Sunday, 27 November 2011

63. The Dish Ran Away with the Spoon (1933)

Warner cartoon no. 62.
Release date: August 8, 1933.
Series: Merrie Melodies.
Director: Rudolf Ising.
Producers: Hugh Harman, Rudolf Ising and Leon Schlesinger.
Cast unknown.
Animation: Rollin Hamilton and Bob McKimson.
Musical Score: Frank Marsales.

The cartoon begins on a rainy night, inside an old shop that reads, Ye Olde Bank Shoppe and the title song The Dish Ran Away with the Spoon is being sung by various voices. Inside the shop, we see some pots and teapots inside that are moving and dancing. We see a group of dishes that inside the sink and washing themselves (without the humans using a cloth or their hands to scrub them), instead they like to dip inside the water. The dishes and spoons are also drawn with hands and legs. We see a shot of a fork that is covered with soap (the sharp points are the legs), and the fork uses a spray of water to rinse the soap off. Creative gag.

More washing gags are seen when there are dishes coming out of soapy water, and the spoon uses a grinder to spray the water on the dish to clean it all up. The dish then jumps inside a toaster, and then the toaster warms up the plate. The dish jumps out of the toaster and jumps onto the stack of plates, where it is completely dry and spotless. There are some great ideas going on, with inanimate objects such as plates and cutlery coming to life, and washing themselves. There are even more great ideas with the plates being dry, by even using a sandwich toaster, with help from a spatula. We then see another type of cutlery, that is in the bowl using a spoon as an oar to row in the sink. He then sees a mixer, and places it in the water, where the bowl moves like a speedboat.

We then see some type of duster who is caricatured with wavy hair (is it meant to be Leopold Stokowski who had wavy hair, but I'm really unsure). Anyway, it plays a type of piano by using spoons inside a cutlery case. There is a small song that is being sung by a salt and pepper shaker (with face figures), and then the duster does an impression. This is very much a dated reference, but I'm still unsure on who that is. Anyway, during the song there are dishes that are dancing around, with plates using macaroni as skip rope.

As the music is going, we get a singing duo from a spoon and a dish - they are both wooing each other by singing the Shuffle Off to Buffalo song. Another shot shows a baby spoon crying on a high-chair. The spoon then goes off to a kettle that is steaming, and he plays music with it - like making the kettle whistle. I wonder if Bob McKimson did the dancing scenes, but I don't think McKimson animating the spoon playing the drums would be him. There is then a line of cups that are dancing, and the teapots goes to the end, where they all bump into each other by shaking their hips. All the dishes then clash together, with the teapot in front and they demonstrate on how a steam train would move.

The spoon has finished playing percussion on the pots, and this time goes over to the srawberry jam jars, and he uses his drumsticks at the top part of the jar, in which it plays Native American drum music. We see a duster, who is doing an impression of a Native American Indian, and is walking through the fire place doing a type of war dance, and the war call that Indians do. The next scene we see is some strange Swiss cheese that yodels, the next part we see a bottle of bluing that is singing "Am I Blue?" - and the potato that is near a stack of onions sings a verse but cries because of the onion scent.

More dancing is seen, when there is an egg inside an egg box, and even has a smiley face on it. The egg dances, and skates through grease, but reaches the edge of the shelf. The egg falls, cracks and a baby bird is born. The bird then starts to sing Young and Healthy.

Suddenly, there is a whole tub of dough that comes to life, and it is very rubbery and very loose. I would imagine that Rollin Hamilton had some involvement with the dough forming to life - maybe Bob McKimson. Since Rollin was the Harman-Ising of Norm Ferguson (a Disney animator who drew Pluto), and Rollin probably had involvement. The dough then sees a packet of yeast, the dough then squeezes it into a glass, and stirs it well in which it starts to fizz. The dough then slowly starts to react from the yeast, and it gets slightly bigger, and even more meaner. The dough is the villain of this short.

