Saturday, 21 January 2012

93. Those Beautiful Dames (1934)

Warner cartoon no. 92.
Release date: November 11, 1934.
Series: Merrie Melodies.
Supervision: Friz Freleng.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Cast unknown.
Musical Score: Bernard Brown.
Animation: Paul Smith and Charles "Chuck" Jones.

The first cartoon in which the Merrie Melodies "color" scheme goes permanent. Hopefully that the quality in those will make me understand the cartoons better.

The cartoon begins with a little orphan girl who is standing outside looking rather miserable in a blizzard. The girl looks at all the lovely toys that she would love to get if only she could afford it and had parents. She walks forward away from the shop in which the blizzard gets stronger and she struggles to walk forward. As she is caught in the strong wind, her pants are stretched open and a bit of snow from the roof lands on it in which she squeals. Haw-haw-haw, a orphan girl gets snow stuck in her pants that's, that's - bad treatment. I guess that what is being expressed here shows how unlucky she is being an orphan and that we ought to feel sorry for her.

She walks into the shed where she stays for shelter. There is hardly anything in that shed. Except for a mouse in there who looks very skinny and is likely to starve to death. The mouse tries to see if there's any bread in the bread box - but nothing in it. The little girl is trying to keep her hands warm in that useless stove. Hang on a minute, I'm trying to remember; the orphan girl standing outside that snow looking at the toyshop = a boy standing outside in the snow, looking at toy-shop and finds shelter - I'm remembering it clear as day. Oh my does that SOUND familiar?!

The girl is putting in some effort in trying to warm up the stove. She sees a tiny flame inside that stove and she tries blowing at it so that it could warm up. As the flame slowly gets moving, an icicle inside that stove drops and the flame extinguishes. The little girl then falls asleep on the chair feeling rather cold. Once the little girl is fast asleep; all the toys come inside the shed. Where did they come from? from that toy shop I guess. How? God knows.

 Of course, since she's in a heavy sleep - the toys then secretly creep near her as though they're going to give her a surprise. All the toys run quickly through the sleepy orphan girl - including that little toy duck. What doesn't make the quality look great in this cartoon is that the color is in 2-strip Technicolor where the colors are pretty dark and not so visible, but hey; back then this was a treat for the audience and Friz Freleng must've been happy to get his cartoons into color.

The toys start to decorate the wooden shack by getting out some wallpaper. As time flies on; to midnight. All the toys crowd together to wake up the orphan girl for a happy surprise. She wakes up with such amazement, astonishment, self-satisfied, delighted - okay, I think I've over-did the adjectives but they are fun. The dolls then start to sing the title song Those Beautiful Dames. All of the other toys start to sing the choruses to the song (well, I don't mind the dolls singing voices at all). True, this is also another rip-off from The Shanty Where Santy Claus Lives but the difference is - no Santa Claus.

The elephant who was standing on top of the armchair then turns off the lights. Hang on a minute, where did that armchair come on and since when did the orphan girl have light-switches - did the toys just somehow construct and decorate the house in all that night? Anyway, the elephant then turns on the light from a lamp and moves the lamp as a stage light. The beam then shows to these set of curtains and we see these two jack-in-the-boxes and they do a type of entertaining dance in which they are just moving their body's up which are accordion-like.

While the dance is still going on (how long will it last) we see a type of bulldoze toy that uses it's crate to eat some of the chocolate cake layed on the table. What? He's not going to let the orphan girl have its share. But as that truck continues to eat the cake - a doll enters the scene tapping her feet not impressed. The truck walks off in a shameful mood. Well, at least that's that gone.

The little orphan girl then walks to the gramophone and tunes up some music and starts to dance (notice the black lipstick - where did that come from?!). The gramophone (in closeup) is apparently called a "Kiddie Phone". Inside the gramophone are these illustrated bears that are singing their version of the Dames song. The orphan girl then starts to dance to the song herself, and yet the animation is pretty bad for it - you really can't feel her body moving to the music and feels rather stiff. Meanwhile there are these two soldiers who play the trumpet and they almost turn very skinny - they then exit...

The girl is then brought to a big and happy surprise when all the toys have arranged a type of midnight feast for her where there is a huge chocolate cake made for her layed in the middle of the table. She walks past the chairs where all the toys are seated at and are waving and cheering for her. Since she is wearing a crown - she sits at the "queen's chair" at the far back in the front. She then encourages her guests to start eating. All the others then start to eat - even with a bulldozer who is picking up crates of food to place into the other toy's mouths.

The girl is delighted to see that everybody is in fact having a fun time, but as she is about to take a scoop of her jelly - the trap was that there was a jack in the box in there the whole time. All of the other toys start to giggle at the practical joke that was made and so does the little orphan girl who has a sense of humor - and that's all folks.

This cartoon was just another take of The Shanty Where Santy Claus Lives but actually since both cartoons are pretty unknown and forgotten - who's going to care?! When a member of the audience sat down and watched that cartoon in 1934 when it was released; he/she aren't going to think that "Hey, I've seen this from a cartoon before", and actually - who's going to care? I thought the opening of the cartoon of the orphan girl was quite a good setup - the musical score by Bernard Brown was lovely. We got to see her struggles, and of course when the toys arrived the cartoon was just weaker. From my Shanty review  - I actually wrote down that my feelings were that the toys arriving made the cartoon tedious and boring. But this cartoon was just made to cheer the audience up - nothing harmful was supposed to be made. Of course, it was the first color in Merrie Melodies to stay permanent - and only the colors made the cartoon look rich - but the designs and characters are still as bland as ever.


  1. This one had a special ending title with a different jester character.

    1. Same jester voice used for the next two releases, Pop Goes Your Heart and Mr. and Mrs. is the Name, but in a different pose.

      Country Boy was the first release where the jester used a higher-pitched voice for the ending spiel.