Tuesday, 20 December 2011

74. Honeymoon Hotel (1934)

Warner cartoon no. 73.
Release date: February 17, 1934.
Series: Merrie Melodies.
Supervision: Earl Duval.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Cast unknown.
Animation: Jack King and Frank Tipper.
Musical Score: Bernard Brown.

I'm going to be reviewing the first Merrie Melodies cartoon in colour (Cinecolor), this cartoon and Beauty and the Beast are produced in Cinecolor, then we are get to black-and-white until the Merrie Melodies series is stuck to colour permanently late in 1934.

The cartoon begins with these bugs that are on wooden scaffolds, and they are singing a town about Bugtown (what is it their anthem or something) and one of the bugs has a paintbrush and paints the lyrics to the audience, so that we can probably sing to the unfamiliar song?! The song is basically telling us to come over to Bugtown? Bugtown, how can I go to bug town - I might stampede all those bugs with my bare feet. Come to think of it, it might be fun.

The whole citizens of Bugtown are all dancing and prancing gayly as though it's such a happy town (must have been Duval's influence on the Disney cartoons). There is a busy taffic going on in Bugtown too. What we do see is that Bugtown seems to be an overall busy place where bugs actually use their time up (in a good way), with meetings, lunch bars, steam trains, etc.

The park seems to be a very popular place in Bugtown (especially for lovers) and there's no annoying little brats to shout out "lovebirds" in the middle of the park (like I get all the time!) We then a specific lovebug couple that are strolling around the park and the male finds peas in a pod, and tosses the peas out to form a canal. The male is so gentleman like, that he does the oaring so his fiancee can have such a great time relaxing. Why couldn't be all be like him (and as for girlfriends/wives/fianancies why not be as releaxed and happy as the lady bug - and never contstantly nags ;-) Only joking, folks. They both snuggle up with each other, and kiss each other on the lips.

 After the canal scene comes the wedding day, both Mr. and Mrs. Bug (shall we call them Bug-smith since Smith is a popular surname?) are now officially married. They both step into their car, with a banner on their car reading "Just married".  Well, there is some nice sentiment going on here with the love couple - I hope nothing will happen with a completely random story JUST LIKE in Pettin' in the Park.

The honeymooners then park their cat at a very fancy hotel named "Honeymoon Hotel". Mr. and Mrs. Bugsmith (Okay, I'm not going to go into that habit no more) enter the hotel, but the car whistles to them. The car seems to make a gesture as if they are a sweet couple - or a congratulatory note on being married. The couple walk in together romantically with a caterpillar who is the bellboy of the hotel walks in carrying the luggage, saying "I think I can carry all this luggage, because I work at Honeymoon Hotel. I see all the kissy and the huggage, Many other names as well." We then see the receptionist, who has a book with names that read "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" three times. Wait a sec, I said "Mr. and Mrs. Bugsmith", and then it says "Mr. and Mrs. Smith"? OH MY GOD, I jinxed it - how spooky is that?? I'm not making this up, but watching it through I completely forgot about that damn register book.

Meanwhile, up in the elevator they are still romantic with each other and they reach their floor with the caterpillar still holding their luggage. They arrive at their room - with the male bug tossing a coin to the caterpillar as though his part of the job is complete. 

Meanwhile there is a rather creepy looking hotel manager who seems to enjoy peeping through people's hotel rooms - (and yes, I've heard a story about that recently, a hotel manager drilled a hole in two 16 year old's rooms, with one of the boy's poster damaged). He spits on the floor as if what he will do is dirty, but very nosy. He peeps through the keyhole, but there is a fisher hook that comes up from the top window above the door, and moves the doorknob to the very top. He continues doing so at other people's doors, but instead the guests all take their revenge on him by using the doors to push him, with even one of the doorknobs that punches him like a fist, and both doorknobs turn into hands to shake them. 

Mr. and Mrs. Smith (still think Bugsmith would make more sense) are both sitting on the couch, the male bug tries to get his wife to snuggle up but is too shy to do so. Just as they were about to get settled, they are interrupted with the sounds of knocking - that gives them a sign to not go any further. Instead, there are these steward bugs and stewardesses that walk in with two glasses of wine, some ice and tea. The stewardesses walk in with pillows, sheets, etc. and they are singing the title song Honeymoon Hotel. The couple then want some privacy time together, and they go to song:

Husband Bug: "This is quite disturbing, why don't you say goodnight,"
Wife Bug: "If you only leave us, I'm sure we'll be alright.

