Saturday, 14 January 2012

89. Viva Buddy (1934)

Warner cartoon no. 88.
Release date: September 25, 1934.
Series: Looney Tunes.
Supervision: Jack King.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Cast: Jack Carr (Buddy) and Billy Bletcher (Pancho).
Musical Score: Norman Spencer.
Animation: Frank Tipper and Cal Dalton.

Our cartoon begins with Buddy who appears to be in a Mexican one-horse town walking along the street wearing his sombrero playing his guitar and singing a Mexican song. I'm not sure what the song is called but from what I can hear in the lyrics - it does sound Mexican alright. Buddy is walking on top of a donkey-cart but steps down and accidentally steps on a duck's neck but quacks and scatters away. Buddy walks around door to door through these streets - and it appears to look like what Mexican streets in the desert do - rather dull. As Buddy is (randomly) walking and singing all over the place, he is standing on top of a banister on a balcony. He falls down and lands on a man who has about a dozen sombreros on his head and Buddy slides down the sombreros in which it forms into a long sombrero, but they all go back into original size.

Buddy is then about to enter a cantina and we can hear some snoring sounds inside. As Buddy is about to enter the saloon doors; they are snoring too so they try to blow Buddy away. Buddy still has problems with trying to get through the saloon doors and instead climbs on top of a window. Wow, it really turned out to be a problem for Buddy? We see these interior shots of the Mexican locals inside the saloon just snoring as though it's a rather depressing atmosphere. We see a gag of a man snoring (with a chicken standing on his stomach) but the man almost blows his feathers off.

Another gag which I don't particularly mind at all is these men snoring while playing a game of chess - and they somehow must be very good at the game by sleeping and using their mouths to do the playing. Buddy enters the scene and sees a sleepy fellow (Well, they're ALL sleepy) sleeping on a piano seat. Buddy appears to grab out one of his "jumping" beans that he got - and there was a shot of a close-up of his bucket reading that - before he used them which is just poor pacing and got mixed around with the shots.

Buddy places the jumping bean onto the sleeping guy who uses his feet to play the piano with some funky tunes. Some of the folks then start to wake up and yawn. Finally, with one of Buddy's 1001 Skills; he's managed to keep the bar alive when everyone else appears to sing and cheerfully raise their mugs. There is a Mexican band that sings (and for some odd reason the leader is playing a type of mannequin as a guitar - why??). We see some Mexican dancing and then Buddy steps into the scene and does his guitar dance which is rather entertaining - I'd have to say. The guitar sometimes evolves with hands and legs and then back into it's normal shape - and the dance is pretty cool, I'd have to say.

Meanwhile outside the quite, sleepy one-horse town there appears to be a rather mean-looking bandit who is riding on his horse named Pancho - Oh yes; I understand it's like the outlaw "Pancho Villa" very funny (not). (We see a random shot of these other outlaws in some broken down vehicle but splash into a fountain - weird). So Pancho is then shooting with his gun onto bells that create some type of music pattern - interesting gag. One of the weirder gags pops up and it actually is kinda funny - is a sleeping guy sleeping beside a wall and on top of him is a poster that shows a glass of beer. So, the bullets shoots at the glass of beer on the poster in which beer runs down onto the lazy man's mouth. I must say, you've got to love Billy Bletcher's evil laughs - he's a genius at them.

Pancho then shoots at a local who is balancing with a vase on top of his head - but the water runs out and suddenly flowers grow - a nice sentiment gag. The mule that he appears to be riding is reluctant to stay and wants to leave (Oh yeah - "stubborn as a mule" heh-heh), but Pancho grabs the mule's tail and places it through the hole on the pole to tie it up. Before he does that - he cleans up his tail so that it looks thin enough to get through the hole. Pancho opens up the saloon doors as he's ready to cause as much trouble as possible. All the locals inside the bar hide as well as the bartender. Every time Pancho shoots a bullet at an object; there is a human head that pops out shouting out his name with horror. Yep, we all it's Pancho. Even the Marx Brothers make an appearance when he shoots a door-bed in which they all shout their names one at a time.