The dough then approaches the singing dish, and the other cutlery that were dancing then run away with fear. The dish them screams and the dough captures her. The dish cries for help, and all the other cutlery volunteer to do so. A spoon uses a spatula and the fork launches cans for the can to shoot at the dough. The dough is then attacked by cans, and starts to run away. By the way, I must say that some of the animation of the dough running away from the cans is pretty shoddy stuff, and with volume changing. The dough then turns back into normal blobby dough, and its a wall, but forms back into an evil dough-monster again. There are then cheese graters charging at the dough's crotch, and the grind his crotch that causes the dough to scream.

A duster and a spatula are using popcorn as weapons, they place it inside a boiling pot and place the lid on top. The duster then uses the handle as a gun weapon to shoot popcorn at the dough, and it does work itself. There are spoons charging at the dough with their rolling pin, in which they make it extremely flat, but the dough is STILL moving. 

The flat dough continues to daze and walk, but then ends up caught inside the fan that is moving, several blobs of dough all end up in a cake bake tray, and then parts of the dough end up inside the holes of the baking tray. The rest of the dough then fill up pans, where they form pastry, and even inside a waffle iron, in which all of the plates, spoons and other kitchen equipment cheer on the nasty villain gone, and it turns out the spoon was the hero of the day - and that's all folks.

The cartoon had some great ideas, particularly early on where we saw some creative gags used for the cutlery, like when they wash themselves, or even a toaster to warm and dry up the plates. Parts of the animation was pretty good to look at (Bob McKimson himself), but at times the animation was a little bit sloppy, pretty much the part where the dough is running away after cans are being thrown at him. The singing sequence was pretty lame and boring to me, so I had nothing really much to say about it.

Just to let you know that three more reviews, and I will have completed the entire Harman-Ising era of the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies, I figure that I will reach the Buddy cartoons and the Leon Schlesinger as producer regime, in say - two weeks.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

62. Bosko's Mechanical Man (1933)

Warner cartoon no. 61.
Release date: July 29, 1933.
Series: Looney Tunes.
Directed by: Hugh Harman.
Producers: Hugh Harman, Rudolf Ising and Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Johnny Murray (Bosko).
Animation: Isadore "Friz" Freleng and Thomas McKimson.
Musical Score: Frank Marsales.

The release date (July 29) is my birth day - but this was released 63 years before I was even born!!!

The carton begins with Honey who has a sponge on her hand, and she is scrubbing a large window with soap. While she is scrubbing, she is wearing a see-through skirt, and that we can see her pants. Due to her embarrassment, Honey pulls her skirt down so that we (the audience) cannot see her pants. Mmm, it seems that Honey is the main character where we sometimes see sexual innuendos - but that's just me I guess. After Honey has put a lot of soap on her window, we see Bosko in silhouette and he writes on Honey's window with his finger I love you. Hang on, Honey has cleaned the window outside, and yet Bosko can still write a message on her wall? How's that possible?

Honey notices the message by Bosko, and is disgusted with the message for some reason. She wipes the message off the window. As she is scrubbing the soap off her wall, she spots Bosko who comes up from the bottom outside of her window, and tries to pull on a sophisticated look. She is surprised to see him and she runs outside to meet him. Bosko follows on, and so does Bruno. Bosko stands outside her doorstep with a bunch of posies for Honey. Honey opens the front door, and greets Bosko, "Oh Bosko, you've fullfilled my wishes, you're just in time to do the dishes." It obviously was not Bosko had in mind, as he expected a romantic moment - but instead, he's been dragged in to help out do chores for Honey. Is it me, or does Honey seem to be acting like an ass so far?

Bosko drops his flowers with surprise and questions, "Who me? dishes?" and hopelessly laughs, and showing some sexist attitude as if women should do the washing. Bosko, continues laughing that he won't wash dishes. Until the very next scene, Bosko is found washing the dishes. Ha, I really like that set up there - with Bosko laughing about him washing the dishes, and the next shot he is already washing them. I think that is one of Harman-Ising's greatest timing there. Bosko is washing the dishes, while Honey is doing the scrubbing. Bosko has a miserable look on his face - as he is washing the dishes.

He gets out two stacks of plates that are separate, and he shuffles them - like shuffling a deck of cards. He does the same for the other dishes, and places them on top of the deck of dishes, in which it is very tall and wobbly to carry. Honey warns Bosko to be careful, but Bosko is skipping while holding a big stack of dishes. As Bosko was about to walk down the stairs (totally ignorant of what he was doing), Honey does a complete 'take' of the broken dishes. Honey steps out at her porch to find Bosko all weary from the broken dishes that fell on his head. Honey taps her foot, in which Bosko turns around putting on an innocent look, and then Bosko's body fades into a lamb that acts innocent.

