Saturday, 19 November 2011

59. I Like Mountain Music (1933)

Warner cartoon no. 58.
Release date: June 10, 1933.
Series: Merrie Melodies.
Directed by: Rudolf Ising.
Producers: Hugh Harman, Rudolf Ising and Leon Schlesinger.
Cast unknown.
Animation: Isadore "Friz" Freleng and Larry Martin.
Musical Score: Frank Marsales.

The short begins inside a newsagent shop at night, and it is already closed. It strikes five o'clock (closed already?), and then we zoom in for a close-up of the magazine sections. We see a magazine with the title, Western Thriller and we see bullets being shot from the magazine, and the horse at the illustration cover is even shot into pieces. A cowboy comes out of the magazine with his two pistols, and he turns over a page. We see a shot of his cowboy friends that are sleeping, and he wakes up his cowboy friends to play the title song, I Like Mountain Music - in which they do so.

They grab out some instruments (barn instruments) and they play the music, with the main cowboy dancing. The main cowboy is more of ice-skating on top of a fish tank, but as soon as he spins in a circle, it forms into a hole and lands in a display of perfume, in which the pistols get infected with the scent. One of the band players who is playing the accordion then rides it like riding a horse (not much related to horse - but the gag works in its ways). After it is finished, all the other figures from different magazines cheer for the music.

The three cowboys then begin to reprise the song, by singing it. While the singing is going on, we see a shot of Ignacy Paderewski playing the piano who is also singing his verse. According to Toonzone, Pederewski was a Polish pianist. We then get a shot of two different magazine covers which include a violinist with a long beard playing the violin and Eddie Cantor comes out declaring "Look Jimmy - it's Rubinoff!" by pulling it's beard. The gag is that Rubinoff used to be a violinist in one of Eddie Cantor's programs on radio.

Then we see a shot of Will Rogers strolling along looking at different magazine covers, and reads one dated "October 1929" which was the start of the Great Depression - and out of the cashier he places a "No Sale" tag on it - which is part of the joke. Rogers was a cowboy, comedian and humourist back in that era, but died in 1935. Rogers then states, "All I know is what I read in papers", which is meant to be a one-liner and the babies from a baby magazine Bigger and Better Babies all clap.

There is then a shot that features a figure skater leaps out of the Dance Magazine cover and does a skating sequence in a mirror with some stunning animation. One of the cowboys standing above the skater is shaking salt to make it look like there is snow in the scenery. We see the same babies clapping, and even Asian tribes (?) contributing to some music. As the skater has finished her parts of skating, the toys from Toy Magazine all cheer this time (the animation is reused from Red-Headed Baby). Yep, Harman-Ising definately seemed to have returned to reusing.

We then see a magazine with a section reading National Geographic and on the right we see a view of Hawaii, and there is a hula girl dancing - and you will definitely realize that this bit of animation was reused from Pagan Moon. Even the Red-Headed Baby toys are dancing to the music, with the Hula girl doing the dancing. Yes, it's come to a part where the middle of the short is recycled animation - even including the men playing the guitar was reused from Pagan Moon.

We then see a magazine titled, Travel Magazine in which there is a yokel from the mountain who is leaping and jumping through cliff to cliff. Then there is a woman stepping out of a magazine cover titled College Rumor and they are singing the title song, as the yodeler joins in as well. Then we see a magazine cover with a caricature of Ed Wynn, but the parody name is "Ed Vinn" - more cheering from various magazine figures continue.

In the Crime Stories magazine, we see a thug stepping out ever so silently, and asks for this other mugs to step out of the magazine, and they are much bigger and tougher looking the other thug. Then, a Detective Thriller magazine with characters stepping out, with one holding a magnifying glass investigating, and the other? --- Watson. The timing of the thugs walking is very fluid.

One of the thugs "shushes" the mugs as he is plotting something. He places a "lighter fluid" inside a spray bottle, lights a match and uses it as a torch to open the cash register to steal money. The detectives are on the way investigating still, and the thugs are taking coins out to steal them.

In a Movie Magazine cover, Edward G. Robinson steps out with his line, "They can dish it out, but they can't take it", and then fires pistols at the thugs. The mugs are running away from Edward G. Robinson's firing, but one of whom fires back but misses. In Radio Magazine there is a call from the gramophone to capture the gang in which figures from the magazines all start the chase. There is an Italian police from a magazine going after the criminals with Mussolini demanding to attack them. It's rather strange to me on how Mussolini is ordering to attack the thug, and yet he was on Hitler's side during World War II.

All of the characters start to use weapons to try and get them out of the way. Like using gumballs as cannonballs to aim at them, but also they use a pencil sharpener to shoot pins at the mug, and in fact one of them gets hit by the pins aiming directly at the thug. The thug then hides inside a Screen Play magazine, with a cover of celebrity; Jean Harlow. The mug then runs out screaming as he was hiding with a steaming gorilla called Ping Pong, and it is an obvious spoof name for King Kong which was released in 1933 on March 2, so it would've been popular enough to be parodied in this short.

Ping Pong then chases the mug, rather grizzily and determined to eat him. The thug hides inside a glass trying to protect himself, but the gorilla pulls down a tap that is labelled "Razz Berry", in which a tongue comes out and raspberries at the mug. All of the crowd cheer again - and that's all folks.
This cartoon was very fine to me, it was a great way to show different genres and culture through magazines, as it had everyone's appeal. The story was well structured and good choice of what to use. Although, to me it is very similar to Three's a Crowd except it doesn't evolve in book characters, as much as (Have You Got Any Castles or Book Revue does). The gags were reused (particularly the middle of the short which lasted a while). It was a great choice for me to use Toonzone which helps me find sources to what is going on, and who the celebrities are that I don't even know. Of course, I'll be finishing Bosko up, and it will be hard for me to review the rest of the shorts.

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