Wednesday, 25 January 2012

95. Pop Goes Your Heart (1934)

Warner cartoon no. 94.
Release date: December 8, 1934.
Series: Merrie Melodies.
Supervision: Friz Freleng.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Cast unknown.
Musical Score: Norman Spencer.
Animation: Frank Tipper and Sandy Walker.

Our cartoon begins with a beautiful view of a mountain and forest with some lovely snow. A bird flies into the scene and lands on a limb to chirp for the other animals to wake up. We fade in to the next shot of the bird still chirping and all the snow is gone - Ahh, looks like the snow melting away really couldn't be achieved back then. Hummingbirds are outside smelling the scent of beautiful flowers. We see the next shot of this bird couple and the male couple sees that the eggs have been laid and makes a tally on the tree - is that meant to mean how many eggs were laid?

There are a line of bees that are flying past and sucking up the honey with their stinger. Meanwhile, there are a group of grasshoppers and the adult one is teaching them out to chew tobacco and spit. The first child grasshopper tries on his attempt but accidentally burps them out leaving him with soggy tobacco stuck on his mouth - which is rather gross.

A mother turtle and her children then start to dive from the log into the lake. They all dive into the lake; the mother turtle is swimming while the baby turtles are on their backs rowing themselves by using cattails as oars. Meanwhile up in a tree we hear these strange sounds of some type of organ playing in the string section. It turns out to be a pair of spiders who are playing a harp on a spider web. Boy that "harp playing" sure does sound very strange.

From what I've been watching in this cartoon so far, with all those cute animals doing notable things - am I confusing THIS to a early Silly Symphony colorized?! (Not likely). The 2-strip Technicolor stuff isn't very good and the colors just look to reddish to me.

The next scene to be shown is another one of those: "dance routines" and there are these apples with worms doing the job as being the arms and legs. They are doing the dance and my goodness that just looks creepy with those apples dancing. From my own personal views how can these worms really do the job of doing a dance routine like that (acting as arms and legs), they're just going to likely get squashed by an apple - well worms do have bones - but are they really that strong? Look at those tiny eyes that they have - worms don't have eyes. Meanwhile there is then a frog chorus standing on lilypads - Lilypads - Gee, I hope we won't get confused with this!! Well; it turns out that these frogs are singing the title song Pop Goes Your Heart, the "boomp-boomp-da-boomp" sounds from a frog sounds like something that inspired Paul McCartney to be involved in that We All Stand Together frog song - doubt it.

We are then seeing a shot of a swam who is swimming in a river; but dives underwater to find some fish to eat. Once the swan dives back in again for some wish; best I can remember - that gag was reused from One Step Ahead of My Shadow and I almost forgot about that. But still; I can't bear those gags of a fish eating a swan. Sure the audience will find it amusing because it's not possible; but fishes can't eat swans - it's creepy and unnatural. Meanwhile there is a bird who is sitting on a tree in a  bird's nest - and notices a worm inside an apple. The baby bird tries to look through his head into the apple for the worm, but the worm makes an escape and slaps the bird from the apple.

The bird then yelps in pain with the worm laughing. Once again; this worm has a mouth and eyes - which is NOT what they have - but I guess it was used just to show caricature and what we know about the worm. We then see these group of beavers who are having fun in their part of the forest and there are a group of beavers who are playing baseball. I'm just curious but when Friz Freleng was making these cartoons - did he ever use model sheets to make them? I'm a little curious because the designs aren't much and I thought that did the animators just design a beaver from scratch and draw it?

Meanwhile there is a grizzly bear who is sniffing through the forest probably to find animals to eat. The bear then growls but sprays perfume in his mouth (oddly enough for some reason). The bear then continues to walk on and sniff for some animals to eat. The bear then starts to walk behind the turtle sniffing it's shell. The turtle starts to speed up slightly, but the turtle then changes position of its shell and bites the bear on the nose. Well, that certainly showed that bear.

The bear starts to walk to the next part of the forest where he then plans to eat some beavers for supper. It's working well since the beavers are running for their lives as the bear chases after them. The beavers start to run away and they hide inside the trees in which the bear tries to dig through to try and eat the beavers up. But he doesn't quite make it yet since his head is stuck. A beaver comes out and smacks the bear's derriere.

The beavers then reach the top of the tree through the role in which they are carrying a bee hive with them. Is it me or is that shot of the beavers laughing just weird to watch - it just seems unsettling to me, but I can't explain why? They drop the bee hive in which honey lands on top of the bear's behind and there are a swarm of bees flying around him. The bear is covered with honey all over - and I admit the animation of the bear being chased by bees is just really weird because there is hardly any inbetweens on there, and the animation is not very good because you can't see him move properly - just bad inbetweening.

The bear then starts to crash through a gate by accident and rolls down a field will of hay in which it sticks into the honey attached to his back. As he rolls down - he's turned into a haystack. Meanwhile, there is a farmer working on his "Hay bailer" machine. The bear rolls down and looks like another haystack to the farmer. The farmer uses his pitchfork to pick up the bear and dumps it into the machine. The haystack comes out all sorted into a block. The bear's head, and legs pop out. Much to the bear's surprise - he is shocked and runs out of the scene. The farmer looks at the haystack bear running, rather puzzled - and that's all folks.