Bosko immediately notices the Daily Bulge newspaper standing outside Honey's front lawn, and Bosko reads the front headline that reads ROBOTS WILL DO WORK OF HUNDRED MEN SAY TECHNOCRATS which is a headline that talks about a "mechanical man" (robot) that will do all the work, so that the men don't have to help out their girlfriends or wives. Bosko thought that it was a great idea, so he goes into his shed and he builds a mechanical man. He uses different items inside the garage, like a stove for the body. Honey notices Bosko in the garage, and demands that he comes back and helps her out with the dish washing.

 Bosko ignores Honey's words, and he finishes off the development of the robot - and adds two light-bulbs as eyes; the finishing touch. Bosko then runs to find an engine and places it inside the robot's back. He steers it, and then the robot comes to like. Bosko's plan and development now works - he is free! The mechanical man pops and moves slightly with the engine going "ka-boom" ever so slightly. Bosko then pulls the button that reads "Free Wheeling", he pushes the lever firmly and lets go, with the robot coming to life. Bosko's plan on the robot - didn't go quite as well as he thought, since the robot is a killing machine who tries to kill Bosko. The robot almost crushes Bosko by walking door to door, and each door squashes Bosko.

The robot then chases after Honey, and Honey comes to the end of the room, and she spots some of her perfume. She grabs the perfume and sprays it on the robot. The scent immediately changes the robot's personality, from a tough killing-machine to a soft robot. Bosko then rushes to the piano to try and stop the mechanical robot from trying to cause any danger. So, the robot then skips merrily to the music, and throws toilet paper around the scene. That scene was originally animated on Sinkin in the Bathtub but instead of a bathtub, it's a robot. It's pretty much the same movements, but different drawings.

The robot suddenly turns back into a horrible killing robot, and grinds it's teeth. The robot is about to destroy Bosko, but Honey then places a gramophone inside the robot's back, in which the robot dances and sings to Mary Had a Little Lamb. This little bit of animation is entertaining, and it saves Bosko and Honey for a short time. Suddenly, the records starts skipping, and it changes the robot from dancing into a killing machine again.

Bosko and Honey rush out of the house, and the robot runs out as well. In the front porch, there is Bruno sleeping by the step, but the robot pulls out a telephone wire where it is electrifying - the robot places its hand on the sparkly wire and then zaps Bruno's bottom with the robot's eyes.  In which Bruno screams and yelps in pain. Poor Bruno, how could the robot he so cruel to animals - what a sadist! Bosko and Honey continue to run away from the robot, and poor Bruno is panting as he runs. The robot points with his finger, as a radio is shown and is announced, "You're now in the hands of the dear old Maestro" - Ben Bernie reference.

 Bosko and Honey are still running away, and they run so far that they end up in the park. Bruno is still panting and runs very slow, but does catch up with them as they hide in the garage. The robot is charging at them - Bosko, Bruno and Honey are still in danger, but Bosko has one last weapon left. He throws a TNT bomb inside the robot's mouth, that lands into his stomach. Then, BOOM the robot is all blown up into pieces and we can see his joints inside the mechanical machine - and that's all folks.

Well, this cartoon was in fact a delight to watch. There was a great story in there, that shows Bosko's plan to build a mechanical man to do his chores for him, but instead his plans go all wrong in which the robot turns into a killing machine. The robot certainly does look pretty frightening to me. I've seem to notice that Honey at the beginning of the film, was just a rather bitter, sweet nothing. She forces Bosko to help do the chores, wipes off the "I love you" mark off. Gee, it's a bit like Minnie Mouse's personality in The Little Whirlwind except Minnie was even worse.

Friday, 25 November 2011

61. Shuffle Off to Buffalo (1933)

Warner cartoon no. 60.
Release date: July 8, 1933.
Series: Merrie Melodies.
Directed by: Rudolf Ising, Friz Freleng.
Producers: Hugh Harman, Rudolf Ising and Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Johnny Murray (Old Man, Little Boy) and The Rhymettes (Singing Babies).
Animation: Isadore "Friz" Freleng and Paul Smith.
Musical Score: Frank Marsales.

