Wednesday, 1 February 2012

100. Buddy's Theatre (1935)

Warner cartoon no. 99.
Release date: February 16, 1935.
Series: Looney Tunes.
Supervision: Friz Freleng.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Jack Carr (Buddy) and Bernice Hansen (Cookie).
Musical Score: Norman Spencer.
Animation: Don Williams and Sandy Walker.

Welcome readers and you've read 100 reviews! BUT, the celebration isn't going to start yet - wait until the 101st review - once 100 reviews have been reviewed.

 Our cartoon begins with the flashing lights in the theatre that reads in big letters Buddy's Theatre. There are crowds of people who are entering the theatre as it is really popular. Boy, from the antics that Buddy does - he can take a responsibility of being a theatre manager. Buddy is working in the box-office giving out tickets to customers. As he hands to each customer a ticket - there appears to be a man with a hat and Buddy says "Pardon me" as Buddy has to speak on the phone to someone who's on the line. Meanwhile there is a baby who is trying to play with a ticket or trying to steal one but then the baby eats the ticket.

As Buddy is finished on the phone there is a man who is complaining as Buddy didn't know what happened. The man points that the baby was responsible. Buddy picks up the baby and uses his teeth to rip off the tickets so that everyone can enter the theatre. There is a woman  who has a baby in disguise as Buddy asks "How many" - in which the woman only wants one. As she enters - the woman takes his husband out of the coat as they enter the theatre. Buddy continues to sell the tickets to people until he realises the baby hasn't got any tickets left; and pulls down the blinds reading "Sold out" - then gives the baby a lollipop.

Buddy walks into the theatre to pick up some film cans and deliver them into the projection room. He carries all the film cans all the way up the stairs - that's a lot of stairs. He tries to open the projection room but struggles. He manages to do so but leaves all the film cans flying all over the place and Buddy slides down the stairs. As Buddy was sliding down the stairs - he manages to get the film cans into a pile again; until he gets knocked by a water fountain.

Meanwhile in the cinema there is a gag that is going on for a particular man sitting on a seat. To begin with; there's a skinny woman who taps him to get to her seat and she does so. Then the next part shows a really fat man asking to get through and does so. Then the next woman does the same, and the man sitting down just gets even more annoyed - until he moves his chair in the middle of the cinema. Mmm; if he was able to do that then what muscles!

Buddy is in the projection room with the film cans and inside there is a poster of his girlfriend Cookie in a "Warmer Pictures" film. It's a spoof of Warner Bros. of course. He is excited that Cookie's film is being run in the cinema and kisses the poster of Cookie. Buddy prepares the first film can and lights the candle for the first film to begin. Buddy greets his audience from up the projection room and he begins the show. A group of curtains then move (as part of the gags) and then a laundry wire turns up with a cinema screen in which the Buddy's Theatre Presents logo comes up and the reels begin.

We see the "Passe News" reel begin with an egg crack with a baby chick doing a Tarzan impression and IT'S THE SAME NOISE from Buddy of the Apes. Oh Jesus, now the horror is returning. The slide card reads "Dome, Italy" - Premier Mausoleum again lowers age limit for army service". The film reel then shows a balcony with Mussolini standing and a army of kids marching and some of them look under the age of 5 (one of them holding a flag with a safety pin) - okay, the gags are just too dated. I know about Mussolini being the Italian leader and agreed with Hitler but did he really lower age limits for armies? Dome, Italy is of course a spoof of "Rome" and it's really unfunny.

Another newsreel is taken in Yodel, Switzerland - Swiss navy launches its newest battle cruiser - as it says so in the slide card. Then the newsreel shows a man (probably of the liner company) then grabs out a bottle and smashes it on the ship ready to begin it's maiden voyage. The battleship starts to move but then quickly sinks under water in a 90 degree angle (like the Titanic). The man remarks "Well, Here Today, Gone Tomorrow" which is a well-known saying.

Passe News then ends the reel with a man rolling a laundry machine with a pair of long underwear coming out reading the end. Buddy is getting prepared for his next reel but the tape accidentally tears off so he grabs out a nail and hammers it back onto the tape. Everything in the film can is then ready to be projected, and then the screen reads "Attractions coming".