This is another cartoon in which shows some creepy 2-strip Technicolor. The colors look really reddish/pinkish to me and it doesn't suit it well; but I guess that to it was to keep budgets low. Michael Barrier confirms that when Technicolor was brought to Merrie Melodies - it was raised to around $9'000 when the Schlesinger budgets used to be $7'500. Some of the scenes in there don't look very much like color to me and that it feels as though it wasn't painted. The short is something that reminds me of a early Silly Symphonies cartoon in black-and-white when there were plants and forest creatures dancing. Some of the animation didn't look so splendid - particularly the bear scenes. Well, with 1934 almost complete - 1935 will hopefully be better (at least towards the end).

12 comments:

  1. You have to remember you're watching an unrestored cartoon taped at home off a cable TV channel then uploaded onto YouTube, which compresses it. And before it got there, it may have been re-digitised several times on the internet, depending if it's bounced from download site to site to site. You can't fairly judge the actual colouring of the cartoon on this basis.

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  2. 1934 complete. I don't think that 1935 is better, even with Avery's cartoon.
    And in fact, WB cartoons was never considered as good cartoons.

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  3. Using two colour Technicolor had nothing to do with budget savings. Disney had signed a five year contract with the Technicolor company in 1932 giving the Disney studio exclusive rights to use the three strip Technicolor process. When the other studios were able to see that Disney's colour cartoons were hugely propular they were forced to find other processes if they wanted to do colour cartoons, such as two colour Technicolor or Cinecolor. The Disney contract with Technicolor ended in 1937.

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  4. "1934 complete. I don't think that 1935 is better, even with Avery's cartoon.
    And in fact, WB cartoons was never considered as good cartoons."
    What!? It's bad enough you did those fake animation sheets, but that statement is worse.

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  5. It should be no secret for you that studios like WB, Columbia, Lantz and Terry produced short films in the category of animated films, which can be called poor area - they have very low production values. Less luxurious and prestigious than the more ambitious cartoons by Disney and MGM.
    Sad but true.

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  6. Sanek, 1934 is not completed yet. Just one more completed. Another thing, sure WB may produce low production costs but they're certainly more popular than say: Columbia and Terry.

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  7. The "worm spanks bird bit" was used in the 1935 cartoon "Billboard Frolics", the first use of
    "Merrily We Roll Along", the Merrie Melodies series theme, and in fact it's the actual theme, as this would be one of the early Merrie Melodies not named after a song.[="Billboard Frolics" is even one of the last WB's with the "court jester/harlequin" ending.BTW December 8, when this was released, was 26 years before i was born...Steve Carras, aka "Pokey" on Facebook

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  8. Actually MGM in this period was trying hard to produce first rate cartoons - Hugh Harman and Rudy Ising went to MGM in 1934 - but for most of the 1930s they fell short of what Mayer and Thalberg wanted in terms of quality and in terms of popularity. The two leading studios in this period were Disney which had a distribution deal with United Artists and the Fleischer Studio which had a distribution deal with Paramount.

    There is a lot that can be written about how the business of cartoons. For now, suffice it to say that the studios didn't actually produce the cartoons themselves, they had independent production companies under contract. Early on most of the major studios didn't care much about the quality of the cartoons that were produced in their names - they just wanted 6 minutes or so to fill part of a program along with a newsreel and one or more short subjects. If the movie was long enough they might not include a cartoon - or anything else - in the program.

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  9. Many cartunes are restored without the black circle who appears twice at the end of the cartune, including the colour. We want a restored copy of this WB classic, with the MPPDA certificate who appears before the WB intro.

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  10. I have a recording of this cartoon from TV Puls 2 (Poland) it looks better than the Cartoon Network recording in the images here.

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  11. Lemme guess, this was recorded on Cartoon Network's Bugs and Daffy Show back in 2001-2003-ish.

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  12. I like this cartoon, along with a lot of 1930's cartoons with songs or outrageous spectacles, but I also have to agree about the somewhat limited animation of the bear, especially when being stung by the bees. Hugh Harman would do something somewhat similar and far more eye-popping with a 1937 BOSKO entry called "CIRCUS DAZE" in which Bosko's dog, Bruno, falls headlong into the flea circus tent, sending the increasingly large swarm of the little buggers chasing him around and around the carcus/carnival grounds and enveloping the entire circus, sending the other acts and animals vigorously scratching. Had Freleng seen the scene of the elephant writhing inside its cage, he would have gotten an impression of how that bear should have reacted to suddenly being attacked by a large number of bees. There really didn't seem to be a lot of weight to the bear and there were repeated "loops" or cycles of poses of the bear running around madly in a circle or standing up on its hind legs and dancing itchily around while swatting with his frong paws, falling and rolling on its back...again and again before breaking through accidentally to the farmer's threshing machine. You weren't even convinced by the roar of the bear that he was being attacked. In the afore-mentioned later HAPPY HARMONIES cartoon, a surprisingly frenetic entry for the series by the way, the elephant's painful howling adds to the wild spectacle with it howling at a higher pitch as it stands up on its hind legs to vigorously scratch at its hind quarters or around that area, and there are shadows and lights effects throughout to add weight to the characters as they scratch and writhe. But that was 1937, not 1934. Even the first few Harman and Ising cartoons for MGM had a kind of limited style other than the fact that they were now producing in two strip Technicolor. I'm sorry I'd never seen some of these 1930's cartoons on the big screen, because I'm sure I'd have a slightly different perspective, but those are my memories of this cartoon. Oh, and I liked those strange little bits, like the frog chawing tobacco or something like that. Warner Brothers cartoons, even at their most Disney-like, were *NOT* Disney. They always had a gag or two that linked to playful adult material in live action films or pertaining to the lyrics of the songs involved. Even at their simplest, there is more sophistication there.

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