Tuesday, 7 February 2012

104. Buddy in Africa (1935)

Warner cartoon no. 103.
Release date: April 20, 1935.
Supervision: Ben Hardaway.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Jackie Morrow (Buddy).
Musical Score: Norman Spencer.
Animation: Don Williams and Jack Carr.

This is the first cartoon I think where in the title cards a face of Buddy pops out to us (a process that the early Beans cartoons would do). Jack Carr is credited here as an animator who did voice Buddy in several cartoons - but how long would be at Schlesinger's. I know he was more of an animator than a voice-actor; but does anyone know?

Our cartoon begins with tribal music played in the background - but then we see an African tribe who is mowing the lawn. It turns out that the native is actually mowing the lawn on the top of his roof made from hay. The next part we see shows two natives - as one of them has a type of fruit put in his mouth. The other native twists his bone-tail to that he grinds the liquid off and places the remaining pieces in. Some strange things are going in this town somewhere in Africa.

One of the other natives is playing a game of horseshoes - but it turns out to be a different type of horseshoe game. The native is using 'littleluns' with ring piercings on their noses as a loop so that it can land into the pole. Meanwhile, Buddy is inside his van called Buddy's Variety Store. One of the gorillas is then walking around in the jungle but wants to hitchhike in Buddy's approaching van but Buddy passes it on. Due to the extremely poor video tape quality - it's really hard to see what's happening, a bit.

We see another shot that appears to show a monkey who is in charge of traffic I guess - but I really can't tell because of the quality. There are these two monkeys they seem to pass the giraffe. Then, we see a kangaroo who is picking up litter and doing community service. What?! Kangaroos - there aren't EVEN any wild kangaroos in Africa. Buddy's van then stops at the giraffe's traffic light (or something) until the monkey guard allows him to go through.

As Buddy's van is about to approach to the African village - one of the guards at the door grabs out a native with a bell to go indoors. Buddy's van approaches to the village and then he parks his van. Buddy opens up the  back part of the van in which he has brought in some African equipment such as African instruments like a drum. Buddy then starts to play with a tribal drum but a lot of the natives are interested in his skills and they enjoy his playing skills. Buddy them welcomes the African natives and asks if they want something - and ask it. They dump all the fruit in the van and Buddy gives them a piece of an African collection to them.

Meanwhile the same gorilla who was walking (that wanted to be hitchhiked); is walking along - we were given that shot for some reason. Buddy is still giving them the rest of his items until he's starting to run out of them. A native then walks into his dark home; to place two light bulbs on each of his ears. The light bulbs work as he is sitting down. He places a lamp on top of it so that he can read the newspaper. I guess this was a handy gag because often African huts are dark. One of the natives has bought a big box of Roman candles but then starts to go all over the place - which I guess is quite a fun gag.

Buddy then hands out one of his bottle that he calls "Buddy's Famous Jungle Bitters". Buddy spots a monkey trying to take a sip from the bitter bottle but is caught by Buddy. Buddy raises "Hey, you get out of there!". Is it me or was Buddy's voice by Jackie Morrow or some child actor because it doesn't sound like a falsetto that Jack Carr would put on. As Buddy watches the monkey scatter away - Buddy continues to hand out the rest of the bitter bottles to the rest of the natives.

The natives then start to go into song once they've taken a drink out of the bitter bottles. The tribes are then singing the song Marchin' Towards Ya, Georgia! It's a little bit more lively and fun to watch I got to admit - with one of the natives playing around with it's hair tails. At least the singing isn't bad at all. We see these shots of the natives who is playing bagpipes by an elephant dancing - which is a little confusing to me. Plus, no bagpipe sounds. One of the natives then stretches its mouth to make sounds until it goes back to normal size. One of the natives with a really long sings, but an annoyed native then turns off the switch (I guess because we can't hear it sing).

Buddy is doing some juggling with some bitter bottles followed by two approaching natives that do an interesting dance that sort of look like their doing aerobic dancing. The next shot appears to show some turtle with strings on it's shell so that it looks like it's playing it's own banjo. Damn quality - it's hard to tell. The song is then concluded by the native vocal singers.

Meanwhile the monkey is still standing by the car and it looks like he is trying to open the bitter bottle he stolen or something. Buddy approached the scene and shouts "Hey, cut that out!". He puts out his hand, "Give me that bottle!". The monkey refuses. Buddy then starts to try and chase after the monkey himself. He goes under his car to try and find him. As he pops out; the monkey smashes him with a bitter bottle. Buddy grabs the bottle off the monkey and he spanks the monkey for doing so. The monkey then runs out of the village complaining.

Meanwhile the same gorilla who was hitchhiking (or at least trying to) then shows the baby monkey (I imagine that this gorilla is the parent of the monkey). Anyway, the baby monkey is complaining to his parent on what Buddy had done to him - spanking. The gorilla then starts to reveal his skin that shows he will beat up Buddy and also to toughen up his chest.

The mother gorilla and her baby then try to enter the village but are stopped by the guard. The monkey then suggests on smacking the guard to the ground - which the gorilla does. The monkey walks by to twitch the guard's nose as he walks past the village. Buddy is busy pumping a tire - but only to be interrupted by the gorilla and the monkey. The monkey points that Buddy was the one who smacked him. The gorilla then jumps on the tire leaving Buddy going high in the air. The gorilla, who obviously doesn't have the brains like humans tosses Buddy on the tire but the gorilla is jabbed by the pumper. He punches the pumper in which Buddy falls out of the tire.

Buddy then lands behind a tower, and the gorilla has the tire in which he will try to attack him with it. The gorilla then tries to bounce from another tree and does so in which he crashes and damages the tower. The monkey then screams - finally; the gorilla gets annoyed so the monkey is burst out of the scene by the bumper. Buddy and the gorilla both become friends, shake hands - and that's all folks.

It was another hard cartoon to review - it wasn't that the cartoon was bad - but it's just the low video tape quality was annoying. Hopefully some Warner Bros. archivists will restore this in a good condition; but yet it's expensive to restore films into good conditions. I didn't think the overall cartoon was terrible, and I didn't think the African native caricatures weren't meant to be harmful at all. The singing in it wasn't so bad - but the animation was still mediocre. Buddy's voice sounds a lot like a child which is really off-putting to listen to, and isn't Buddy meant to look like a young adult. With that child voice - it's disgusting.

1 comment:

  1. I rather like Buddy being voiced by a child since I've considered both Buddy and Bosko to be similar to OUR GANG kids. Their antics in their various cartoons are almost like those you could imagine Hal Roach devising for the OUR GANG kids, regardless of how contrived those situations can be. Also, Buddy being voiced by a child lends real character, real personality to this version. It seems that so many characters of the 1930's were voiced in falsetto by one of the animators, similar (too similar) to Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse. I, too, hope that Warner Brothers restores all their cartoons someday including this one.