We see these shots of a baseball game that shows a ball being hit to the camera with the head line The Smash Hit of the Century with an incoming plane with it's propellers that have signs. The signs show these headlines, "It's gigantic", "It's stupendous", "It's colossal", "It's super-colossal", and then the next plane arrives but crash that jokes at the end "In fact it's almost mediocre". Heh-heh - it works; so I imagine Friz Freleng got inspired by that when he made Yankee Doodle Daffy almost 8 years later. These are basically upcoming trailers:

The first trailer we see shows a title card reading: Don't fail to see JAMES BAGKNEE in HERE COMES THE GRAVY (spoof of Here Comes the Navy). The "Bagknee" reference is James Cagney. We see a shot of a battleship sailing through the seas - and it's reused animation from Buddy the Gob. It appears to be that the battleship is a 3D image that pops out of the screen and blasts. The slides then suggest the audience to come over and watch these films on a quiet weekend like 8 Girls in a Boat and The Thin Man.

The screen then lowers down which shows the film starring Cookie: The Chinchilla and it says it's a "A Phoney Vitamin Production" which is a spoof of the production company that WB Studios used at the time "Vitaphone". The Cookie film begins with Cookie playing the piano to a tune and Cookie is singing a song in a Bernice Hansen voice. Buddy looks at her sentimentally "Ain't she sweet?". While Cookie is still playing the piano in the film; a gorilla comes through a window to probably eat Cookie. Buddy is disrupting the audience by shouting "Cookie, look out!".

Cookie notices the gorilla and screams. She slams the piano in which the gorilla's head is trapped. The gorilla is then trapped on the piano strings as he tries to escape and catch Cookie. Don't just stand there, Cookie - run! Cookie then jumps out of the window to escape the gorilla in which that the gorilla is set free and is about to capture her. Buddy is of course taking this too literally and is acting too ignorant there by shouting "I'll save you Cookie".

Buddy then uses some film tape to try ans top that gorilla but the gorilla lands on laundry wire (as the screen is switched away from the screen). He attaches the tape onto the chandelier in the cinema hall. Buddy swings down the chandelier and kicks the gorilla in the head. Buddy comes out of a fence with a paddle and whacks the gorilla away. Buddy pulls the cinema screen away and shouts to Cookie - "I'll save you". He jumps at the screen in which he tears it down, rather startled - and that's all folks.

Since this is my 100th review - (and forget this isn't the celebration post yet) but this cartoon is too similar to Bosko's Picture Show but I guess that Bugs Hardaway needed some inspiration for the cartoon. Buddy acts too ignorant in this cartoon since he's under the spell of love. The short has some recycled ideas but it's clever since an average audience won't even figure that out. At least there were some new ideas for reels but similar concept. Some of the gags in there were a bit groan-worthy to me and not really good like "Dome, Italy = Rome".  


  1. Look frame-by-frame at the animation of the closing scene. When Buddy tears into the screen and it falls to the ground, two human-shaped lumps are visible wiggling around underneath: we can presume one is Buddy and the other Cookie.
    But in the context of the story, Cookie isn't really present; she was just a two-dimensional character on the movie screen. So how can she be under the screen as a three-dimensional figure?
    The animators seem to have realized a little late: she can't! So after a second of squirming, the Cookie-figure under the fallen screen simply "melts" down to nothing, and only Buddy emerges into view. Way to hide a logic flaw, WB.

  2. This is a fun little short to me. Buddy's inter-acting with his "obsession", Cookie, predates films like Woody Allen's "PURPLE ROSE OF KAIRO" where the lead character inter-acts with the film onscreen. Even at the cartoon's opening sequence, Buddy throws a kiss to the movie poster of Cookie, saying "that's for you", and we hear the crowd cheering and Buddy says "...and that's for you, too". It is true that the "it's's's even mediocre" is a bit borrowed from the many times that Hugh Harman used the same lines. Harman would even take the line to MGM where you hear this from the circus barker in the frenetic and harrowing BOSKO cartoon, "CIRCUS DAZE". But, perhaps the "other lump" under the fallen fabric of the movie screen isn't a mistake, but mere movie fantasy turning back to reality as Buddy realizes again that he is the only one lying there under the crumpled screen as the cartoon comes to an end. The film within a film, "CHINCHILLA" is an obvious spoof of "KING KONG" with the gorilla there to terrorize, but this is where the dream sequence and reality blur as Buddy takes charge to "save the day". This is a charming little short, even if it does borrow from other sources. Love teh opening sequence as we see the people filing into the theater...and even managing to "sneak" in as represented by the lady who sneaks in her very short husband.