Friday, 6 January 2012

84. Why Do I Dream Those Dreams (1934)

Title card courtesy of Big Cartoon Database.

Warner cartoon no. 83.
Release date: June 30, 1934.
Series: Merrie Melodies.
Supervision: Friz Freleng.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Cast unknown.
Animation: Rollin Hamilton and Bob McKimson.
Musical Score: Norman Spencer.

The cartoon begins very early in the morning, in a quiet town. We hear some nice smooth music in the background as it's quiet in the village. We then see a house with chickens outside pecking their corn. Nice and peaceful --- until I hear the sounds of crashing in the house (Yikes!). There is a rather lanky looking guy who is running out of the house because of all the fighting. We then see this lady coming out nagging at him, but she is speaking in a very gibberish voice and so fat that no-one can really understand what she's saying. Unless her mouth is very inappropriate to the younger audiences that it's sped up - or just a voice speeded up as a gag. Hang on a minute - is that lady meant to be the wife??

Well the husband doesn't seem to have a clue what she was on about and is about to turn away, but gets a pot thrown at her head. It turns out that the sign at their front lawn reads "Mrs. and Mr. Rip Van Winkle" - well duh, that explains everything. The man grabs out a paintbrush out of nowhere and he puts a "cross" through the "Mr." words and then walks off. The animation movement here is actually pretty good for 1934 back then, and I wonder if it was either Bob McKimson or Rollin Hamilton doing those scenes (don't think it would be the uncredited animators) since both animators were pretty skilled at animating and it's either one of them. Well, it's clear that this story is based on Rip Van Winkle now.

Rip Van Winkle then walks down the street holding onto his shotgun and his pet dog following him. Meanwhile, his pet dog then turns around and runs back to the house. The wife opens the door with the dog blowing a razzie at her - aww, an old Harman-Ising characteristic annoyed emotion. It appears to be that Rip is singing a song about how nothing is worrying him (Don't ask me what the song is - I'm sure someone will raise it). There are then children skipping along merrily with the tune as well, and chickens. There is a weird gag of a chicken skipping, but then lays an egg, hatches it and then a chick is born to follow the music? Huh? Winkle's still singing the song about how he has no worries, and has no regret of leaving his wife (but were is he gonna live)? As he walks up the hill - he waves goodbye to the children that also wave to him.

Rip Van Winkle then arrives at a quite spot by the lake, and sits behind the tree. There are birds chirping on the branch of the tree and it's wonderful. He brings out a fishing rod, and uses a mousetrap as a bait. He sits down and fishes. There is then a fish underwater who looks at the cheese in the mousetrap and is rather interested in it (No, don't do it!). Instead the fish uses the stick to poke the trap (rather cunning, I'd say). The fish eats the cheese and pulls the hook as a trick to think Rip has caught the fish - which to his surprise, he hasn't. I must say that this is even a fine Friz Freleng cartoon so far. Rip Van Winkle then goes to sleep until....

It appears to be that this is 700 years later where we see these type of gnomes dancing and prancing around the woods, singing some songs. The gnomes are singing the title song, Why Do I Dream Those Dreams? They appear to enjoy drinking beer and alcohol. Therer are then these weird gags that show these gnomes getting beer bellies from drinking barrels as they line up for some booze.

We then get this caricature of Rudy Vallee who sings with his cone hat (Oh man, I thought I'd never hear of him again!) The gnomes continue to sing the title song by doing this dance routine. But the dance routine shows some where they stand on their beards - I guess that's something new. Blimey, that dance routine is really long than I imagined it would be.

These gnomes then appear at Rip Van Winkle who is still sleeping and they go through his pockets and appear to be laughing at his newspapers because they're so bloomin' old (about 700 years). One of the gnomes then reaches out a pocket watch and it ticks! One of the gnomes then climbs aboard the shotgun that Rip had with him. They then fire the gun, and Rip wakes up - blimey he doesn't even look 700 years! In fact, he hasn't even aged! As Rip wakes up - all the gnomes dash off and hide.

Rip then stands up and walks to these trees (and somehow everything looks bigger to him - and the barrels). Rip then rips up a barrell and drinks it (which is about the size of a mug for him). After that bit of drink - he suddenly shrinks. Just explain!!!

Just as Rip Van Winkle has shrunk into a small size - his pet dog sniffs through the forest and is of course, much bigger than Rip. The dog then notices it and starts to bark, then lick poor Rip. He then starts to try and walk away behind the dog that is continuously barking at him, but instead he gets away by riding a grasshopper - eh, is it meant to be like riding a horse? In fact, he actually rides it like a horse - well more like a bull, really. Rip then falls off the grasshopper that "bucks" him off.

Poor Rip then falls off the cliff and lands onto a spider web. The spider then jumps off the limb and rolls down, and then tries to attack poor Rip.

Rip Van Winkle wakes up and actually IS 700 years later. So it turns out that he doesn't in that dream sequence. What an unexplained story. He has cob webs covered all over him. He then sees his dog who is 700 years old?? How can dogs live so long in human years -I know that Rip does the same since it's a tale. But considering he had pups at that age is juts beyond me. I really don't like that ending on how he does turn out to be very old at the end -not the way I like it. And that's all folks.

This cartoon wasn't too bad I guess, overall. I didn't mind the beginning, with the gnomes but it's a shame that he just had to leave his wife after the fight - which generally isn't funny. Some of the animation at the beginning was quite fine to look at (either Hamilton or McKimson did it). The ending just really bothers me with that aged dog, and it turns out that Rip really is aged 700 years -well I guess that's what was explained in the book (even though I haven't read it but know of it). I guess I should say that I don't like looking at aged dogs, because it reminds me as though they'll be "put to sleep" soon.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. I, too, have never read the book about RIP VAN WINKLE, but I always understood that the ending has Van Winkle waking up and learning to enjoy every moment, knowing that he hasn't aged. So the zinger to this is that he did actually age and that there is no going home again. A rare cartoon indeed.