Friday, 16 December 2011

70. Buddy's Showboat (1933)

Warner cartoon no. 69.
Release date: December 12, 1933.
Series: Looney Tunes.
Director: Earl Duval.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Jack Carr (Buddy) (?).
Animation: Jack King and James Pabian.
Musical Score: Bernard Brown.

The short begins with Buddy's show boat sailing through the river, and Buddy is playing around with some whistles. The atmosphere is rather jolly, the sound effects sounds like some ice cream van driving and attracting kids. As Buddy is blowing the whistle, the whistle doesn't make anymore sounds, and appears to be blocked, so Buddy grabs out a hanker-chief and blows the whistle's nose. After that, Buddy continues to happily play music through the whistle.

The next shot shows these group of black stokers and fireman dumping coal into the steam engine, and it is stereotyped here. The designs here are stereotyped, and this was censored from television but there is an uncensored version - I do not own it. They are singing a different musical number called Swanee Smiles while dumping coal into the engine. Notice how the engine has teeth? We then see these two men that are sleeping and holding out a fishing rod, and there are these two dachshunds walking on a rudder with sausages attached to the rod - alright, that was rather random, what's the joke?

Cookie is inside cutting off potato skins off potatoes, and is happy at the job. The tough guy (who we have seen in Buddy's Beer Garden) is using his knife to chip his toenails, and spits then into the river with a fish spitting water at the tough guy - that showed him. So, the tough guy is now a continuous character in the Buddy series? He has been used again. We then see some interesting animation of the tugboats that have faces on them - did this inspire anything on Little Toot ;-).

The show boat docks at a pier, with an inanimate sleepy anchor coming to life and dives into the water, with the anchor sleeping underwater. Meanwhile, there is a parade that is going on in town. We see a parade of soldiers, we see these type of jokers that are doing some type of aerobics with the snare drum and one of whom is reading some type of comic called "Fooly". Even a lady wearing a dress and his playing the saxophone, her dress falls down and it's revealed that she is riding a tricycle, with her girdle showing, and an entertaining gag. Then, we see a donkey and a rider with a huge drum, and ending with a parade of walking birds.

After the parade, Buddy is at a ticket liner selling tickets for people to enter his show boat for a popular show that features his girlfriend, "Mlle. Cookie, Capt. Buddy's Show Boat Star". Cookie is in her dressing room putting on some perfume, and blows a kiss to Buddy on a poster. The next room we pan through is the tough guy in the dressing room that blows a kiss to Cookie on the poster, which means he has a plan already. Buddy goes to the phone on the ship, and rings Cookie in her dressing room. Buddy picks up the phone with "Hello, sweetheart" and kisses the phone box, in which it signals through to Cookie's phone with kisses on her lips, Cookie does the same. That is a nice gag that works well.

The tough guy is standing behind Buddy, and as Buddy is finished with the phone call and walks out happily - the brute has his chance to try and impress Buddy. As his kiss has signaled to Cookie, Cookie signals back with a fist coming out of the phone and punches the brute in the face. Now that is just a classic gag - and that makes me think that Earl Duval had potential as a director.

After that incident on the phone, the show finally begins as there is a swirl that goes right to the camera, and to the umbrella shot of Cookie and Buddy. I really like that early swirl that was created, and something really unexpected of the Schlesinger shorts back then - and that's why I feel Earl Duval did show promise of great cartoons (even if it wasn't yet to be achieved). Anyhow, both Buddy and Cookie perform a duet dance sequence to themselves, where they are singing Under my Umbrella. Huh, Rihanna - did you get influence at all by this ;-) - only joking. We then see these can-can dancers in the background that look like ghosts - and alright, the animation of them isn't very good, and very discolored. Wait a minute? Singing and dancing; Buddy and Cookie? Looks like Bob Clampett was right about Buddy being a "Bosko in white face".

The next act in which Buddy introduces is some type of tribe that does an impression of Maurice Chevalier, and I can't make out the words that he is singing but it appears to be that he must be reciting some song or poem. The animation of the Chevalier animation is done pretty accurately, but I doubt it is McKimson as he probably hadn't returned from his brief stint at Harman-Ising. We then see the shot of a kangaroo playing the piano, with a baby joey under it's patch playing some piano, too. I don't know where the kangaroo part came from. The beginning shots of Buddy introducing the black tribe was censored.

Cookie is standing behind the curtains looking at what is going on, and she is dancing softly to the music. The brute is standing behind her, and uses a crook to capture Cookie, and oh boy - we are back at the "brute chases girlfriend" routine again, and don't worry - you'll be expecting it. Buddy enters the scenery on his boat and shouts "Stop! Unhand her!", but his response is a fist being smacked into his face, and his whole body ends up spinning onto the steering wheel. But Buddy flies, and hits the tough guy's stomach in which he lands onto something electrical that burns his bottom and yells in pain.

 The next trip that Buddy uses is a wooden lifeboat, and crashes it on to the tough guy, in which he crashes open a cage where a seal lived. The seal then chases it after it, and grabs it by doing tricks on the brute by using it's nose. The seal tosses the brute down a hole, in which Buddy uses a hook to grab the brute, and place it on the rudder where he is in pain. Buddy and Cookie are happy again, with the seal bowing to the audience - and that's all folks.

Well, this cartoon was a point for me that Earl Duval was showing real promise and potential that he could become a great director, and the first pictures may have not been excellent, but when you watch it you can tell he showed promise. There were some fun gags here, and the animation wasn't half bad, but he did of course needed to work on the characters more, as they had no character personalities. Larry Tremblay had the uncensored print in his YouTube account, and used them for the review and screen grabs, and thanks to him for posting the uncensored print.


  1. Most of these are on Youtube, but where can we get the Blu-Ray or DVD? I can't find Buddy's Show Boat anywhere online for example. I have most of 1933 but can't find Buddy's Day Out, & Buddy's Beer Garden for example.

    1. Why not try Dailymotion? That's what I always try.

  2. "BUDDY'S DAY OUT" and "BUDDY'S BEER GARDEN" are featured as part of LOONEY TUNES GOLDEN COLLECTION, VOL. 6, on a fantastic third disk of early LOONEY TUNES and MERRIE MELODIES, without censorship. That, I'm afraid, is the only place where you will find some of the BUDDY titles as the series in the GOLDEN COLLECTION ended before it could dig deeper into the vaults, but Jerry Beck and others did a magnificent job in telling the history of the studio and discussing the good that can be found in some of the cartoons made before the more easily recognizable characters came to be. The missing piece to your copy of this cartoon has Buddy announcing the caricature reciting in a thick French accent "I Think I Will Marry the Girl", and Buddy announces him as Chief Saucer Lips, obviously an uncomfortable stereotype and that is why television prints excise that little section. The inanimate objects gags still are surreal and interesting enough to carry this and other titles, though, and I can only hope for the day when we can get to see all of these complete in some way, because Warner Brothers cartoons carry a lot of lampooned history of life and showbiz within them, if you only know where to look.