Wednesday, 11 January 2012

87. Buddy the Detective (1934)

Warner cartoon no. 86.
Release date: September 15, 1934.
Series: Merrie Melodies.
Supervision: Jack King.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Cast: Billy Bletcher (Mad Musician), Jack Carr (Buddy) and (Cookie) Bernice Hansen?
Animation: Paul Smith and Don Williams.
Musical Score: Bernard Brown.

 The cartoon begins at a haunted house in the middle of nowhere, and in this area there is a storm outside, a storm that tells us this house is bad news. We truck inside the house (I'm scared) and we see a mad musician  playing some haunted tunes on the piano. We then see these branches pop through the window and they are also playing the piano - which looks even spookier. But the branch is playing a lively tune called Shake Your Powder Puff that the mad man despises, and almost rips his hair "Bah! Get out!", the mad musician feels that he's not writing good music and shouts "I need inspiration!", and laughs evilly.

Well kiddies, do you think this guy is REALLY frightening and scary??
- Duh?! I've been scarier like that demon in 'Paranormal Activity' or the 'Blair Witch Project'.
Yeah, I guess you're right. :L

The mad musician then walks to his small table and grabs out a bottle and cup. He pours the bottle in the cup which has a frog that falls into it. He grabs out the frog into his hands, and uses his hands to hypnotize the frog and declares that the frog will now play some haunted music for him. He throws the frog onto the piano - but then the frog picks himself up and do we hear evil music? Well, instead the frog happily plays Amaryllis on the piano which drives the mad musician mad. The frog then jumps onto a picture frame of a pond that splashes - you know, magic?

The frustrated mad musician then walks around to other portraits such as one that features Napoleon, and hypnotizes him to come to life and "play" some tragic music. Instead he plays some jolly tunes again - which angers the mad musician and his fiddle is destroyed. I must say that there is some wonderful character personality of the Mad Musician here - at least Jack King has made a bit of effort.

Meanwhile, the mad musician starts to think of an idea. But then we see a cut to Cookie's house where she is reading a newspaper article that says "Mad Musician Escapes" - what did he escape from an asylum or something? Back to the evil house, the Mad Musician then goes through a telephone directory and blocks his eyes with his hands on who he will choose to hypnotize by random. The Mad Musician finds the name he's chosen and that's "Cookie" of 00 1/2 Cornbread Ave. In the directory; you can find two Schlesinger employees here which is Bob Clampett and Ben Clopton, I believe Manny Corral is another one who was a cameraman at the studio.

Cookie runs to the window and closes it thinking there will be a storm. The telephone rings, and she picks up the phone and answers it. The mad man then uses his fingers to hypnotize Cookie by signalling it, he declares "Come to me my little Cookie". Cookie asks him to "stop it", but the hypnotizing still goes on. The mad musician then breaks the forth wall and admits, "She's a tough customer, I'll have to give her words!" Afterwards, she feels rather weary and then walks out the house like a zombie.

Bozo, Cookie's dog (as apparently that's his actual name in later cartoons), then starts to sniff the phone in which he turns almost hypnotized. He barks at the telephone and then hides under the cushions in the sofa. The dog then reaches to the telephone and blows a raspberry at it, then out of the house. The dog starts to run through the streets and then to Buddy's house who was sitting down in his armchair leisurely looking at his picture of Cookie. Bozo runs into his house and runs over his chair, and has a fishbowl stuck onto his head. The dog starts to bark but then breaks the fishbowl to try and signal Buddy what is going on by what's happened and even in the picture of Cookie. Buddy realizes that Cookie's "in trouble". He then puts on his jacket and hat and is off to inspect. How about we say that Buddy is Sherlock Holmes and Bozo is Watson; heh-heh - no!