"Shuffle Off to Buffalo" was a famous song in the film 42nd Street and another song featured in there was Young and Healthy which was released earlier. Some shots of this cartoon remind me of what was reused later - in Baby Bottleneck.

 The short starts off with a group of storks that are carrying a bundle of babies with them. They are also squawking, (stop squawking or otherwise the bundles will fall off). We then see a factory where there are storks flying out of windows to deliver babies (screenshot above - any Baby Bottleneck inspiration?). There is then a shot of a stork carrying a baby, and the baby cries directly at the screen.

The next shot we see is an old timer (manager), who is sitting on his desk writing in some accounts, and we has a very busy hotline of telephones on his desk that bring very constantly. Often, he brings "Hello", and we hear a gibberish voice going on that leaves the manager's reply "Okay". The next reply show the manager taking the next call and he says "Yeah", (gibberish voice), then "Yes sir" with his reply "What a man!". This is already similar to the Baby Bottleneck scene of Daffy Duck on the telephone who is very busy - but it is much more loose, wild and also better.

The manager then reads a letter which is next on his "to-do" list (in his mind). There is a letter from Mr. and Mrs. Nanook of the North from the North Pole (obviously a reference to the 1922 documentary film Nanook of the North). So, the manager then walks to the refrigerator where he finds two twins in there (Hah, they're being sent to the North Pole - cold blooded). The stork then enters to deliver the twins with one of the babies being placed on the "upper left", and the other baby on the "lower left".

The manager then goes to his next writing and he sees a piece of paper that appears to be written in some Hebrew writing. The manager then places the letter on the basket that sends him on a wire to the "Stock Room", and then the basket returns with a Hebrew baby in the basket. They seem to both speak Yiddish, and the manager stamps the baby's bottom that has Hebrew writing on it.

 The old man places the child on the table and both of them sing the title song Shuffle Off to Buffalo and the Hebrew boy suddenly speaks English, and he sings the title song as well. All the other babies that are in the cribs sing the main chorus to the song, "Off he's going to shuffle - Shuffle of to Buffalo." We then even see a baby who does an impression of Maurice Chevalier (you can tell with the lower lip that sticks out), the Maurice baby then sings "Although you're just a cute what-is-it - you're sure to fill their house with joy!" After the song is finished, then all the babies cheer with excitement.

The song itself, is a very good song, but yet again - much of the songs written in 42nd Street is very good, too. Devon Baxter has told me that the song that the Jewish boy and  Father Time speaking Yiddish and other, and the underscore for that sequence is called, Koshn Kale Mazel Tov. English = Congratulations Bride and Groom.

We then see a shot that is full of elves and there is a room with an assembly line to wash up babies and get them prepared for delivery. We see a baby who is inside a "rolling towel" in which an elf rolls the tower by using the machine to turn the baby around which makes it dry, and rinses the baby. Another elf seems to powder the baby that causes it to cry. Then an elf puts some paper towel over the baby and is used as diapers. One of the other elves who staples the baby's diapers taogether - then hears a baby cry. He grabs the crying baby and places it on a mechanical tub where the baby is washed. Okay, that is rather wrong just to place a baby in water where it can't be supervised or can't even breathe. Also, the baby had hair from the shot before, but in this shot the baby is bald (as Jerry did point out).

Then another assembly line shows a baby being fed milk in which it is being fed from a long tube where the baby sucks milk. After that the baby is then placed on the crib where there is another elf with a board and writes down results of the baby in a pad, and does that to every other baby. The assembly line sequence is indeed similar to Baby Bottleneck but again - not as exciting, funny, or wild as the version Clampett did thirteen years later, but also - no POWERHOUSE!

According to Jerry Beck, Friz Freleng animated that scene of the baby being sprayed by talcum powder, and Tom McKimson did the elf that staples the baby's diaper, and that cries. The milk feeding shot is by Norm Blackburn.

