|Title card courtesy of Dave Mackey.|
Release date: January 13, 1934.
Series: Looney Tunes.
Supervision: Isadore "Friz" Freleng.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Jack Carr (Buddy) and Bernice Hansen (Chinese girl).
Animation: Jack King and Ben Clopton.
Musical Score: Bernard Brown.
This was Friz Freleng's first directorial credit (and first time he solely directed) - but a very slow start to Friz before he became a very great director who found his style of directing much, much later on. Also, the first review of the 1934 year. I should point out that throughout this review, that the only copy on the Internet has a timer on it, and at times the screen looks extremely fuzzy - unfortunately. So, this will have to do. Even the title card looks bad, that I have to borrow it.
Buddy then stands around the corner of the street where he sees a poster, but there is also a man who is reading a Chinese poster and ends up stretching to read the writing which is done in bottom corners. Okay, I know that is a joke about Chinese writing - but for someone to watch that today would think that's racist, but who would ever have thought of that back in the time?
Buddy then goes to the show and he tries to jump up through a big crowd but he can't see the parade in the streets. Buddy looks at a different direction for a different idea, as he sees these Chinese people lined up from height, and he stands on them like going up the stairs, and then jumps into the front row of the crowd. We then see the band leader who is leading the parade of the dragon, and he shakes his belly moving upwards and downwards. Another part we see is these group of mice standing on a snare drum with two Chinese guys standing on it.
We then see the beautiful Chinese girl who is inside a cage but is bursting into tears, as she doesn't want to be sacrificed. She cries for someone in the crowd to save her, and Buddy is very willing to do so - as he is a very emotional person to a female. Huh, I looks like Jack King did that scene of Buddy saying "I'll save you!" as he was known for his hat takes. As for the entire sequence, in this copy that I watched; this sequence was very blurry and fuzzy that it blocked much of what was on the screen, but I did my best to see what was on the screen.
Buddy then takes off an entrance gate, and he uses the spears as a bow and arrow, in which the spears turn into steps where he will be able to go up the stairs - okay, good thinking crew. You've come up with a good plan on how Buddy would go up there, no matter how cartoony the gag might be.
Buddy then unlocks the padlock and the Chinese girl is now set free. They are both glad, but they are both in danger (even Buddy) as the cage of the dragon has been set free. Both of them jump from the window sill, with the girl jumping to the cart safely, and Buddy is about to jump, but instead a fire-breathing dragon fires at Buddy's ass.
The Chinese guy continues to run fast, until he finally bumps into another rock and trips. He then moves in a position like a horse, and he is stereotyped like a horse, and oh my - that is just wrong, racist joke - but was that meant to be the intention - no.
From what I've heard, that cartoon did in fact get people pissed off from several religious institutions, but I think that this cartoon was mostly politically incorrect at times, and the Chinese stereotypes weren't funny, but weak. This cartoon just did the impossible things that just don't work - it's not natural and creepy, such as that poster that translated in English, I mean - who would ever DO THAT? The Chinese girl is cutely designed, I must say - but the other characters are just bland as they would appear in this era.
Of course, you shouldn't forget that this cartoon was Friz Freleng's first cartoon where he was the director (on his own). Yes, his first cartoon (Buddy the Gob) wasn't even a good start to Freleng's career and pratically his first few years as a director weren't even good at all, and he didn't even turn in any worth watching cartoons AT ALL. But we all should know that everyone in the business had to start somewhere, Friz had to start off with just working on one-shot Merrie Melodies which proved to be failures, but he contributed to the creation of Porky Pig in I Haven't Got a Hat. Also, I think that when he returned to Warner Bros. from MGM in 1939, he was a better director by then, and continued to be for many, many years. So, we will be watching Freleng's start, and we will be getting higher and higher up those stairs - gradually.