Meanwhile, Cookie is inside the mad musician's house and she is being ordered by the mad musician to play some haunted and cold music on the piano. In the meantime, she then plays some jolly tunes on the piano that causes the mad musician to scream. He then uses his hands to order her to play tragic music again. Buddy and Bozo are then detecting as Bozo leads to where Cookie's whereabouts could be - which is in that haunted house. Buddy can't seem to open the front door, but instead thinks of a better idea. Instead he uses a torch on his magnifying glass to open up a patch on that door that he crawls through. So far, Buddy has seen some scary encounters (a spider lands on his magnifying glass), but as he uses his torch there appears to be these type of scary ghosts that appear out of nowhere. Does Buddy seem good enough for a detective - well; he is pretty much an every man.

Buddy then starts to run in the hallway, and notices a skeleton walking out of a door and he secretly follows it to see what the skeleton is doing. The skeleton is drinking some water from a water machine. Buddy watches the skeleton's activities in which it's just getting out a broken umbrella to go out for a walk (considering that there are other skeletons behind him) will this be explained or what?! Oh that's great - we see Bozo's howling as he is chasing after a skeleton and he bites off one of the skeleton's legs. The skeleton chases his leg back but instead Bozo is then climbing up the stairs (that appear to be broken) and the skeleton has no chance of chasing him. The skeleton then falls down the basement in which it breaks into pieces, Bozo's tail is caught on one of the blinds and starts to run out with the blinds stuck on his tail, Buddy is skidded on top of it as Bozo runs. Okay, but I thought they were on the hunt for Cookie but instead they're mucking around with skeletons and other stuff.

Buddy then finds Cookie upstairs, and he tries to climb up the banister of the stairs, but the pendulum on the grandfather clock then kicks Buddy up there. Buddy tries to open the door, but gets slapped by the mad musician. Buddy already used his torch beam to melt the patch on the door with his magnifying glass - why couldn't he just to the same here. Buddy then moves another door through the same wall on the door next to it. Buddy notices the mad musician standing at the door but instead he kicks his bottom, but his fat bum bounces off and smacks Buddy. They both then start to fight (Okay, I've got one vote for Buddy, going once; going twice - eh, I like to do these things).

Buddy then crawls behind the mad musician, grabs his robe and swings him around and around until he hits the wall - and appears to be week and defeated. There is a stool on top of him, Buddy swings it up to the ceiling so it blocks the mad musician from going anywhere. Cookie steps out of the piano by surprise. To give the mad musician some more torture they play some jolly tunes to make up for it, while it drives the mad musician nuts - and that's all folks.

This cartoon was not a bad cartoon - and it seems that Jack King has fallen into the influence as what Friz Freleng or Ben Hardaway did when it was those incoherent cartoons. I liked parts of the cartoon such as the personality of the mad musician, and yet Billy Bletcher's cartoons are always great to listen to. The music here is not so bad - but I can never see Buddy just acting like Sherlock. We just pretty much saw the first 3 minutes of this cartoon without Buddy - and only showing the mad guy trying to get people to get inspiration to get evil music, all really works. Then the cartoon gets to the point where it's weak since Buddy is detecting and just wasting time with skeletons that we didn't bother having to see.


  1. I wonder if that's a Warner directory. See the address for "Coleman, Don"? That's actually his name and address in the 1936 L.A. Directory, which lists him as "cartoonist."
    Several of the other names have equivalents in the Directory but it's hard to say whether they're the same people. At least two say "studiowkr."

  2. If you're saying it's a Warners directory - then they had to copy the whole names and addresses and illustrate them?

  3. Sanek wrote: "Well, it's probably the only one Buddy cartoon that I can watch without wishing of ending.

    P.S. IMDB says that Nelson Demorest worked as inbetweener on this cartoon. And, as I understand, he worked on all Buddy cartoons at that time."

    Next time, try not get mixed-up with the reviews. ;-) - I've done that a few times...

  4. The frog gag with "Amaryllis" reminds me of a Flip the Frog cartoon from 1932, "The Music Lesson", where Flip plays an old Gavotte similar to "Amaryllis" to distract the spinster-music teacher into falling down a trapdoor - the frog in "Buddy the Detective" is even similar to the early Flip, cheeky grin, rubber-hose animation and all.