The cribs are being left into a room where all the other babies are being kept. Suddenly all of the babies in their cribs start crying out loud that annoys one of the elves. The elf then tries to calm down the baby by shouting "Pipe down, pipe down!" and then all of the babies stop crying. Then the elf says "Well, what do you want? What do you want?" The babies then chant, "We want Cantor, we want Cantor!" and it's referring to Eddie Cantor, who was a very popular entertainer and singer back in the 1920's and up to the 1940's - also wrote the famous Merrily We Roll Along which later became the theme to Merrie Melodies. Also, Friz Freleng animates that shot of the babies chanting for "We want Cantor".

 An elf comes out of a curtain, and is revealed as Eddie Cantor and he is singing the title tune (Shuffle Off to Buffalo). I really like this reprise version which is sung by babies and Eddie Cantor - himself, even though it doesn't sound much like Cantor. The Rhymettes do a great job with the singing, but I don't know much about them at all - and of course, I couldn't forget Eddie, who has a good voice. Eddie sings, "Now if you don't like my singing, I can impersonate Ed Wynn", and Ed Wynn does so by doing a great impression of Ed Wynn and even sounds like him voicing the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland. One of the Chinese babies, sings that it is a good impersonation, and sings to him to watch the Gold Dust Twins. He then see a couple of black-stereotyped twins that are black and they so a dance. The Eddie Cantor shot and the reprise scene is Tom McKimson, the timing of the animation is very good.

The elf then pulls the curtain open and we see Eddie Cantor a group of elves playing music and Cantor is playing the piano to Shuffle Off to Buffalo. A group of babies are even dancing to the music, and messing around in the room. Larry Martin did the scene of Cantor playing with his band, and Freleng animated the baby playing with the bed slats, and the kid banging on the bed pan. All of the babies then crowd onto Eddie Cantor who is seated, and smiles in which the curtains close- and that's all folks.

I'd say that this cartoon was very fun to watch - there was great music, and it was just great entertainment. It looks great to watch when it was released on the Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 6 DVD set. The musical score by Frank Marsales was great, but the song from 42nd Street was even better. It's also great that Jerry Beck provided some great commentary in the short, and identifying some of the animator's scenes there. Overall, a great cartoon - one of the best early Merrie Melodies cartoons.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

60. Beau Bosko (1933)

Warner cartoon no. 59.
Release date: July 1, 1933.
Series: Looney Tunes.
Director: Hugh Harman, Friz Freleng.
Producers: Hugh Harman, Friz Freleng and Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Johnny Murray (Bosko).
Animation: Rollin Hamilton and Norm Blackburn.
Musical Score: Frank Marsales.

 The cartoon starts off with a foreign legion outpost in the middle of the desert, and the sun rises slowly as it is morning. One of the guards standing at the top of the outpost starts his wake up call by playing the "Revielle" tune.There are still animals in their barracks that are still sleeping and breathing in very heavily. There is a three-bunker bed in which they all breathe in that causes the mattresses to move up and down due to the stomach breathing. A funny gag is shown of a tough guy still snoring in bed, and he has a tattoo of a yacht on his chest. As he breathes in the wind blowing on the mainsail.

Then a bugler enters the dormitory shouting "Hey", as everyone is still sleeping in their beds. All of the troops in their beds sing altogether a verse of Good Morning to You, and then there is a Jimmy Durante type troop singing a verse "we're glad to see you". Then the commander is standing in the middle of uniforms in the center of the room. All of the troops crash in grabbing a set of uniform leaving the commander rather weary and inside a large hole on the floor.

Bosko, however, is still sleeping in his comfortable bed and is the last of the troops that is still sleeping. His uniform has to do the job by waking up and being animate. A reprise of the reveille is being played the second time, and the uniform continues to shake Bosko in his bed. As Bosko is still snoring, the uniform grabs out a trombone that was lying on a hook, and Bosko plays "Reveille" while still snoring, and wakes up as the verse was finished and rushes outside. We now know that Bosko's personality shows that he is a heavy sleeper.

Outside is an assembly of troops standing, and the uniform runs to where the troops are. Bosko runs as well, still in his pajamas and jumps inside the uniform so that he is all organized for the day. Bosko then opens up a troop's back pack where there is a small bath in there and he quickly rinses his face - but he's forgotten to brush his teeth. Then, the general walks through the headquarters and he has so many medals in his uniform. The general calls for Bosko and he arrives, and realizes that he's not wearing the appropriate uniform.

