Saturday, 3 December 2011

65. Were in the Money (1933)

The last Merry Melody cartoon by Harman-Ising...

Warner cartoon no. 64.
Release date: August 26, 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 cartoon begins inside a department store, and it is already closed for the night. The night watchman walks up the stairs, and stops. He spits at a spittoon in which it is a bit further away from where he is. He then walks on, and turns off the light switches. After switching the lights off, he then places a lock pad on the doorknob, and pulls down the curtain reading "CLOSED". The night watchman walks away, and then all of the toys comes to life watching him, as soon as the coast is clear.

After a toy soldier watches the watchman leaves, he shouts "Whoopee!", and then rushes along in the shelve full of toys. He jumps onto a block of building bricks (all ascended), and he reaches at the top of a violin - he asks his peers "Come on, fellas". The soldier then slides down the violin string, and lands on a toy accordion, and then lands on a drum.
All of the other toys start to follow, and then there is this strange toy that jumps on the squeaker of a toy dog, and he follows so by bouncing on the squeaker. All these group of dolls start to move their way to a piano, and they hold hands. A soldier (on the floor) runs to the nearest violin he sees (beside the piano where the dolls are sitting). More soldiers start to join (including another one to hold onto the bow), and then a clown jumps up a piano seat where he will play the saxophone. The toy soldier then starts to conduct the music, in which all the toys are playing music, and the soldier starts off by playing the rhythm to the title song Were in the Money - which was a famous song at its time in the hit 1933 musical Golddiggers of 1933. We see some bizarre gags of toys playing the instrument, like these different dolls helping to play the accordion.

The singing finally begins (after a variety of bizarre of instrument playing), and the doll starts off singing the song. She even sings in a lower tone, by placing her mouth inside a tuba which comes out with a very low bass voice. The song is very good to listen to (and I'm meaning it as a fact, but just in the story), but anyway all these inanimate objects are coming to life, such as shoes with laces loosed and using it as a "skip-rope" game for the socks to jump.

A very entertaining gag/pun comes up when the soldier is standing on top of the counter of a cash register, and he jumps onto one of the counters, and these coins are singing a verse We Are the Money  - of course, the gag is that they ARE money, and it explains it all. All these inanimate clothing such as gloves, socks, etc. start clapping after the song - and to be honest; so far watching this cartoon it's extremely weird in my opinion.

The doll (who was clapping) then walks and does her bit of entertainment business, such as she sees some rings hooked, and beeds and she pulls them off. She grabs out a large don hat, and walks on doing an impression of Mae West. Is it me or is it that Mae West is caricatured in these cartoons because of her huge breasts - she did compliment Disney in 1935 for a great and (I guess suitable) caricature of her in Who Killed Cock Robin? The Mae West doll then walks up to a male's head dummy and proposes "Why don't you come up some time?" which is a quote that West used to say. All of those inanimate figures were entertained by the impression and they all applaud, even though the impression isn't very good.

More entertainment is coming on such as this "ball type figure" is playing Were in the Money on the xylophone and is very good at it. There are even toys that are spinning around each holding onto a straps from a girdle and they swing.

The music is very jolly, that even a mannequin from upstairs is dancing to it. Oh, wait a minute! It's the mannequin from A Great Big Bunch of You - so it seems that Merrie Melodies did show one-shot characters more than once, then. The mannequin is then dancing and even pats a female mannequin's behind. The mannequin then moves his stilts as they are sliding down the banister of the stairs. After sliding down the stairs, the mannequin lands and bounces off an armchair, and then the mannequin takes over the stage dancing.

The audiences then clap at the mannequin's entertaining dance he does, and he has more. Yes, the mannequin stays on this picture until the very end, and all we see him do is just dancing - and all that lot. He then steps by a three-panel window, and is singing Were in the Money and his reflections copy his movements (even if it involves moving their legs out of the mirror and tapping the spittoon with their stilts).

More dancing is going on, and there are these inanimate long johns that are moving and dancing, and they reach these boxes of hats, and they play it like the drums with their rear flaps. More dancing from the mannequin then comes back, and he even does these swirls, and the animation movement of that is just wonderful to look at. You can see these very early "speed lines" shown, and then very early stages of smears, but not even quite. The Dover Boys (Jones - 1942) was recorded as the earliest cartoon at Warner Bros. to use smears.

The mannequin then moves along to a piano where he is playing the title song. His seat moves him along to different pianos, and then he bonks three dummy heads like some type of drums. The mannequin also hits the dummy heads of Laurel and Hardy, where they do "boop-boop-da-boop-boop" sounds. The mannequin continues to spin, as he grabs hold of a trumpet and plays some music - with dummy heads singing the verse of the title song. The mannequin continues to play the trumpet, until it crashes into a cupboard full of boxes, that collapses on him. He pops out playing the final note - and that's all folks.
The music in this cartoon was very good, and especially the song - Were in the Money. Frank Marsales' score was fun to listen to, but I thought the synopsis and the story was very boring. It was the same old routine that Harman-Ising kept on using, and that was the singing and dancing stuff. Although, mind you; it's not their fault because overall (with the Harman-Ising Merrie Melodies completed), they were sub-contractors and they had to make cartoons that involves singing songs - it was the early stages of music videos, you can say. Although, in the Bosko cartoons, they didn't have to do much singing in those cartoons - but one verse of singing was probably forced to be used, but there have been some cartoons with Bosko that didn't have any singing, right? Well - with that cartoon completed, I have only one cartoon left by Harman-Ising to review, and it's bye-bye Boskos - hello Buddy :/.

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