosko, with the headline BIG AUTO-RACE TODAY and turns to the audience asking "Is he the greatest?", and then she turns another page to another racer who is Bosko's racing rival, with the headline THE CHAMPION IS FAVORED TO WIN. Honey looks at the paper disgusted and turns to the audience disgusted, "Pooh-pooh," she says.

We then see Bosko with his racing car as Honey is watching by sitting on a backyard fence, and Bosko is putting some oil in the wheels to get ready for the race. Bosko is in full focus of the race, and let's hope he wins that time, unlike last time when he was boxing in Battling Bosko he was at a great defeat.

We then see other racers (animals) that are working on their race cars, such as a dog pumping up the wheels, a pig sowing a patch on a tire. We then see the crook (who is favourite to win), and he is sorting out his exhaust pipes. Bosko is busily sweeping his car, so that it looks fancy and not tatty. Notice how that his car number is 13 - which could be a sign of bad luck. Honey comes in the scene and comments on the car "Oh Bosko, that looks swell!" Suddenly the crook enters the scene standing at the end of his fence.

If you ask me, that character who is Bosko's rival looks an awful like Peg Leg Pete - a famous Disney character who is rivals of Mickey and Donald Duck. The only part that doesn't look like Pete is the hat to disguise and avoid copyright, with no Billy Bletcher voice to support it, but avoid it. The rival then lights a match on Bosko's front part of his racing car that leaves a horrible mark that is physically impossible to remove, and would cost money to be redone. Because of what happened, this makes Bosko even more determined to beat the "meanie" - he'll fight fire with fire!

Honey then steps onto a stage where there is a piano there to help "tune" up his engine. As she hits a key, Bosko turns on an engine that plays the exact same key. Bosko then uses his engine to play music like Honey does. Bosko then hears a noise from the microphone that announces that the race will begin any minute, Honey asks him to hurry. Bosko then gets his engine ready that starts to play Yankee Doodle Dandy really well.

Bosko is on his car, and arrives at the starting line in which his crowd cheer for Bosko with more cars arriving. The man with the timer then starts his call: "On your marks - get set - (stutters) scram!" He waves the flag and the race begins. The flag man seems to have a stutter problem, but he didn't last very long - one character with a stutter problem would later be very popular (Porky Pig).

Some of the cars at the start of the race seem to progress slowly, and even a dog in some type of bicycle isn't doing much effort. We then see some good car animation going on with the cars driving past, and some shots of the wheels going fast. We then get a PAN shot of a very long car, with other racers driving it. As the exhaust pipe explodes with a puff ring of smoke, a car jumps through the loop of dust. Even the ornament on the car is blackened from the smoke coming out of the exhaust pipes. The ornament opens the lid in which there is water, so he dives in and gets back up into a normal colored ornament.

As there are more cars driving, we then see Bosko who is directly in the middle and there is no way to drive through those cars blocking his space. Bosko's rival is driving in front of Bosko and is in the lead, he keeps on checking back and forth to see if anyone had tried to overtake him. Until he notices Bosko (off-screen) catching up. The rival plans on cheating by getting a small box of tacks and chucking them behind him in the middle of the tracks, so that Bosko's wheels will get tight. In fact, a lot of other cars get reactions from the tacks when driving in the middle of the tracks.

Bosko notices something strange about his back tire, and he halts his car to fix the wheel (Oh no, he might not win the race!), and there is a cat sitting on a fence minding it's own business. Bosko then grabs hold of a cat on the fence to help jack his car so Bosko can fix his tire by replacing it with a new inflatible part of the tire. After Bosko is done, he pats the cat for helping him, but as soon as another car ZOOMS past, Bosko realizes that he ought to hurry and he drives like crazy as he steps back onto his racing car to continue the race.

Bosko then starts to overtake cars that had tire problems, but had it half-fixed. Bosko then starts to drive like crazy as he's even competing with his rival who is in the lead. I love the speed of the cars that the animators used. The rival discovers that Bosko is catching up and likely to be overtaking him. The rival gets his way, by pulling his exhaust pipe in which black smoke goes on Bosko, covering his goggles black. Bosko then turns on the windscreen in which he can see better.

Bosko then tries to overtake his rival by turning different sides, but his rival already knows his maneuvers . As there is no other possible way to overtake, the car does the job himself by coming to life and biting the rear end of the car that causes the rival's car to jump and yelp, as Bosko's car sneakily creeps through and is in the lead. This is a situation in which cartoons can break the rules, and it was used as an emergency. I like that.

 Bosko is finally in the lead, and it is clear that he has already won the race with the crowd cheering. Honey runs in the middle of the tracks with a crown to award Bosko as the "speed king". Bosko accepts his award, and they both kiss on the lips. Since they are doing it in public, Bosko then pulls the engine in which black smoke covers them as they kiss in private - and that's all folks.

This was one of the shorts in which Bosko takes part in a race, and this time he was won it and his number 13 car was proved wrong. Overall, I didn't mind this cartoon at all - and there were some decent gags, and not a harmful cartoon at all. I've noticed how there seems to be little reuses so far in Harman-Ising cartoons in 1933. I would imagine that Leon Schlesinger gave Harman-Ising a much bigger budget for the 1932-1933 season, and probably that's why there is hardly reuses lately, although I can't get my hopes up.

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