The general is assigning Bosko on a mission and shows him a wanted poster on who he wants to be captured. Bosko opens the scroll and finds a picture of an ugly face and his name is Ali Oop and he is tagged as The Desert Scourge, and orders Bosko to go and find the "scourge".

Bosko begins his search for Ali Oop, and he rides in his camel that he fetches from a stable. Bosko them goes riding on the camel and it is a rather "lumpy" ride for him. There are gags of Bosko riding the camel, as the camel jumps over a wall - while Bosko is only holding onto the reins. The camel then runs to the nearest lake to be seen and slurps the entire pond, with a fish suffering for water and complains to the camel. The camel spits out a bit of water for a fish so it can live - well, that's generosity for you.

Inside this desert market town we see that it is a very busy day there. There is a local snake charmer who is playing on oboe as the snake starts to dance, and then breaks the fourth wall by doing one of Jimmy Durante's "Ha-cha-cha-cha!" There is a homeless tramp lying down on a pavement who is snoring, and his front toes are twiddling each other, and there is a swarn of flies that are flying and nearly go into his mouth. But, as the tramp is snoring he breathes out that blows the flies away. There are a lot of snoring gags featured in this short already. There is also a fat, pompous man riding a camel and his body changes shapes as the camel rides.

Bosko continues to ride in his camel, and his attention is caught on a woman wearing a harem outfit, and that is Honey. Of course, the harem outfit is see-through and therefore it would be very inappropriate as Honey is nude - but hey, that's called the Pre-Code of 1934. Both of them kiss each other on the lips as they get warm feelings for each other. Suddenly, Ali Oop and his gang start to chase after Honey and Bosko and they both flee from Ali Oop's gang.

Ali Oop grabs out daggers that were on his jacket and he tries to aim them at Bosko and Honey - but misses. The daggers hit the walls, so both of them climb them up like going up the stairs - and they go through a window. Now, that is good thinking. Bosko then looks out of the window to see if they have gone, but they obviously haven't since a bullet has tried to aim Bosko's face but gets his hat instead.

As there are shooting going on, one of the soldiers is carrying a sniper, and as he shoots a bullet - there is a lump going through the gun and then fires. As he keeps on firing, the bullet then gets caught inside the gun, and he uses his hands to sqeeze it out and the bullet comes out. Bosko discovers a machine gun that he has, and fires outside, but misses the soldier but ends up shooting a pot that hits his head, and he tips his head, in which a row of pots start colliding with the biggest pot hitting a different shooter on the head. More gags are shown with the guns and including one with bullets going through pots of water, and the soldier grabs a figure with an umbrella to block the soldier from being soaked.

Ali Oop is then holding onto a palm tree where he is still firing, but Bosko aims at a coconut that hits Ali Oop on the head, and he lands on a donkey cart. Bosko then grabs out some spears and throws them at the cart that forms a cage where Ali is held hostage. Both Bosko and Honey jump onto the camel that leads the cart of a trapped Ali Oop - and that's all folks.

Overall, I did enjoy this cartoon and luckily that this wasn't even a reused cartoon in terms of reused animation. There were some fun gags that involved gun-shooting. I've also noticed that the animation looks much more realistic than before when it was all rubbery. The human figures is what I'm referring to in which it does look realistic. The name "Ali Oop" is a spoof of the word "alley oop" that people use when they are ready for something. Although I don't think that Honey's harem outfit was even censored and actually you can tell she's naked, but at least you can't notice anything.

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.

Friday, 18 November 2011

58. Bosko the Sheepherder (1933)

Warner cartoon no. 57.
Release date: June 3, 1933.
Series: Looney Tunes.
Directed by: Hugh Harman.
Producers: Hugh Harman, Rudolf Ising and Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Johnny Murray (Bosko).
Animation: Rollin Hamilton and Carmen "Max" Maxwell.
Musical Score: Frank Marsales.

The quality of pictures I found on Bosko the Sheepherder are in such poor quality, so sorry if it's really bad. I do wish that someday every single of those Warner cartoons will be fully restored and remastered.