Pancho shoots at Buddy's banana that he was about to eat - but of course; he's not afraid of Pancho. Buddy tries to stand up to him by shooting a banana at his face. Pancho then asks him to play a song in which he is forced to do so. Cookie enters the scene - WHAT?! That is Cookie?! What, this is like the 3rd character design for her - weren't the guys at the studio indecisive or something - since they couldn't make their minds up. All I can say is that she looks more attractive here. So anyway; Cookie is doing a type of Mexican dance and it's the EXACT SAME ANIMATION ROUTINE FROM THAT DANCING CRAB!!! Remember that dancing crab in How Do I Know It's Sunday? Well, this is just about the exact same routine! I mean; were they running out of ideas, and they're just reusing that dance over and over again?! I knew the crab would return again - but I didn't think it would be reused with Cookie dancing, at least she looks better dancing at it.

The audience clap at that entertaining dance (well, in my opinion - this deserves a clap for good dancing - but certainly not a clap for it's reusing!). Pancho then wants his name to shine as he is going to do a type of skating sequence around the bars - (no Sleeping Beauty music being played in the background). He is using his spurs to skate around, and he then skates around Cookie who is not impressed with his dancing. As Pancho is about to make a grab for Cookie - she slaps Pancho away. Pancho is stuck on a wall, but a goat uses it's horns to jab him back into the saloon. Buddy shouts "That big Bozo", in which he uses a double bass and a fork to jab at Pancho's rear end in which he screams. He mutters "I'll kill you to pieces", but Buddy brings out a candelabra to block Pancho's pistols from trying to blast.

Meanwhile there is all this physical fighting, and for a while it's nothing but punching Pancho's stomach that makes me wanna yawn. Pancho then grabs hold of Buddy and they hold onto a lamp from the ceiling. They start to spin and spin until they fly off the lamp and crash onto a cupboard. Both Buddy and Pancho immediately become friends with Pancho's line "I was only foolin' Buddy!", they both laugh - and that's all folks. Hang on a minute, Pancho was just KIDDING all along - when he was just joking around - when he was trying to seduce Cookie's girlfriend - well, I see his point since that he wasn't trying to steal her and I guess he did pretty much pull a prank.

This is probably the shortest Buddy cartoon that I've known ever (and so far) it's only just about 6 minutes long. It wasn't bad in a short amount of time - parts of it I quite liked. I didn't understand on how that crab dance just had to be reanimated with Cookie doing the dance. Cookie has already been through another character look. I find the ending rather funny in a way since he was "only foolin'" and I guess it's meant to spoof the other "villain chasing girlfriend" (Whoops, I've jinxed it). I feel that the redesign of Cookie looks much better and looks more flapper-like when the 2nd one just looked too child-looking. Hopefully, things will turn out for the better. They say this cartoon came out in December 1934, but I still go with September as I find Dave Mackey's title card site very reliable, and I borrow through it chronologically.


  1. The earliest ad I found for this cartoon was Sept. 30, 1934.
    I don't understand why you have such a problem with reused animation. Audiences never did. Catchphrases are nothing more than reused jokes and no one has a problem with them.

  2. Well, I do have a problem with it. It's just doesn't make the cartoon stand out well to me, in my opinion - even if it's not a big deal. Besides, Woolie Reitherman who was the master of reusing Disney animation in the 1960s and 70s was pretty much a monster for making them not work, and also from what I've read in a Milt Kahl interview - it doesn't even save money.

    Catchphrases are fine to me (even though they can get boring to me after hearing it over and over) but it's just the animation that can he easily noticed (well, for someone like me reviewing them). I personally don't see how it saves money - it doesn't.

  3. and I guess when I've explained it - it's making me sound like I don't respect the environment when I dislike reusing animation - but I'm not referring to THAT kind of environment. Sometimes (in my honest opinion) reuses work well; most of them don't work.

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  5. What do you mean by "stand out well"? The only people that notice this stuff, by and large, are animation geeks who can stop a DVD, not ordinary audiences. No one watching this cartoon would have noticed a lame female character danced the same way as a lobster in another cartoon they may have seen once in a theatre a few months earlier. Nor is what happened in another cartoon all that relevant to this one, unless it's something realy beaten into the ground.
    What some Disney guy did years later in a feature isn't germane to a cartoon short from 30 years earlier.
    The fact is the Buddy cartoons generally blow. Animating Cookie dancing a different way wouldn't have made this cartoon any better or worse. There are a few nice gags, perhaps Clampett at work, and I admire someone staying on key in falsetto. But nothing really happens and the nonsense finish smacks of "we're out of ideas so let's end it."
    I'm waiting for Avery to arrive. (fixed typos)

  6. Of course, animation geeks do notice this (and I'm a geek, of course!).

    As for Avery to arrive - well; I'll present you a Google Maps of his route to Schlesinger Studios near the time. ;-)