The stewards and stewardesses then wish them goodnight while singing (Don't worry, they were used to use some singing in their shorts). The close the door, but it turns out that the stewards are in fact still looking through the door such as holes drilled, keyholes, the window above, and a telescope. As they are about to snuggle up again, a moon then looks at them acting nosy. So the husband bug then pulls down the blinds, but comes back up again with the moon still looking. The moon then goes to song, but sings that he can see then from hear, but the bug turns off the light, so that the moon won't see them. The moon suddenly turns red, for some particular reason.

As the bugs are kissing, but no reason even explained, the temperature suddenly rises where it gets to the point of fire.Although I must say I like the effects for the fire drill, and the temperature rising but why wasn't it even explained. Mike Barrier was extremely right in his book Hollywood Cartoons that the cartoons lacked coherence. So there is now a fire alarm in which the fire brigade have to arrive. Such as a caterpillar being the fire engine, and a comb as the ladder. They arrive at the burning hotel and they manage to rescue a couple of guests as they jump out of their windows and land on the parachute. 

Meanwhile back inside the hotel, the love-bugs (Mr. and Mrs. Bugsmith) are still inside their room that is burning with flames, and they are completely surrounded with flames and smoke. They then hide in their door bed, in which it closes on them. The fire effects is similar to what the Disney effects guys would do, but I must say that the smoke effects are just atrocious, it's just typical drawn smoke with nothing realistic, but I guess that's called the early 1930's animation to you. The firemen are still doing their best to put the fire out, but for some particular reason there is an explosion in which the hotel is mostly damaged. Okay, but there IS NO EXPLANATION as to why the hotel suddenly exploded. I mean if I go out and try to burn a fire, I'll find out and see if it suddenly explodes - nope nothing happened.Any

Anyway, the fire is out, but there is still such awful damage to the building. The male bug then places a "do not disturb" sign on the door and slams it. He then gets back to bed, but instead the bed moves back into the door (meaning that they will get laid), and the calendar with a February page of a baby winks at us meaning "You know what's going to happen?" What, was this cartoon made for adults and not for kids??? and that's all folks.

Well, of course this was the first color Merrie Melodies, but I feel that Earl Duval has declined slightly in his past three cartoons that he directed, but I wonder if this cartoon was actually made after Earl Duval's alcoholic rant with Leon Schlesinger or did Earl Duval finish production early with someone else like Friz Freleng taking over, because this cartoon really resembles to Freleng's cartoons that he made at THAT time. Unless, Earl Duval started off using that bland style for Merrie Melodies (although this doesn't remind me of Earl Duval at all), but maybe Friz Freleng reworked it with Earl Duval still getting screen credit. This is sort of an adult-themed carton, in which Earl Duval was known to do, so there is elements there that relate to his direction. The animation fire effects were pretty lousy, but I guess I can't blame them. The voices annoyed me rapidly, but back then there were annoying voices back then, but Bernice Hansen's voice back them and even carrying on through the 1930's annoys me even more (but I don't think she works on that short)!


  1. A couple of points of clarification. The "ather creepy looking hotel manager who seems to enjoy peeping through people's hotel rooms" isn't the hotel manager, her's the House Detective. House detectives are usually portrayed in films as snoops who were out to find people who were occupying rooms for illicit purposes (like prostitution, or just general adultery). The second point is that people who were out to commit adultery tended to sign in to hotels as "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" when they actually weren't married - or at least not to each other. Hotels tended to frown on that sort of activity as it would give their establishment a bad reputation.

  2. From what I've learnt now, the "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" gag has not been explained to me properly with a raised eyebrow, or that I've not seen enough.

  3. Further clarification on the Mr. and Mrs. Smith registry: the title and idea for this cartoon originates from the musical number "Honeymoon Hotel" from 1933's WB musical Footlight Parade, which is the tune used throughout. The song's lyrics say that the Honeymoon Hotel's registry is always signed by "Mr and Mrs Smith" -- newlyweds (or maybe not) wanting to remain anonymous as they check in. The cartoon is therefore just following the original lyrics to the song.

    BTW - I love this blog! I'm going through all the cartoons I can and love reading these entries after each one! I know it is 4 years old, but I thought I would comment anyway.

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