The short starts off with Bosko playing some music with his flute, and there are some sheep frolicking around him. Bosko even then grabs a goat's tail and swings it in which his bell strapped around it's neck makes a bell sound. As Bosko continues to play through some beautiful smoothing music, a sheep prances around the field with flowers. The sheep goes along prancing for a while (nothing exciting, really), until the sheep finds a flower, and eats it with a bee trying to escape from the flower being eaten.

The sheep then starts to try and find the bee (not aware of how dangerous they can be), but the sheep looks under a hole under the ground, but the bee pops back up a different hole, and pulls a prickly plant towards him, and then lets go of the plant that spikes the sheep's rear end. The bee laughs at the poor lamb. I wouldn't cook that poor lamb - the reason why I wouldn't because I can't bear eating lamb! The lamb then runs off "baaing" back at the bee for stinging him.

We then see a shot of a grasshopper that hops from flower to flower, the grasshopper then lands in a flower that the sheep gobs in one bite. The grasshopper is still alive of course, but inside the stomach and bounces in different areas of the lamb's stomach -now that is a great gag, but it has been used often. Now that's been a while since I saw a re-used gag ;-). The sheep then "baas" the grasshopper out of his mouth, and the grasshopper spits on the flower like a spittoon.

The sheep then returns to Bosko, as he was still playing music in his flute the entire time. They both go on a stroll through the woods, and then they spot a beehive hanging from a tree. Bosko then grabs the bee-hive (not aware that he would get stung), and he places it on his flute, with branches onto the bee hive, in which it looks like he is playing the bagpipes (and the bees come out of the pipes).

We then get a good shot of Bruno sleeping, he is snoring and right next to a log. The log has some holes in it, and there are some raccoons in there that are popping out of the holes and into the air. We then get a shot of a squirrel eating some walnuts (Mmm). The squirrel is having a hard time trying to bite the walnuts, but Bosko helps out by using his mouth like a nutcracker - interesting gag. We then see a shot full of sheep as they crowd together and they mow the lawn with their teeth, in which sheep used that back then. It's still great idea for a gag, though.

We then see a shot of a peckish looking fox who wants some food, but hides under a chopped tree trunk, as Bosko and the sheep are playing music. The roots of the branch then move as if it was creeping forward for that lamb very carefully. Bosko and the sheep then come towards a picnic basket, in which Bosko says, "Am I hungry?" We then see a shot of Bosko eating the sandwich and it was reused many times (originally from Bosko's Holiday), okay - it seems that we are going back to the reuses faze.

We then see a group of sheep that meet Bosko altogether, and they are begging for something to drink. Bosko then grabs out one of his gloves, and he places it on top of the milk bottle, and each finger a lamb drinks the milk out of, like drinking from a cow's udder. We then go to a shot of a sheep that is prancing around the field. The fox is then hiding behind a rock, and he finds some skin that is attached outside a cabin, and the fox grabs it and disguises itself as a sheep.

The fox then starts prancing around like a sheep as his plan is to catch a sheep himself of course. A lamb then prances to the fox disguised as a sheep and the lamb gets his attention on the fox. The fox then reveals itself as a fox (which frightens the lamb) and then captures the lamb. Aww, how could that fox do that to a cute little lamb? Bosko hears the sounds of the screaming, and so does Bruno as they chase after the fox.

The fox then runs into a cave where he thinks he won't get caught by Bosko and Bruno. We can see that a lot of crashing is going on due to the cave's reaction with stars coming out, and Bruno itself. Then the fox comes out, and Bosko weeps thinking that he was eaten, but it was just Bruno inside the costume (it seems that Bruno's personality is that he always tricks Bosko as if he's dead). They then reunite with each other by licking Bosko's cheeks - and that's all folks.
Overall, this cartoon was very bland and very boring. There were gags and all, but it was not interesting to watch at all. I noticed that animation reuses has returned in this cartoon, after quite a number of cartoons of no reuses in the animated shorts. Did Harman-Ising had to take budget cuts or something? Maybe that's why it convinced them to leave in 1933. So, this cartoon was just like watching a normal Harman-Ising in that era - so boring and nothing special worth watching. But I still feel sorry for that lamb, though.